Moscow wounded 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
As Jews worldwide prepared for Seder night, the Russian capital was rocked by twin blasts that left 39 dead and scores wounded, some of them critically. Muslim terrorists in the Caucuses apparently blew themselves up during the morning rush hours with the aim of killing as many passersby as possible.
Yesterday, two more explosions were detonated in Kizlyar, near the Dagestan-Chechnya border. As crowds gathered after the first car bomb went off, another was triggered to hit onlookers and rescuers.
We in Israel are unfortunately no strangers to such
fiendish targeting of innocents and the subsequent exploitation of the
initial shock and confusion to draw more blood.
Yet unlike the Russians, we are also increasingly accustomed to
sinister insinuations that we bring the bloodletting on
MIDWAY BETWEEN the Moscow atrocities
and the follow-up Kizlyar bombings, US President Barack Obama held a
joint press conference with his French counterpart at the White House
(as the culmination of a meeting in which the visitor was accorded all
the outward signs of friendship and warmth denied to Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu on his recent trip). Nicolas Sarkozy made it a point
to stress his unequivocal “solidarity with President Obama in
condemning the settlement process.”
that “the absence of peace in the Middle East is a problem for all of
us, because what it does is keep feeding terrorism all over the
Sarkozy’s inescapable subtext was that
Israel’s failure to appease the Arab world is what spawns and
intensifies terror. Were Israel more pliable, terror would diminish
everywhere. By extension, therefore, Israel is guilty of inflicting the
terror it provokes on nations far removed from it geographically and
Whether or not Obama shares the
perception of Israel as the proverbial match that threatens to ignite
the world’s tinderbox, he chose not dissociate himself from Sarkozy’s
comments, and that same day in a TV interview urged Netanyahu to “take
some bold steps” to advance peace efforts.
Israel does indeed have every interest in an accommodation with
the Arab world, but a cursory look at why its “bold steps” have failed
thus far should be enough to show that the source of that failure is
abiding Arab intolerance of the fact of the Jewish state’s
Obama and Sarkozy alike should have
deduced from the attack on New York’s Twin Towers, and all those other
Islamist terror strikes worldwide unconnected to the war against the
Jewish state, that it is a sham to argue that as long as Israel doesn’t
mollify the Arabs, the world will know no respite from Islamist
belligerence. The terror spate in Russia should serve only as the
latest evidence of Islamist terror’s global agenda, and the latest
reminder of the spuriousness of the notion that Israel is to blame for
global Islamist aggression.
Russia’s own leaders
would probably be the first to dissociate their own travails from
whatever is unleashed against Israel. Yet the series of blows they have
now suffered underscores the commonality of our experiences, even if no
camaraderie is expressed toward Israel. The explosions in Moscow and
the Caucuses give the lie to contentions that were Israel to give in,
the world would be spared strife.
BUT THERE is
also a lesson for us locally. The Kremlin’s reaction to this week’s
blasts has been strikingly different from the platitudes, the hemming
and hawing, the attempts to find an evenhanded, politically-correct
note that so often characterize international responses in the
aftermath of terror attacks against Israelis. And both Dimitry Medvedev
and Vladimir Putin have been entirely devoid of the self-blame and
fault-finding introspection often rife here. Putin flatly promised to
“track down and kill the organizers of this disgusting crime.”
Medvedev depicted the terrorists as “beasts” and declared the Russian
security forces would “mercilessly smoke them out of their sewer holes.”
Such language from Israeli leaders, followed by action along the same
lines, would likely have stirred animated controversy at home, and
would certainly have raised an earsplitting ruckus abroad. For a start,
one wonders what Obama and Sarkozy would have had to say about it.