Menu JTA Search

Op-Ed: Terror is terror

Police at the site of a suspected terror attack by an Israeli Arab who allegedly drove his car into four Israeli's on Oct. 11, 2015 in Gan-Shmuel, Israel. (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

Police at the site of a suspected terror attack by an Arab-Israeli who allegedly drove his car into four Israelis in a Haifa kibbutz, Oct. 11, 2015. (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The international outrage over the barbaric terrorist attacks in Paris is absolutely on target. But the absence of an outcry over the weeks of attacks against Jews in Israel — stabbings, shootings and car rammings are among the most common tactics — is equally outrageous.

More than a dozen Israelis have been killed during the past month. Yet these terror attacks against Jews have largely drawn silence from the civilized world, or worse, questions about whether Israel deployed “excessive force” to defend itself. If people were being stabbed indiscriminately on First Avenue outside U.N. headquarters in New York, does anyone think the diplomats inside would complain about the New York Police Department using “excessive force” to stop the perpetrators?

We stand with France. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

Whether the weapons of choice are bombs and guns, as in Paris, or knives, as in Raanana and Jerusalem, the taking of innocent lives needs to be seen through the same prism.

President Francois Hollande of France has called what happened in Paris “an act of war” and promised the French response would be “merciless.” World leaders have condemned the horrific Paris terror attacks in no uncertain terms.

The knifings, shootings and car rammings of Jewish-Israelis deserve to be met with the same global outcry — but they haven’t been.

To defeat terror, the world must agree on a “common denominator” around which to develop a strategy. The killing of innocents is that common denominator. Yet in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, levelheadedness in identifying who the terrorists are has fallen victim to a pernicious moral equivalence.

Whatever the grievance, resorting to verbal gymnastics to explain wanton killing is unacceptable.

The U.N. Human Rights Council, in an adopted resolution on the Gaza War last year, did not mention Hamas once in the document, notwithstanding the fact that Hamas initiated the conflict by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israeli population centers. That’s terror, too. Only the United States voted against the resolution; all 10 European countries abstained.

Inconsistency in calling terrorism what it is sends the wrong message every time. Remember the European Union agonizing over whether to put Hezbollah on its terrorism list, with it winding up in 2013 creating a “military wing” and a “political wing” to describe the terrorist group? Since then, Iran has provided thousands of rockets to its Lebanese client. Clearly, neither Hezbollah nor Tehran took the EU seriously.

So if one must be “merciless” in defeating the terrorists, as Hollande pledges France will be, why can’t Israel act this way?

The way the world looks at terror demonstrates a double standard. Caught up in the politically correct morass of “evenhandedness,” Palestinian terror is getting a very large pass from the world.

It’s time to bury, once and for all, the “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” mentality that has given the Palestinians an excuse and even sympathy in too many international eyes to carry on a terror campaign against Israel.

For all of us — Americans, French, Israeli, British — to defeat the evil that has brought us this new reign of terror, we all need to be on the same page. Terror is terror.

(Daniel S. Mariaschin is the executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International.)