Not a simple issue. Especially for those of us Jews and leftists who were educated at places like Berkeley, where we received our degrees in Selective Blindness, with a minor in Understanding the Roots of Violence when practiced by Muslims.This is similar to a theme I've mentioned many times, that liberals treat Arabs as if they are mentally ill and need to be "understood," not as if they are adults who have the ability to understand right and wrong. This is racism, as Burston says.
We were taught to sniff out, publicize, and condemn every instance of racism, violence, injustice, and humiliation practiced by Israeli Jews against Palestinian Muslims. And that was as it should be.
But we were also taught that it was racist to impose our Western values on the acts of Muslims, even, or especially, when it came to the most extreme of Muslims.
We can, with facility, therefore, comprehend all Muslim atrocities against Muslims in Iraq as the direct, understandable, and legitimate response to the American-British occupation.
We were taught wrong.
We can understand terrorism in Bali, in London, in the Twin Towers, as an outgrowth of anger over American expansionism and Israeli military repression.
We were taught wrong.
This is what we should have been taught: Violations of human rights are violations of human rights, regardless of the cultural background of the perpetrator, regardless of the background of the victim.
This is what we should have retained: One way to demonstrate compassion for victims is to stop showing sensitivity to their tormentors. Even if both are Muslims. Because it's our business to cry out. Because the victims are human beings. Because villains deserve to be denounced.
We were taught to feel guilt, when we should have been taught that wrongdoing is the work of the wrongdoer.
In the end, those of us who excuse Muslim fanatics their outrages against their own, those of us who explain away their crimes by blaming them on the West, or on ourselves, are guilty of racism as well.
We are saying, in effect, that they cannot be considered responsible for their actions, as would any other human being.
We are saying, in effect, that we made them who they are.
We are saying, in effect, that the suicide bomber who kills his own, lacks the ability to discern right and wrong. We are also saying, in effect, that they can do what they like, to their own.
There is racism in our view, and megalomania, and arrogance, and cowardice, and weakness. Terrorists know this. They feed on it.
They were taught well.
The way to erase terror is to hold people responsible for terror, and for the environment that romanticizes terror. This simple lesson is lost on much of the Left.