Not All Parents Love Their Children Equally
I am always hesitant to make comparisons between current events and Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Still, we can sometimes find echoes of the past in the present that can offer insights and warnings.
In the course of doing research for a book on the Holocaust, I reviewed the history of German-Austrian relations before the Anschluss. The Austrian Chancellor, Kurt Schuschnigg, objected to Hitler’s desire to absorb Austria into the Third Reich. He was summoned to the Fuhrer’s home in Berchtesgaden on February 12, 1938, and told to lift the ban that had been imposed on the Nazi Party and appoint Nazi sympathizers to head several ministries. After Hitler warned “all your ridiculous defense mechanisms will be blown to bits,” and no country would come to Austria’s aid, Schuschnigg acceded to Hitler’s demands.
What really struck me was the conclusion of the History Place:
Like Schuschnigg, all of the heads of state and various diplomats arriving there would be at a terrible disadvantage. They were dealing with a man always willing to go to the limit, willing to send in the troops and shed blood in order to get what he wanted. Hitler knew that civilized men such as Schuschnigg, and those who followed, would readily compromise to prevent the loss of life. They would all learn too late that Hitler did not value life and that war was his ultimate goal.
This is an apt description of the undeclared world war now being fought with Islamists — ISIS, Al Qaeda, the mullahs in Iran, and the leaders of Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. Their ultimate goal is to reconstitute the Islamic empire and, ideally, expand it by undermining the West from within and if necessary, waging a holy war.
The extremists have repeatedly shown they are prepared to sacrifice innocent lives in pursuit of their goals. This is why civilians are so readily used as shields for terrorists — because they are mere pawns in the larger game played by the Islamists. These innocents, who are almost always fellow Muslims, are expendable because they protect the jihadists and have the added benefit of creating a moral dilemma and public relations nightmare for the terrorists’ enemies.
The armies fighting the Islamists seek to minimize casualties while the terrorists hope to maximize them. A single civilian death — especially if Israel can somehow be blamed — is often front page news, and provokes international outrage. This is all the more incentive to use bystanders as shields.
Americans have difficulty conceiving of a modern religious war. This was something that was a characteristic of ancient times. The American mindset seems unaffected by the ongoing conflict between Muslims and Hindus in India and Pakistan, Muslims and Jews in the Middle East, and Shiites and Sunnis in the Muslim world. Why is this so? Because to the idealists who cling to universalistic ideals, the idea that anyone would value life less than they do is inconceivable.
I’m reminded of the lyrics from Sting’s song “Russians”: “We share the same biology, regardless of ideology. But what might save us, me and you, is if the Russians love their children too.” The idea that Russians love their children as much as we do is supposed to reassure us that they would never risk a nuclear war with the United States. The Soviets, however, were guided by ideology and realpolitik, not religion.
The notion that anyone might love their children less than we do is often dismissed as bigotry. Nevertheless, the evidence is in front of our eyes. Just this month Israel discovered a tunnel that was dug from the residence of a Lebanese civilian family under the border into Israel. We also know that Hamas and Hezbollah have no reluctance about storing arsenals or firing rockets from mosques, schools, hospitals, and other civilian sites. Hamas has been busing Palestinians of all ages to the border of Gaza to provoke Israeli soldiers and increase the likelihood of casualties that they can use in their propaganda. Palestinian parents proudly talk about sacrificing their children to kill Jews.
On an individual basis, each Muslim parent undoubtedly loves their children and will grieve if they are killed. However, that grief is something that Islamists and terrorists see as a weapon to be exploited by broadcasting it to the world through the media.
Although there is some question whether she actually made the statements, two quotations attributed to Golda Meir seem applicable, at first blush, to the war now being fought with the Islamists: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.” The second is, “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
Meir was referring to hate based on politics, however, not religion. If you believe, as the Islamists do, that those who die are going to Paradise, their sacrifice is an expression of love. Those fighting the Islamists, who believe that compromise will save lives, are making the same mistake as Schuschnigg — and the consequences may be catastrophic.
Mitchell Bard, Executive Director of AICE and Jewish Virtual Library, has written 24 books including The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews, and After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.