A woman holds a candle as she pays her respect at one of the attack sites in Paris, November 15, 2015. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Life in Israel has not been easy these past few weeks. With the wave of terrorism only gaining strength, it feels like every day we are bidding a teary farewell to too many sacred souls. The terrorists’ fight to claim and wreak havoc on what they – and most of the Western world – call the “occupied territories,” has transformed into a strategic plan to terrorize and torture all of Israel.
“Stop the ‘occupation’ and then maybe you’ll know peace,” was one of the softer Facebook messages I received from one of the many who constantly send me hate mail and threats for showing the world Israel’s continuous struggle for peace and survival.
The occupation of Tel Aviv? Netanya? Petah Tikva? Because those are just some of the places where terrorist attacks are happening – and those cities are all undisputedly within the 1967 lines, I responded. With hundreds of pro-Israel Christians standing behind me, this “Facebook martyr” eventually moved on.
But I didn’t.
I have tried for years to think of a reasonable explanation why the world treats Israel so unfairly, yet I have not found one.
Many Israelis have said that the world simply doesn’t understand our struggle.
But what I have seen is that despite the baseless terrorism that is now striking the West, the trend of justifying terrorism against Israel is continuing. Following terrorist attacks in Paris and Mali, the world is outraged – with good reason.
Unlimited prayers and support are pouring in responding to the possible attacks in Brussels. I haven’t seen any mainstream politician or media outlet try to rationalize why these terrorist attacks are taking place, or to put blame on the policies of the targeted countries.
It is heartening to see how terrorist attacks against innocent people in Paris, Mali, and across the Middle East have been immediately and wholeheartedly condemned by world leaders and civilians alike, without any second thoughts. Yet why are there different standards when it comes to Israel? Ironically, terrorism in Israel is still being presented by the media and world leaders like a basketball game. Yet in reality, for the people of Israel, it feels more like Russian roulette. Each time we leave our homes to go to work, for a walk, or even to the grocery store it feels like we’re taking a desperate risk. And that is the goal of terrorism; to make everyone feel scared, no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
“One Israeli, 3 Palestinians killed in a bloody day in the Middle East,” read a recent headline. Yet that very deceptive headline failed to mention that the one Israeli person killed was an innocent 18-year-old student visiting Israel from America, while the three Palestinians killed were terrorists – murderers in the midst of an attack.
It is unacceptable that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being reported as a sports game, as if it were two equal sides fighting each other and whoever inflicts the higher number of dead will receive the ultimate “prize” of world condemnation. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just as in the international conflict with Islamic State and al-Qaida, there are victims and terrorists.
They are very different. And only while covering terrorism against Israel does the media blur those lines, and does the world accept it.
Following the attacks on 9/11, there would have been outrage if newspaper headlines ran that “2,977 Americans and 19 Arab foreigners died in plane crashes in America.”
In order to have real justice and ultimately see success in this worldwide war on terrorism – or, more accurately, the Western world’s war for survival – the world must differentiate between the victim and the terrorist, and certainly not hold Israel to a different standard. Terrorism is terrorism.
Period.The writer is senior vice president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which is headquartered in Chicago and Jerusalem.