Editorial: The goals of terror

Would Obama dare tell Russian to make goodwill gestures toward the attackers?

Moscow wounded 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
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 suchfiendish targeting of innocents and the subsequent exploitation of theinitial shock and confusion to draw more blood.
Yet unlike the Russians, we are also increasingly accustomed tosinister insinuations that we bring the bloodletting onourselves.
MIDWAY BETWEEN the Moscow atrocitiesand the follow-up Kizlyar bombings, US President Barack Obama held ajoint press conference with his French counterpart at the White House(as the culmination of a meeting in which the visitor was accorded allthe outward signs of friendship and warmth denied to Prime MinisterBinyamin Netanyahu on his recent trip). Nicolas Sarkozy made it a pointto stress his unequivocal “solidarity with President Obama incondemning the settlement process.”
He addedthat “the absence of peace in the Middle East is a problem for all ofus, because what it does is keep feeding terrorism all over theworld.”
Sarkozy’s inescapable subtext was thatIsrael’s failure to appease the Arab world is what spawns andintensifies terror. Were Israel more pliable, terror would diminisheverywhere. By extension, therefore, Israel is guilty of inflicting theterror it provokes on nations far removed from it geographically andpolitically.
Whether or not Obama shares theperception of Israel as the proverbial match that threatens to ignitethe world’s tinderbox, he chose not dissociate himself from Sarkozy’scomments, and that same day in a TV interview urged Netanyahu to “takesome bold steps” to advance peace efforts.
Israel does indeed have every interest in an accommodation withthe Arab world, but a cursory look at why its “bold steps” have failedthus far should be enough to show that the source of that failure isabiding Arab intolerance of the fact of the Jewish state’sexistence.
Obama and Sarkozy alike should havededuced from the attack on New York’s Twin Towers, and all those otherIslamist terror strikes worldwide unconnected to the war against theJewish state, that it is a sham to argue that as long as Israel doesn’tmollify the Arabs, the world will know no respite from Islamistbelligerence. The terror spate in Russia should serve only as thelatest evidence of Islamist terror’s global agenda, and the latestreminder of the spuriousness of the notion that Israel is to blame forglobal Islamist aggression.
Russia’s own leaderswould probably be the first to dissociate their own travails fromwhatever is unleashed against Israel. Yet the series of blows they havenow suffered underscores the commonality of our experiences, even if nocamaraderie is expressed toward Israel. The explosions in Moscow andthe Caucuses give the lie to contentions that were Israel to give in,the world would be spared strife.
BUT THERE isalso a lesson for us locally. The Kremlin’s reaction to this week’sblasts has been strikingly different from the platitudes, the hemmingand hawing, the attempts to find an evenhanded, politically-correctnote that so often characterize international responses in theaftermath of terror attacks against Israelis. And both Dimitry Medvedevand Vladimir Putin have been entirely devoid of the self-blame andfault-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 Russiansecurity forces would “mercilessly smoke them out of their sewer holes.”
Such language from Israeli leaders, followed by action along the samelines, would likely have stirred animated controversy at home, andwould certainly have raised an earsplitting ruckus abroad. For a start,one wonders what Obama and Sarkozy would have had to say about it.