Silly me. I actually thought that the barbarism of ISIS, its recruitment of disaffected Muslim youth in Western countries, and its attempts to export its grisly terrorism to the West would allow Israel and the United States to get their relationship back on track.
The Obama administration’s decision to fight the Sunni terrorist organization ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) seemed to indicate that it was finally able to appreciate the real dangers of a radical Islamic movement that has little to do with borders and everything to do with destroying infidels – other Muslims, Christians and Jews – who aren’t ready to return to the Dark Ages.
Even U.S. President Barack Obama, the ultimate appeaser, can’t ignore the gruesome, explicit videos of ISIS beheadings of Westerners, and the threats to spread this barbarity outside the Middle East.
Surely he has to realize that ISIS is fuelled by the same kind of hatred and ignorance that threatens Israel’s existence – not just from Hamas, which is blatant about its aims to destroy Israel for Allah, but also from the secular Palestinian Authority, which uses many of the same hate- and religious-based propaganda techniques to demonize Jews and delegitimize Israel.
But, when Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met at the White House earlier this month, the American leader continued to insist that settlements were still the main obstacle to peace.
Meanwhile, the terrorist group Hamas and the self-styled moderate Palestinian Authority have resumed their unholy alliance.
And, in Middle America, authorities are downplaying the religious motivations of a recent convert to Islam who beheaded a co-worker in Oklahoma.
Yes, Alton Nolen – an African-American also known as “Jah’Keem Yisrael” on social media – had made inflammatory statements about white people, had viewed internet material related to al-Qaida, and used “some Arabic terms during the attack” on a white female co-worker, according to Greg Mashburn, the district attorney for Cleveland County.
But Mashburn and others insist there’s no connection between Nolen and ISIS – perhaps because they failed to find his membership card and secret decoder ring. The idea that this particular form of revenge was inspired by radical Islam has been swept under the prayer rug.
So much for the ISIS crisis as a catalyst for greater understanding of the danger of Islamist-based hatred, and for greater appreciation of the threats to Israel.
Netanyahu’s September 29 speech to the United Nations General Assembly – you can read the full transcript at http://tinyurl.com/ntqdhqk – was Bibi at his barn-burning best.
“ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree,” he said. Like Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabab in Somalia, Hezbollah in Lebanon and others, Hamas and ISIS “all share a fanatic ideology.
“They all seek to create ever-expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance, where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice, convert or die. For them, anyone can be considered an infidel, including fellow Muslims.”
He reminded his audience that, just because this kind of violence is still limited mostly to the Middle East, Western nations can’t afford to be complacent.
“The fight against militant Islam is indivisible,” he said. “When militant Islam succeeds anywhere, it’s emboldened everywhere. When it suffers a blow in one place, it’s set back in every place … Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow.”
But Obama doesn’t seem to buy it, nor does he want to hear Netanyahu’s warnings that conquering ISIS won’t mean anything if the U.S. allows Iran to expand its nuclear capabilities.
It’s much easier – and more politically expedient – to focus on settlements as the main obstacle to peace. And Israel makes it easier for him to do so by continually catching the U.S. off guard with awkwardly timed announcements of new construction in disputed territories.
But it’s also true that, even as he prepares to fight a movement with the word “Islamic” in its title, the American president refuses to link the barbarism to a radical interpretation of Islam.
According to commentator Charles Krauthammer, Obama prefers to use the term “violent extremism … as if all these [violent attacks around the world] by an amazing coincidence are perpetrated in the name of Islam.”
Krauthammer is correct when he says, “If you can’t name the enemy, you don’t want to identify the enemy, you can’t correctly fight the enemy.”
Israel recognizes the enemy is radical Islam. Isn’t it time for the U.S. to do the same?