Europe must learn from Is­rael on Daesh

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - JOHN R BRADLEY

RAW EMO­TION fol­low­ing the atroc­i­ties in Paris is giv­ing way to re­flec­tion on how best to deal with the un­prece­dented terror threat now posed to the West by Daesh.

Ini­tial sug­ges­tions have ranged from the un­fath­omably inane (Madonna: let’s shower the ji­hadis with hugs and kisses to show them they are loved) to the te­diously pre­dictable (Jonathan Cook: the start­ing point should al­ways be ac­cept­ing that the emer­gence of Daesh is en­tirely the fault of our for­eign pol­icy).

More in­trigu­ing was a com­men­tary by the mav­er­ick Mail on Sun­day colum­nist Peter Hitchens, who ar­gued, in his inim­itable way, that we should just leave Daesh alone in the hope that they in turn would, as a con­se­quence, leave us all in peace.

It is easy to understand the logic to Hitchens’ pro­posal; but it is based on a fun­da­men­tal mis­con­cep­tion.

Namely, that Daesh is the same as Al Qaeda. The lat­ter’s guide and leader, Osama bin Laden, had re­peat­edly stated that the aim of his terror out­fit was to get the West’s armies to with­draw from the Mid­dle East.

He re­peated like a mantra: if you stop killing Mus­lims, we will stop our at­tacks on the West. Whether or not that was sin­cere, we will never know.

How­ever, for Daesh, the ap­proach of Al Qaeda is as anath­ema as it is to us. Daesh is in­spired not by spe­cific poli­cies re­gard­ing the Mid­dle East, but by an apoc­a­lyp­tic vi­sion of world dom­i­na­tion. The process of achiev­ing this in­volves the slaugh­ter or en­slave­ment of ev­ery­one who does not sub­scribe to its fascis­tic in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Is­lamist supremacy.

Any move on our part to pacify them would there­fore only gal­vanise them into even more out­ra­geous acts of bar­barism and swifter moves to ex­pand.

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry’s at­tempt this week to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween the Char­lie Hebdo at­tacks and the atroc­i­ties car­ried out last Fri­day — the for­mer, ac­cord­ing to him, hav­ing “per­haps a le­git­i­macy… a ra­tio­nale that you could at­tach your­self to some­how” — was a prime ex­am­ple of how some in the West have failed to grasp this fact.

This was the stark re­al­ity that Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu was al­lud­ing to when, in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the at­tacks in France, he pointed out that Is­rael and the West were fight­ing the same kind of Is­lamist on­slaught.

There is in­deed a clear and direct anal­ogy to be drawn here.

Just as Daesh seeks the de­struc­tion of the West come what may, so groups like Hamas and Hizbol­lah seek the de­struc­tion of the Jewish state — re­gard­less of any at­tempts to bring about peace or rec­on­cil­i­a­tion on Is­rael’s part.

Iran and Daesh are fight­ing each other in Iraq and Syria. But the fact that they agree on the ques­tion of Is­rael was un­der­lined just weeks be­fore the Paris at­tacks, when Daesh re­leased its first He­brew-lan­guage video.

Nar­rated by one of the dozen or so Is­raeli-Arabs be­lieved to have joined the terror or­gan­i­sa­tion, its rhetoric about the com­ing de­struc­tion of Is­rael and death of Jews world­wide could have come straight from the mouth of a crazed Hamas or Hizbol­lah of­fi­cial.

The ob­vi­ous con­clu­sion is: any show of weak­ness on the part of ei­ther the West in the face of Daesh, or of Is­rael in the face of Hamas and Hizbol­lah, would have fa­tal con­se­quences.

Any moveon our­part to pacify Daesh­would gal­vanisethem in­to­more­acts of­bar­barism

John R Bradley’s lat­est book is ‘Af­ter the Arab Spring: How Is­lamists Hi­jacked the Mid­dle East Re­volts’


Daesh fight­ers on the Syr­i­aIraq border

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