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Retire the line, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. Put it to bed once and for all. It no longer applies.
The truth is overwhelming to anyone with eyes to see. It’s on YouTube, in grisly still shots, and in graphic iconic photos of bloody prayer shawls wrapped around the shoulders of worshippers murdered while at prayer.
Heads sawed off with knives. Axe murderers in broad daylight on the street in New York and London. In a world awash in guns there is only one reason for the murder of innocents with the intimate weapons of knives, axes and meat cleavers. That reason is blood lust.
Writing in The New Yorker magazine (September 14, 2014) about the murder of Steven Sotloff, author Dexter Filkins noted:
It’s hard to watch the video of Steven Sotloff’s last moments and not to conclude … the ostensible objective of securing an Islamic state is nowhere near as important as killing people… For the guys who signed up for [the Islamic State] — killing is the real point of being there.”
That was true, as well, for the two Palestinian cousins who entered a synagogue armed with guns and butcher knives. Were they advancing a political goal? No, they were headed for an orgy of killing. I use the word orgy advisedly, for what are the Islamic State’s videos of blood and gore if not pornography?
Blood lust on a mass scale follows a well-known pattern. We’ve seen this movie before. It begins with words – hate speech that isolates and denigrates the ethnic or religious group targeted. Fear and hate are intermingled, until the target can be considered less than human, and must be disposed of. They are subhuman and dangerous. They contaminate us. Their presence sullies our purity.
So it was that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas urged the defense of the Temple mount “by all means”. And what was the danger to that sacred spot? Not loss of territory, not loss of sovereignty – there was no suggestion of any rational, political or pragmatic threat. President Abbas told his listeners that Jews “contaminate” the Temple Mount by their presence.
The murder of innocents ensued, up close and personal.
The drumbeat of violence is heard wherever Islamists are found, from Iran to Pakistan, from Hamas to Islamic State: Kill the Infidels. Kill the Christians. Kill the Jews.
Author: Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D., affiliated with the Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management at the George Washington University