Anyone is a target: Europe has a lot to learn about terrorism

Who knows best on terrorism? The saga continues.

US Secretary of State John Kerry lays a wreath with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the site of an attack at a Jewish supermarket in Paris January 16 (photo credit: REUTERS)
US Secretary of State John Kerry lays a wreath with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the site of an attack at a Jewish supermarket in Paris January 16
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel can learn from Europe how to battle terrorism, and not only the other way around, according to outgoing EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen.
He told reporters last week at a farewell briefing that “we have a lot to learn from Israel, and Israel has a lot to learn from us.”
This breathtaking declaration comes amid a wave of terrorist attacks in Europe by sleeper agents of ISIS, which as it is being vanquished on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq has activated its deluded sympathizers on the continent.
While European governments are scrambling to meet the newest terrorist threat of murder by vehicle, pedestrians throughout the continent are being struck down by lone wolf terrorists who only need to hijack a car or truck and drive it into crowds. Such tactics have reached European shores after being well-established on a much smaller scale in Israel by Hamas and its ilk.
One difference between terrorism in Israel and Europe is that many of our ramming attacks are directed at soldiers at checkpoints or bus stops. One similarity is that so far there is no way to anticipate these attacks, such as by early warning through intelligence gathering.
When there is no terrorist organization to penetrate, but only individual fanatics – incited by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to act on their own “to save al-Aksa” or under similar delusions – there can exist only a general awareness of the need for caution against attacks that are by nature unstoppable.
Another important difference is that most of the terrorist attacks perpetrated in Europe are carried out by citizens of their respective countries, while in Israel only a small percentage of attacks – like the recent one at the Temple Mount – are carried out by Israeli Arabs. Most of our terrorist attacks are carried out by Palestinians.
This is why Faaborg-Andersen’s suggestion was so strange. If anything, Europe is still light years away from understanding the true nature of Islamist terrorism, which has for decades mainly victimized Europe’s Jews.
“In Europe we have adopted a holistic approach to fighting terrorism,” the Danish envoy proudly pontificated, in apparent ignorance of grim reality.
According to EUROPOL , 142 people were murdered by terrorists in EU member states in 2016, while in Israel 17 people were slain. With the last quarter of 2017 still before us, so far 12 people have been murdered by Islamist terrorists; nine of them soldiers and policemen. So far this year in Europe nearly five times that number of Europeans have been murdered by terrorists.
Retired British colonel Richard Kemp, the well-respected former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and a staunch defender of Israel, called Faaborg-Andersen’s statements “chutzpah.” “Not only does Israel have nothing to learn from the EU,” Kemp said, “but the EU is guilty of encouraging terrorism in Israel.”
He was apparently referring to the EU’s timid kowtowing to the narrative espoused by Abbas, while ignoring the effects of his ongoing incitement of terrorists, whom he reimburses for their “heroic martyrdom” by paying both them and their families millions of dollars in stipends.
In France the deadly terrorist attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery store in Paris in 2015 sounded the red alert for the country’s Jewish communities and those of its neighbors throughout Europe. Today, security personnel take a more holistic approach, making rounds among Jewish schools and synagogues instead of being permanently stationed in front of them as was previously the case.
The French government’s deployment of soldiers in a more flexible way reflects an attempt to protect more potential targets, which now include virtually every pedestrian, whether in the capital or on the beach in Nice. Perhaps the holistic approach to defense is more democratic, since Jews are no longer the specific target of terrorism in an age where everyone is vulnerable.
As a security expert from the European Jewish Congress told The Jerusalem Post recently, “Today the aim of the attackers is to make as much damage as possible without checking who the people are,” he said, pointing to the recent terrorist attack on Barcelona’s bustling Las Ramblas pedestrian boulevard. “Today if a Jew, Muslim or Christian walks in the street, they can get hit in the same way. Everyone is a target.”