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December 29, 2014 8:23 am

A Better Response to Terror Attacks Against Israel

avatar by Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas before they meet and celebrate iftar, the breaking of the daily fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, in Amman, Jordan, on July 16, 2013. Photo: U.S. Department of State.

As a little girl fights for her life in an Israeli hospital emergency room, with more than 50% of her body burned by a Palestinian firebomb, all the usual players are lining up to deliver their all-too-predictable responses.

At first glance, you might not think there was any way to distort or politicize this horrific incident. Eleven year-old Ayala Shapira was a passenger in her father’s car, on her way back from a math enrichment lesson. As they approached their hometown of Ma’ale Shomron, a Palestinian terrorist hurled a Molotov cocktail at the car. Ayala and her father leaped from the car, badly burned, as the vehicle was consumed by the flames.

It’s obvious who the victims are, and who the aggressors were – who deserves our sympathy and who deserves our scorn. Well, it should be obvious – unless one has an agenda to promote,and Ayala Shapira is in the way.

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Much of the news media downplayed the incident. The Washington Post and the New York Times gave the story just one paragraph, in their “News Briefs” sections, thus guaranteeing that many readers would not even notice it.

That wasn’t all. Times correspondent Isabel Kershner even tried to cast some doubt on the identity of the attacker. She reported that “Troops were searching for the assailants, believed to be Palestinians.” Why “believed” to be? Who could possibly believe otherwise?

It gets worse. When the Boston Globe, which is owned by the Times, reprinted Kershner’s dispatch, that sentence was changed to: “Troops were searching for possible assailants in the area of the attack, near the Jewish settlement of El Matan.” The Globe wouldn’t want its readers to think that Palestinians do such things. Because if they do, who would support giving them a sovereign state, from which they could freely perpetrate such attacks endlessly?

And it isn’t hard to predict other responses from around the world. The Obama Administration will not issue a statement; an attack in which nobody was killed is not deemed sufficiently important to merit a few words from the White House. At the State Department’s next daily briefing, perhaps one journalist will mention the attack, and if so, the State Department spokesperson will utter a “form letter” condemnation.

The problem is that such a condemnation will be just words; there will be no real-life consequences. A more effective response would be for President Obama to tell Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas that if he wants to continue receiving $500-million in U.S. aid each year, he must tell the Palestinian public that such attacks are immoral. Not that he “condemns all violence.” And not in some English-language media outlet that average Palestinians will never hear. Abbas has to say that violence against Jews is immoral and that it must stop; and he has to say it in Arabic, on prime-time television.

If the Palestinian Authority believes the U.S. will never penalize or even seriously criticize its actions, it will continue encouraging and justifying Palestinian violence. In fact, a major Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, already has reported that the town where Ayala Shapira resides is part of “a settlement bloc surrounding a number of Palestinian villages on at least three sides and preventing Palestinians from freely moving in the area.” That allegation is, of course, nonsense, but it gives Palestinian advocates a way to rationalize an otherwise inexcusable attack on a little Israeli gil

Israeli and American Jewish peace activists will say a few words, too. But since many of them seem to be constitutionally incapable of simply expressing sympathy for Jewish victims of terrorism without adding some political comment, they will undoubtedly say something about how the attack proves the need to revive the “peace process” or about how they deplore “the escalating violence on both sides.” They don’t seem to understand that such moral blindness serves to undermine their credibility.

And what about the American Jewish community?

One hopes that Jewish leaders, in addition to issuing the usual condemnations, would pause to reflect on what such attacks say about the dangers of creating a Palestinian state. Just as important, Jewish leaders need to set aside their reluctance to clash with the White House, and start actively pressing the President to demand real anti-terror steps by the Palestinian Authority.

At the grassroots level, there will be an outpouring of heartfelt sympathy and prayers. Ayala’s Hebrew name, Ayala bat Ruth, will be circulated widely on the internet and will be mentioned in prayers in synagogues everywhere. That’s a good thing. But we hope that such sentiments will also be channeled into political action.

After the Jerusalem synagogue massacre in November, students at the Rambam Mesivta High School, in Lawrence, New York, decided that tears and prayers were not enough. They initiated a crowd sourcing campaign that raised more than $2.4-million for the families of the victims. The students channeled their passion into practical action.

We hope that the students will show us the way again – but this time with appeals not for checks, but for letters of protest. American Jews need to flood the White House and Congressional leaders with letters and emails asking for one very specific thing: President Obama should tell PA chairman Abbas that he must make a prime-time address unequivocally calling anti-Jewish violence immoral, or he will face a cut-off of U.S. aid.

Moshe Phillips is president and  Benyamin Korn is chairman of the Religious Zionists of America, Philadelphia.

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  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    The lelsltll Obama could have said as he did in the Michael Brown case – this child could have been mine. I guess color does matter.

  • shloime

    wouldn’t it be nice? but no sane person would believe any such statement by abbas, neither jews nor arabs. arabs know abbas for what he is, the boss of the plo and head of fatah, who only makes statements like that to appease the americans. jews know that abbas is an unreformed terrorist, just like yasser arafat, but with a better taste in clothes. (i don’t include leftist jews, and their suicidal tendencies.)

  • James Blaney

    Obama lies & his ilk backs him up. He cuddles our enemies & puts down our allies. His proxies, are Holder, Valerie Jarret, Pelosi, Harry Reid & De Blasio.
    The ultimate slap in the face of the American people is his having the ultimate race baiter at his side, Al Sharpton.

  • Helena

    Obama has no backbone unfortunately and secretly he might be a muslim himself.

  • How many Ayala’s need to suffer before Obama and the US wake up ?

  • Robert Davis

    Unfortunately a child’s horrible fate will not stop the west bent on making Israel and jews their scapegoat again for their political and economic blunders. Only a STRONG Israel able to retaliate can do that. This is why the west does not want a strong Israel!

    • Retired

      Robert,you are 100% correct.But this is nothing new.The Europeans have been in the Jew hating business since the Council Of Nicaea in the year 325.What we see today is a continuation of Europe’s Final Solution,Hitler was the front man but the rest of Europe was in on the deal!
      What made the situation worse was the fact that a good part of the Israeli establishment was somewhat in agreement with Europe & held back from defending Israel from the European Socialists.After all,they are Socialists themselves!.As far as they were concerned they were not Jews in any real sense of the word.The establishment elite were Labor Zionists,not Jews & their allegiance was to Brussels & “The City Of London” district in England,not Jerusalem.Politicians like Peres couldn’t care less if the Jews were used as political punching bags by the Statists in the EU.In effect the Jews in Israel were held back from defending themselves by the Quislings behind the Curtains.Quislings who controlled the country up to a few years ago.Now these leftists are going crazy because the Jews are taking back the country!
      PS:If there is one good thing that Obama in Washington has done,it is to discredit & destroy the Left in Israel & America!When the leftists campaign is being supported by Obama it is like getting an endorsement from A.Hitler.The Israeli Jews are running from the politicians on the left the way they would flee disease carriers! Politically,Livni might as well be Typhoid Mary.

  • steven L

    Moshe and Beny: we are facing the Alinski modus operandi and this should lead to an open conflict between the left and the right.
    The Pr. is totally behind the Palestinians and Hamas, against the Europeans and against white America for its treatment of blacks.

  • Lauren Goldman

    Let them create a ‘palestinian’ state, then, should any kind of attack on Israel originate from there, it will be addressed as one sovereign nation attacking another. As such, Israel can then respond in the appropriate manner; scorched earth. Anybody lifting a weapon against Israel can expect to be killed; no prisoners, no questions, no mercy. Regardless of age or gender. It is time to take all measures to ensure Israel’s safety. Any response will be condemned by the world, so it may as well be total.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    The condemnation and demand that Abbas should condemn such immoral acts in Arabic on Palestinian television as well as in the Palestinian media should not only be invoked by Obama, but by the EU and the UN. The Palestinian imams who continue the extremely violent calls for violence against Jews should be silenced once and for all. If there is to be any respectability offered to the Palestinian leadership as well as the Palestinian people in the PA and Gaza, all of the agenda planned at verbally in addition to militarily attacking Israel must cease and desist. Otherwise, funs and baking from the US and the EU should dry up in a moral vacuum.

  • Ellie

    “She reported that “Troops were searching for the assailants, believed to be Palestinians.”

    I don’t see anything wrong with this. Until the assailants are found, it would be ridiculous to write that they definitely are a religion or race.

    To me it was obvious that they were “Palestinian” but that is my opinion. I can’t write that for hundreds of thousands of people to read that they definitely were. It is a way of covering the journalist.

    Stop the paranoia. It is ridiculous.

  • Dov

    I don’t see why we have to look over our shoulder to see how the non-Jews and self hating Jews act when a Jew is fire bombed. Who cares what they think? We know that they hate Jews, is that news to anyone?

  • Joan Miller

    I should like to send such a letter but am unsure of the address. Do I write: President Obama, Oval office, Wash. D.C.?

  • “The Obama administration will not issue a statement,” you say. Does that surprise anyone? We have managed to elect the most spineless, perfidious man to “lead” our country, and Republican noises about impeachment are just that: noises. No action from the Republicans. And God knows they would have a better impeachment case against Obama than they had against Clinton. Is this nerd cosying up to the Arabs a bit too much?? And why? Despite all this talk about our energy independence? Or is that a bleeding’ lie also?

  • Efram

    Dream on. How can you even think that a ‘man’ who fully supports terrorism (except for ISIS, at least for now) will ever dare to express such a view? Obama does not even bother with form when US citizens are murdered (at least when the victims are US Jews).

  • if that was a palestinian child
    would be an a news all day this word is rotten .
    poor little girl did not reserved this

  • Jacques Bertrand

    “American Jews need to flood the White House and Congressional leaders with letters and emails asking for one very specific thing: President Obama should tell PA chairman Abbas that he must make a prime-time address unequivocally calling anti-Jewish violence immoral…”(see article above)

    This is NOT a job for American Jews alone ! This is a job for decent , clear-minded people who are not consumed by anti-semitism and racist hatred. Let’s include all Americans , Canadians in this project and fight back against the enemies of Israel – – these people are the enemiesof higher civilisation . Let’s fight and do what we have to to win !

  • Shalom-Hillel

    It should be clear by now whether the media reports these terrorist incidents or not, that the Palestinians or whatever they’re called this year do not deserve a state of any kind. By their actions they long ago forfeited any moral basis to a state.

  • NCS

    Please reread the last paragraph and contact your congressmen in Washington with those instructions.

  • Zdenka Horak-Manek

    I pray for Ayala, the brave nice girl.Zdenka.

    • janet lehr

      To David Efune:
      Bless the Rambam Metsivta students who responded to the Har Nof traged so effectively.
      David, please detail an article on ‘crowd sourcing’ so that those less technically ‘literate’, can more effectively direct their efforts.
      Excuse my using this response to advocate, mandatory defensive training, Karate being only one of several disciplines, be incorporated into all Jewish Yeshivot and Day Scool programs.
      With love for our people Israel,
      Janet Lehr, IsraelLives

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