An Israeli’s 9/11
“Turn on the TV! There’s a plane crashed into the Twin Towers in New York!”
And I did. And I saw the other one right after.
I think in all the rest of the world the first question was, “Who could have done such a thing?” Not in my country. We knew, without having to think even a fraction of a second, that there was only one group of people who could have done such a thing. We knew because we’d had first-hand experience.
Muslims. No room for doubt in an Israeli Jew’s mind.
Whoever of us got over the shock said, “Now the world knows what we’ve been up against all those years.” It was an attempt to find a faint ray of light in all that darkness: the waking up of the world to the seriosity of the Islamic threat, and uniting against it. I thought that would happen. We all did.
It was not to be.
Even for those on the Left who did not buy into conspiracy theories, 9/11 became the epicenter of madness: the madness of searching in oneself for the causes of the calamity, fully excusing, or nearly so, the perpetrators. Scapegoating and crocodile-feeding. “Don’t give in to those impulsive feelings of righteous anger”—no, only the enemy is allowed that. No, wait, the enemy isn’t an enemy at all, it’s just a messenger telling the US, and the West as a whole, to put a halt to their imperialistic crimes.
It’s all because of the killing of innocent Palestinians, Iraqis or Lebanese, they say. Apparently the more than 3,000 people in the towers weren’t innocent at all—they were, after all, as Ward Churchill, following on John Zerzan, said, “little Eichmanns”. We’re told the West has routinely disregarded human life by putting their colonial subjects in stereotypes, but what, then, is “little Eichmanns” supposed to be?
Back then, Israel-haters tagged onto Osamah bin Laden’s mention of “oppressed Palestine” in his video right after the attacks. But now, recently, Al Qaeda released a video claiming the attacks to be vengeance for Bosnia. So which is it? Palestine or Bosnia?
Both and none. The Danish cartoons. Who cares? It’s already in the earliest history of Islam, when Mohammad, still confined to Medinah after his flight from Mecca, sought to get rid of the local Jews. There were three tribes to get rid of, and in all cases, Mohammad found some convenient pretext to portray the Jews as treaty-breakers and therefore legitimacy to drive them away or kill them.
I thought back then, a few days after that day, “Will indeed the world be more understanding of the threat? Or will Israel become the new Czechoslovakia?” After all, the attacks took place a few days after the Durban Conference of that year, an anti-racism conference that was subverted, well-nigh completely, to a hatefest against the state of Israel.
“New World Order”, blared the TV headlines. Fat chance. Few changed their way of thinking because of 9/11. Most fighters became more resolute fighters, and most dhimmis became more craven dhimmis.
My memories of 9/11, I am sad to say, are memories of just a tragic event in history and no more. Why? Because the whole world has let it pass as just a tragic event in history and no more. Even the US leaders’ reaction plan, of defusing the threat by installing democracy in the Muslim world, was wrong-headed. But at least they tried. At least they did something. For most of the world, the non-reaction to 9/11 could be summed up in the outrage expressed at President Bush’s phrase, “this crusade”. Whether he intended it literally or metaphorically is not the question; the outrage over his suggestion that the attacks had to do with Islam, as also the protest at Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s remarks on the superiority of the West over the Islamic world, were the point where the West had chosen to lose the war. This symbolic event lives far more firmly in my mind than the literal event of the attacks.
Though World War II comparisons abound, and I do not hesitate to make them myself, the fact is this war is much more to be fought on the civilian and ideological front than by military forces. It requires a belief in the superiority of one’s civilization. The Muslims already have that aplenty. The West, in contrast, is self-doubting itself to death. Israel leaving Hizbullah to rearm and the US permitting an ex-president of Iran to lecture on its soil are the greatest desecrations of the victims of 9/11 after five years.
If we will honor all these victims of that Islamic attack, we must believe ourselves the targets of an evil ideology and not the receivers of just punishment for deeds done in Sir Livingstone’s day. If we were evil and justly punished on that day, then we are as good as uttering that vile, heartless expression of Ward Churchill’s. Can you look at the father of children working at the tower, at the wife and mother, and see a soulless executor of mass genocide in them? If you can, then please do us a favor and go to the other side already. Take shahadah right now. If you can’t, then come and contribute to the war effort, which, as I said, is more ideological than military, in any way you can. You need not be a soldier, not even a leader; just the companion who lifts his comrade’s hand, as did Aaron and Hur to Moses, bringing victory against Amalek’s spirit of nihilistic self-doubt.
UPDATE (September 11, 13:17): I wish to make clear what my message here really is:
Is Osama Bin Laden dangerous? No doubt about it. But not as dangerous alone as when he meets West Guilt Laden.