This week, The Guardian, one of the most left-wing newspapers in Great Britain, published a 2,300-word piece describing the problem of terrorism in cities across the world. It name-checked London, Berlin, Manchester, Paris, Nice, Brussels, and Barcelona; it mentioned Algeria, Italy, Brazil, Kuwait, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Nairobi and Oklahoma City. It mentioned Israel but once — and only in order to mention the Irgun’s bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946. As Yair Rosenberg notes, not a single terrorist attack against Israelis made the article.
All of which raises a question: Why is it that whenever Western leaders talk about terrorism, they seem to leave terrorism against Jews off the list?
This isn’t a rarity. It’s regular and it’s predictable. When President Barack Obama spoke about the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, for example, he brushed off the simultaneous attack on a Jewish supermarket as “random” (he later backed down). When President George W. Bush spoke about global terrorism, he rarely mentioned terrorism inside Israel. When the media list terror attacks against Western targets, Jerusalem never earns a mention.
There’s no true excuse for leaving dead Israelis off the list of terror victims.
There are two possible explanations. Neither is good enough.
First, there are those who claim that terrorism against Israelis is part of a broader political conflict — that such terrorism isn’t religious in nature, but rather a tactic in a territorial war. That’s absolute nonsense. This week, 29-year-old Itamar Ben Gal, a teacher at a yeshiva in Ariel, was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while waiting by the roadside; he left four children behind. That follows the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six, in the same area, as he drove along the highway. These are civilian, not military targets. These were family men murdered for no reason other than their Judaism.
And no, this isn’t about settlements. In 2017, Israel saw a wave of terror attacks across Israel; most of those attacks were perpetrated inside so-called Green Line Israel: stabbings on the streets, truck attacks on civilian crowds. The Palestinian leadership celebrates such killings and offers the families of terrorists financial incentives to pursue them. And the Palestinian leadership is clear about the rationale for such killings. That rationale is the same as the al-Qaida rationale or the ISIS rationale: a radical Islamic political viewpoint that sees the slaughter of non-Muslim innocents as a tool in the jihad against the infidel. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas isn’t a “moderate” leader seeking peace; he’s a radical who stated openly just weeks ago that “Israel is a colonialist project that has nothing to do with the Jews.”
Then there’s the second explanation for why the world would downplay terrorist attacks against Jews: an anti-Semitic attempt to separate off the Jews from the West. That’s certainly the tendency in Europe, where it’s convenient to view anti-Semitic attacks inside the continent by radical Muslims not as attacks on European citizens but as internecine warfare between two outsider groups. That’s convenient because it allows Europe to treat the rise in anti-Semitic crime as an aberration rather than a serious internal problem. But it also reinforces the lie that Jews cannot be full citizens of the West.
There’s no true excuse for leaving dead Israelis off the list of terror victims. But those who do it don’t need an excuse. They’ll keep on doing it so long as the Jewish community remains silent about the omission. And so long as that omission remains the rule rather than the exception, the West will continue to ignore a basic, simple truth: The Jews of Israel are the canary in the coalmine in radical Islam’s war against the West, not an outlier nation that can be cast aside for political convenience. What starts on the streets of Jerusalem usually finds its way to the streets of London. The non-Israeli West would be smart to recognize that fact, if only to protect itself.
Ben Shapiro is a best-selling author, editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire and host of the podcast “The Ben Shapiro Show.”