Europe should label terrorists, not tomatoes


On Nov. 11, while Islamic terrorists were preparing for their Friday night massacre in Paris, which would leave 132 people dead and 352 injured, one of the big news items was the European initiative to put special labels on Israeli goods made in disputed territory.

As the European Commission explained, this was not new legislation, but a clarification of existing legislation dating back to 2012. In other words, the European obsession with singling out Israel for special punishment didn’t just start last week. It’s been an ongoing affair.

So, while Islamic terrorists have been scheming to terrorize the European continent, bigwigs in Europe have been laboring over how to “protect” European consumers from Israeli olive oil, vegetables, honey, eggs, wine and other goods produced in the West Bank.

Well, that ought to keep Europeans safe!

As much as I’m disgusted by the sight of religious fanatics rampaging through Paris murdering people who just want to enjoy life, these murderers are simply doing what they believe their prophet or God wants them to do. It may violate every standard of decency, but that’s what fanatics do.

Author and Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls this group of Muslim fundamentalists “Medina Muslims,” in that they see the forcible imposition of sharia as their religious duty, following the example of the Prophet Mohammed when he was based in Medina. As she wrote recently in Foreign Policy, this group argues for “an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version and take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.”

Now, you can be repulsed by this religious ideology, but you can’t tell me it’s not a religious ideology. You can’t tell me that the fanatics of ISIS and other radical Islamic groups are fighting for jobs or better immigration laws.

The one European leader who seems to get this is British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said in an address last July: “What we are fighting, in Islamic extremism, is an ideology. It is an extreme doctrine. And like any extreme doctrine, it is subversive. At its furthest end it seeks to destroy nation-states to invent its own barbaric realm.”

While religious fanatics may have an ideological explanation for their barbaric acts, what’s the explanation for those self-righteous European bureaucrats who spend so much of their time singling out and maligning Israel?

Now that they’ve witnessed the barbarians crashing the gates of the City of Lights, will their priorities finally return to sanity? Or will they continue to obsess over Israel and treat the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the mother of all global conflicts — as if its resolution could somehow stop the rampant Islamic violence now threatening Europe and other parts of the world?

I wonder if those European honchos ever ask themselves what kind of message they’re sending to terrorists when they labor so publicly over the labeling of Israeli vegetables. That they mean business in their fight against terror?

Here’s my suggestion for all European leaders who really do mean business in this new war: Stop your obsession with Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And stop thinking that beating up Israel will somehow gain you sympathy with Islamic terrorists. It won’t.

Yes, Israel needs to resolve its conflict with the Palestinians – for its own sake. The majority of Israelis would love nothing better than to get a divorce from the Palestinians. They’ve seen how the word “occupation” has become a big, sharp blade that enemies conveniently use to bludgeon the Jewish state. At the same time, they worry that if Israel leaves the West Bank, that blade would only get bigger and sharper as groups like ISIS and Hamas take over. For now, Israel is stuck, and its enemies know it.

In any event, regardless of the stalemate with the Palestinians, Israel should be the least of Europe’s concerns. For one thing, you don’t hear reports of Israeli terrorists trying to enter Europe to wreak havoc on European cities. Israeli tourists flocking in? Definitely.

If anything, European leaders should be actively enlisting Israel’s help to fight this rising scourge of terror that now threatens their populations. God knows the Jewish state has enough expertise in this area.

But first, Europe will need a lesson in the priorities of labeling. Label the terrorists, yes. Label their ideology, yes. Label the allies who can help you fight them, yes.

Just stop labeling Israeli tomatoes.


David Suissa is president of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal and can be reached at davids@jewishjournal.com.

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