While Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party do not organize suicide bombings or aim rockets at Israeli civilians, they engage in and abet hate-filled rhetoric and calls to shed Jewish blood that have real and dire consequences. Many Israelis understand that peace is impossible without curbing such incitement, which is endemic throughout the region. Michael Rubin explains why those concerned with terrorism elsewhere must be equally attentive:
Increasingly, as Turkey’s recent string of terrorist attacks show, [such incitement] is becoming a cancer within Turkish society. Consider the New Year’s attack on the Reina nightclub. The Friday prayer sermon read by imams across the country on December 30 condemned New Year’s celebrations as illegitimate and suggested no truly believing Muslim would mark the occasion. There may not be direct causality between the sermon and the attack . . . but the bombardment of society with anti-secular and anti-tolerant attitudes made Reina a legitimate target in some Islamist circles. . . .
Turkey is not alone. Incitement is a staple of [official Iranian] rhetoric—be it weekly state-sanctioned “Death to America” chants or the entreaties to genocide against Israel and Jews more broadly. Incitement, too, explains ordinary Egyptian intolerance toward Israel decades after the two countries signed a peace agreement.
It is one thing for diplomats and counterterror practitioners to wring their hands at online terror recruitment by al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and like-minded groups, but U.S. policy continues to fall flat when it comes to incitement promoted by authorities or states like the Palestinian Authority, Iran, Egypt, or Turkey. Turkey is perhaps the most tragic case because the country’s transformation has been entirely preventable had the Bush and Obama administrations not chosen to hide their heads in the sand.