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Jewish World Review
Dec. 30, 2003
/5 Teves, 5764
Is there but one effective way to end the hate and madness?
When two Turkish synagogues were bombed last month, the usual crocodile condemnations issued from most world capitals. Israelis took another view. Three different groups of code words are used when members of the Jewish state discuss atrocities.
One is the "Masada Complex," a reference to the Jewish revolutionaries who held out against Roman legions, then killed themselves rather than submit to foreign rule. It is assumed by the Israeli left that Ariel Sharon displays such a complex, fearing that the world is against him, and forcing his country into a suicidal position.
The second is "The Samson Option," a reference to Prime Minister Golda Meir's supposed threat in 1973, when the combined armies of Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur eve. Even today no one is quite sure what happened in Washington D.C. It is only known that after a phone call to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the Nixon administration airlifted arms and munitions, allowing Israel to defend itself with conventional weapons. The current Broadway play, Golda's Balcony, claims that the PM was within hours of authorizing the use of Israel's nuclear arsenal: like Sampson, the Jewish state would take down its enemies even as it perished.
The third group of code words has been heard less often in the recent past. But with the rise of anti-Semitism, prompted by the millions of Muslims now changing the face, politics and ethics of Europe, it is being talked about with increasing decibels. This is called "Operation Wrath of G-d."
It was first used after the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics of 1972. The late Avery Brundage, then head of the IOC, displayed his customary toilet-seat sensitivity, declaring that the Olympics "must go on" after the massacre. And so they did. But something else went on shortly afterward. That was the decision on the part of the Israeli government to seek revenge on those who would attack unarmed and defenseless Jews.
Over the next months and years, some dozen of the men involved in the murders were knocked off by a squad of Israeli agents. These included Dr. Mahmoud Hamshari, the PLO representative in France, who died after explosives were detonated beneath his table. Hussein Abad Al Chik, head of the Black September terrorist group, perished when a bomb went off under his bed. Abou Yousef, third in command of Yassir Arafat's Fatah organization, was shot by Israeli commandos led by Edhud Barak, later Israel's Prime Minister. Adbel Hamid Shibi, a member of Black September, was blown up in his car.
There were many others whose pieces were taken off the board. But the Israeli agents did not stop there. Obituaries of various men, still living, ran in various Arabic newspapers. The names of their friends and family members were mentioned. The message was clear: We know who you are, where you live, who you associate with. We can find you and kill you any time, anywhere. The warnings were enough to make many a potential assassin think twice about working for Arafat's death machine.
Alas, today there are worse threats than the PLO and Hamas. There is Al Qaeda, for example, whose members happily kill Saudis, Turkish Muslims, themselves as long as Jews die en route. The heads of that organization hope, by these terrorist acts, to intimidate Turkey, Saudi Arabia etc. into breaking relations with the U.S. and Israel.
Thus far the tactics have failed. But there is no reason for complacency. From here on, every synagogue in the world is threatened, and if history holds, every church is next. For radical Islam makes no distinction among the Infidels. The only difference between the Christian nations and the Jewish one is that Israel is closer to the Al Queda headquarters, and therefore more vulnerable. But as 9/11 demonstrated, oceans no longer protect nations, and the enemy is willing to do anything to kill the unbeliever. Anything. As we have seen again and again, the murder of innocent children is the most desirable act they can perform, but women and unarmed men are also among the preferred victims.
What to do? Well, for Jews there is always the Masada example, or the Samson one. But both of these call for the destruction of self. The third choice remains the most effective. Arming those who are the prey of degenerate killers is a sensible way to go. Licensed or unlicensed, Jews have a right to protect themselves and to take down those who would murder them. Temples have a right to have 24-hour guards, and to keep the foe at bay by whatever means necessary. But better still, that foe should be sought out, threatened, and, when possible, annihilated. As numerous incidents in Europe, and lately on U.S. campuses demonstrate, Jew-hatred is in fashion as it has not been since Hitler's time, disguised in the mask of the pro-Palestinian cause. It is long past time to reinstitute Operation Wrath of G-d. Despite protests by people and nations who wish Israel had never been created, the policy of revenge was very effective last time. And it can be again.
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JWR contributor Stefan Kanfer is the author of a dozen books on a wide range of subjects. His last two biographies: the recent Ball of Fire, about the sources of Lucille Ball's comedy, and Groucho, concerning the life and wit of Groucho Marx, were both national bestsellers, as was The Last Empire, a social history of the De Beers diamond company. One of his novels, The Eighth Sin, centering on the fate of gypsies during World War II, was a Book of the Month selection, and led to an appointment on the President's Commission on the Holocaust. Kanfer was a writer, critic and editor at Time magazine for more than 20 years; his articles and reviews have appeared in most major publications. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including installation as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library, among many other awards. Currently he is the drama critic for the New Leader magazine, and serves on the editorial board of City Journal, a quarterly published by the Manhattan Institute.
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© 2003, Stefan Kanfer