Shouting “Allahu akbar,” a 29-year-old American citizen with roots in Afghanistan entered a Florida nightclub at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning and committed what is being called the worst mass shooting in US history.
Prior to slaughtering at least 50 people and seriously wounding dozens of others, Omar Mateen phoned 911 and pledged allegiance to Islamic State (ISIS).
Mateen had planned the massacre in advance, purposely targeting a venue known to be frequented by lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders – the perfect personification of liberal Western values considered abhorrent to radical Muslims, regardless of their specific jihadist affiliation.
The FBI promptly launched an investigation into the now-dead Mateen, who had been working as a security guard at G4S Secure Solutions since 2007. It quickly emerged, however, that Mateen had already been on the FBI’s radar for having various ties to Islamic radicalism.
About 10 hours after the massacre, with bodies still inside “The Pulse” – Orlando’s self-described “premier gay nightclub” – US President Barack Obama addressed the nation to condemn the horrific incident, which, surprisingly, he referred to as an act of terrorism. Not the least bit surprisingly, however, he refused to utter the word “Islamist.” Instead, he declared the perpetrator a person “filled with hate.”
On a Fox News panel in the aftermath of the bloodbath, counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka stressed the need for the White House and the world to acknowledge the clear connection between this attack and all the others with the same ideology.
Linking the Fort Hood, Boston, San Bernardino, Paris and Brussels massacres, Gorka – author, most recently, of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War – was the only one who mentioned Israel. The point he was making, and has been trying to hit home in his writing and lectures, is that the Islamist assault on the West is not a series of lone-wolf attacks, but rather a global movement, whose “propaganda by deed” is terrorism. And, he said, these recent acts, unlike the 9/11 attacks, are relatively small in scope and cheap to carry out, but nevertheless terrorize and paralyze whole cities. In other words, they get a lot of bang for the buck, both literally and figuratively.
Despite criticism of the FBI for knowing about Mateen’s dubious connections and doing nothing to prevent him from executing threats he had ostensibly made online, and though Obama tried to pin the massacre on forces that would deny the LGBT community its “civil rights,” one thing nobody did was blame the victims themselves. On the contrary, politicians and pundits across the political spectrum were united in horror. They always are, no matter where in the world such atrocities take place.
Except when they occur in Israel, that is, and are committed by Palestinians.
Indeed, somehow, when blood-thirsty terrorists mow down, bomb or slash innocent Israelis and then boast about it, they are viewed as people whose frustration and rage at Israeli policies have gotten the better of them.
Take State Department spokesman Mark Toner’s press conference on Thursday, the morning after two Palestinian gunmen killed four Israelis and wounded a number of others at a restaurant in Tel Aviv.
“We condemn yesterday’s attack,” he said. “We completely understand the right of Israeli authorities to ensure the security of their civilians and to carry out measures that they believe will, in fact, provide for that security. I would simply caution – and we’ve said this before – that in carrying out those kinds of measures that they do take into consideration the impact on innocent Palestinians and that they exercise restraint.”
What Toner was referring to was Israel’s extremely mild retaliatory measure in response to what is only the latest in a string of attacks by Palestinian jihadists against Jews. Following the brutal assault, Israel decided to revoke the hundreds of permits it distributed to Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to enable them to celebrate the month-long Ramadan holiday with their families and to pray on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, where Jews are forbidden even to mouth silent prayers.
Another step discussed was by newly instated Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who said that the bodies of terrorists killed in the act will not be returned to their families for burial, as funerals of terrorists in Palestinian- controlled territories always turn into festivals of incitement against Jews and celebrations of the “martyrdom” of the deceased.
It is a matter of debate whether Israel has done enough to combat the terrorism in its midst, along its borders and beyond its shores. What is crystal clear, however, is that jihadist groups only differ from one another internally.
Some are Sunni, others Shi’ite. Some hail from Gaza, others from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.
Some prefer beheadings, others bombings. But they all scream “Allahu akbar” while murdering their “infidel” prey. And the policy of the Israeli government is no more to blame for Palestinian violence against its populace than LGBT activism is at fault for Omar Mateen’s rampage.The writer is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.
RIGHT FROM WRONG • By RUTHIE BLUM US PRESIDENT Barack Obama speaks about the mass shooting that took place in Orlando, Florida, at the White