Time to Tell the Truth about Radical Islamic Terror

June 12 2017

In the wake of the recent bloody attacks on Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the need for “difficult, often embarrassing conversations” about the ideological sources of terror. Jeffrey Herf agrees:

North African Muslim writers, scholars, and journalists . . . since the 1990s were drawing attention to the connections between interpretations of Islam and the practice of terror by Islamist organizations. They did so especially in what [one observer] called “the terror years” of the 1990s in Algeria, when between 100,000 and 200,000 people died in a civil war between Islamist organizations and the military regime. . . .

In their scholarship, journalism, poetry, essays, and satire, these writers disputed the idea that terror “had nothing to do with Islam.” They called [instead] for critical engagement with the sacred texts that terrorists cited to justify murder, and offered abundant and embarrassing evidence about the importance of [those] texts used to legitimate terror. They argued that a criticism of Islamism and its interpretation of the sacred texts of Islam were not synonymous with prejudice against Muslims. . . .

For many years, the [sois-disant] voices of realism in the democracies have told us that euphemism and avoidance regarding the truth about Islamism, Islam, and terror were essential to win the “war on terror.” Designed to avoid generating an anti-Muslim backlash in the democracies, the euphemisms and silences . . . have contributed to just that outcome. To refrain from stating the obvious has fostered cynicism and mistrust. . . .

It was never realistic, hard-headed, or prudent to deny in public what all Western political leaders knew—or should have known—about the ideological connection between interpretations of the religion of Islam and the practice of terror in recent decades. Realism in politics and policy demands an unflinching gaze at the facts, the evidence, and the truth. That unflinching gaze needs to be focused on the ideas and passions that have inflamed the hearts and minds of the murderers. [Portions] of the intellectual history of Islamist terror have already been written and are readily available as sources for the “difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations” that need to take place around the world.

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More about: Algeria, Islam, Politics & Current Affairs, Radical Islam, Theresa May, War on Terror

No, Israel Hasn’t Used Disproportionate Force against Hamas

Aug. 15 2018

Last week, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza launched nearly 200 rockets and mortars into Israel, in addition to the ongoing makeshift incendiary devices and sporadic sniper fire. Israel responded with an intensive round of airstrikes, which stopped the rockets. Typically, condemnations of the Jewish state’s use of “disproportionate force” followed; and typically, as Peter Lerner, a former IDF spokesman, explains, these were wholly inaccurate:

The IDF conducted, by its own admission, approximately 180 precision strikes. In the aftermath of those strikes the Hamas Ministry of Health announced that three people had been killed. One of the dead was [identified] as a Hamas terrorist. The two others were reported as civilians: Inas Abu Khmash, a twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman, and her eighteen-month daughter, Bayan. While their deaths are tragic, they are not an indication of a disproportionate response to Hamas’s bombardment of Israel’s southern communities. With . . . 28 Israelis who required medical assistance [and] 30 Iron Dome interceptions, I would argue the heart-rending Palestinian deaths indicate the exact opposite.

The precision strikes on Hamas’s assets with so few deaths show how deep and thorough is the planning process the IDF has put in place. . . . Proportionality in warfare, [however], is not a numbers game, as so many of the journalists I’ve worked with maintain. . . . Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against the anguish that the action might cause to civilians in the vicinity. . . . In the case of the last few days, it appears that even intended combatant deaths were [deemed] undesirable, due to their potential to increase the chances of war. . . .

The question that should be repeated is why indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians from behind Gazan civilians is accepted, underreported, and not condemned.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict