Yair Lapid

When Muslims murder Christians, blame the Jews

A response to Sweden's foreign minister: Europe's left can't call the culprit by its name, Islamic extremism

In an interview with SVT2, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom was asked about the terror attack in Paris. She responded, “To counteract the radicalization we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is no future: we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.” Later the Minister tried to argue that she wasn’t making a connection between the two things but that’s a strange claim, especially considering the fact that the interviewer didn’t even ask her about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She raised the subject.

But why?

The answer is that European left is in despair. It has run out of humanitarian explanations for the murderous terrorism of Islamic extremism. In the enlightened world of Minister Wallstrom, you cannot make the connection between Islam the religion and violent terrorism because somebody might, God forbid, get offended. The absurd solution she offers to that dilemma is that when Muslims murder Christians, blame the Jews.

But the Jews have had enough of being silent. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not connected, in any way, to the wave of mass murder being carried out in the name of fundamentalist Islam. In fact, even ISIS doesn’t claim that it attacked the heart of Paris because of the Palestinians. In their own words, they did it because of the situation in Syria. That makes it even more unclear why Minister Wallstrom was looking for an excuse for them at our expense.

I agree that this isn’t about Islam the religion but a terrible and murderous perversion of it, but facts aren’t good or bad, they’re just facts: There is a thing called Islamic terrorism and the choices are to fight it without wavering, or to die. This is a world war and in the long run everyone will have to choose which side they are on.

Jihadi terrorism is global, it has grown rapidly, and its aim is the destruction of Western civilization. Their message of death reaches every corner. The Twin Towers, the London Underground, Kashmir, Mumbai, Nigeria, Paris and, most of all, across the Islamic world. In the past sixty years, Muslims have killed no fewer than 12 million other Muslims because they didn’t seem radical enough to them. The number of Palestinians killed in those sixty years is in the thousands. We deeply regret each one of those and Israel investigates every instance in which civilians are hit; we even put soldiers and officers on trial when necessary. Israel is a thriving democracy in which Arab citizens serve in the parliament, as judges in the Supreme Court and in senior ranks in the military.

No Swedish newspaper would publish my answer — and the answer of many other Israelis — to the question of why certain people blame the Jews every time something bad happens, but even beyond that, there is a basic moral failure in the connection made by Minister Wallstrom. Why? Because it hints that there is some context, or some narrative, which justifies terrorism.

In Asia, in Africa, in the Middle East and even in Europe, hundreds of millions of people live in conditions far worse than the fanatics of Daesh (and certainly far worse than the Palestinians who enjoy self-rule and generous European aid). The world is full of hungry people, downtrodden people, refugees who don’t think, even for one second, that their condition justifies the idea that they can pick up a weapon and murder innocent young people on their way to a concert. Whoever offers explanations for the fanatics helps them.

In my role as a member of the Intelligence Committee in the Israeli parliament and in my previous role as a member of Israel’s security cabinet, I was exposed to a huge amount of intelligence information that deals with the questions of how Islamic terrorists view Westerners who try to explain their actions with political correctness. The answer is that they think it serves their aims and helps them achieve a global Islamist revolution. On that, and only on that, I agree with them.

Originally published in the Swedish newspaper Expressen in response to a story first reported on The Times of Israel.


About the Author
Yair Lapid is the former Prime Minister of Israel and currently the Leader of the Opposition in Israel.
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