How many times have we heard Western voices call terror acts “senseless”? We heard it again last week after a Palestinian terrorist murdered three Israelis and injured several others on trendy Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv.
After saying that “Americans are, once again, grieving with the Israeli people in the wake of another deadly terrorist attack,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken added that the U.S. “stands resolutely in the face of senseless terrorism and violence.”
But is the violence really senseless, Mr. Blinken?
It may be for you, but it’s not for the terrorists. They think their terror has a purpose. If you despise Jews and think they don’t belong in the Middle East, killing them gives you purpose. If it makes you sick to see Jews you hate having fun in a cool city like Tel Aviv, killing them gives you purpose. And if you fall for the propaganda from your corrupt leaders that Jews will soon take over your holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem, killing Jews is anything but senseless.
Since the birth of Israel 74 years ago, virtually every act of violence against the Jewish state has been connected to an overarching belief among Palestinians that Jews don’t belong in this region, regardless of any legitimate claims of a Jewish connection to the land.
In spreading the propaganda of Jews as foreigners and land thieves, Palestinian leaders know that nothing fires up the masses like Jerusalem, Israel’s biblical heartbeat.
“We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”
Those fighting words were uttered on Sept. 26, 2015, by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, whom many consider Israel’s “peace partner.”
Two weeks later, on Oct. 1, Palestinian terrorists murdered an Israeli couple, Eitam and Naama Henkin, in cold blood in front of their four children, who ranged in age from 9 years old to 4 months.
Did these terrorists believe the murders were senseless? I doubt it.
The fundamental problem with characterizing terror as senseless is that it lets you off the hook. By depersonalizing the violence, by ignoring its root, you turn it into a terrible but generic crime where everyone is treated the same.
But Palestinian terror against Israelis is no generic crime. It is intentional violence rooted in a deep, singular hatred. This truth may make sophisticated diplomats like Secretary Blinken uncomfortable, but that won’t make it go away. Until Western leaders have the courage to connect Palestinian terror to the anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist propaganda that emanates from every nook and cranny of Palestinian society, peace and reconciliation will remain delusional pipe dreams.
If the United States is serious, in other words, about “standing resolutely” against Palestinian terror, it will have to connect the dots of terror and Jew-hatred.
Until then, we’ll be left with empty reactions like, “This has to stop!” That tweet came from U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, who added after the Tel Aviv attacks that he was “horrified to see another cowardly terror attack on innocent civilians.”
I can assure you, Mr. Nides, that the large crowds in Gaza and the West Bank who celebrated the Tel Aviv attacks did not consider the terrorist a coward, and they certainly didn’t see the murders as “senseless.”
It is the treating of intentional terror as senseless that is really senseless.
David Suissa is editor-in-chief and publisher of Tribe Media Corp, and “Jewish Journal.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was first published by the Jewish Journal.