Thoughts On Would-Be Terrorists In The Bronx


Have we reached the point where we not only take anti-Semitism for granted but don’t even question the illogical attitudes of those who hate us?

I learned, with shock, as we all did, of the attempt of four Muslims from New York who, apparently out of opposition to the U.S. war in Afghanistan, decided to blow up synagogues, and presumably Jews, in the Bronx. Does that make any sense?

Surely we will come to learn more details in the days and weeks ahead, but the strange conflation of American foreign policy, Israel, militant Islam and anti-Semitism is as dangerous as it is puzzling.

In my interview last Monday with, Gen. Keith Dayton, the U.S. Security Coordinator charged with heading the multinational team overseeing the training of Palestinian police forces, he mentioned how disturbed he was to find intimations of anti-Semitism in Iraq. It was Dayton who for more than a year led the search for weapons of mass destruction, and he said that when he visited mosques in Iraq, he noticed murals that depicted the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with a snake, featuring a Star of David, entwined around the Temple. The clear implication being that Judaism was the enemy of Islam.

Of course it is politically incorrect to pursue this line of thinking, and I am not suggesting that the majority of Muslims harbor such hatred, but it is curious to note how the New York Times, for example, downplays the fact that the four men arrested were Muslim. It’s mentioned, but not until the fifth paragraph of the latest version of the story I read this morning.

In an eerie coincidence, just yesterday I came upon the Times initial coverage of the Brooklyn Bridge shooting death of young Ari Halberstam, and wounding other Lubavitch young men, 15 years ago.

In the story, several Lubavitch rabbis insisted that the crime was the work of an Arab terrorist seeking revenge on the murders committed in Israel a few days before by Baruch Goldstein, in a Hebron mosque. But the authorities, including the mayor and police commissioner, were, understandably, guarded and cautious. It turns out, though, that the rabbis were correct.

was editor and publisher of The Jewish Week from 1993 to 2019. Follow him at