YEARS AGO, we took our then teenage daughter to an evening sponsored by the army, at which religious parents could ask questions about what the army would be like for their daughters. Some of the parents were downright hostile, clearly opposed to the prospect of their daughters joining the IDF. At one point, an obviously angry father stood up, turned to the base commander and asked (or more accurately hissed), “Do you make the girls work on Shabbat?”And that is not an attitude that American elites have. They would rather concentrate on those Muslims who don't want to kill westerners rather than acknowledge that there are Muslims who are terrorists.
The room was perfectly silent, for everyone knew the answer. No one moved. Even the base rabbi said nothing. He stood at the podium, leaned into the mike and, lost in thought, played with his beard.
Suddenly, one of the three soldiers who’d been brought to address the parents, a young woman with her uniform shirt buttoned up to her chin, her sleeves extending to her wrists and her armyissued skirt down to her ankles, looked the father right in the eye, and without being called on, said to him, “Of course we work on Shabbat.” And then, after a second’s pause, she added, “Gam ha’oyev oved beshabbat” – the enemy also works on Shabbat.
It was a game changer. “What?” she essentially asked. “You think we do this for fun? There are people out there trying to destroy us. Either we’re as serious about this conflict as they are, or they’re going to win.”
I hadn’t thought of that young woman in years, but ever since the Cordoba Initiative controversy erupted, I’ve remembered her repeatedly. For Israelis do have something to teach Americans, and it’s very similar to what she said to that father. It goes something like this: It’s fine to say that “America is not at war with Islam,” to point out that most Muslims are not terrorists and that many American Muslims are moderates. That’s true, as far as it goes.And more sadly still, President Obama and many in this country have chosen the latter alternative - not explicitly, but in their attitudes that it is worse to cast suspicion on Muslims whether they're doctors corresponding with American-hating radical imams or terrorists found on an airplane trying to set off explosives or mysteriously-funded imams who decline to criticize acknowledged terrorists than to risk seeming Islamophobic. And that is the lesson that Israel can teach Americans - the importance of acknowledging our enemies.
But it only goes so far. Because America is at war and its enemies are Muslims. Politically correct hairsplitting runs the risk of Americans blinding themselves to that simple but critical fact. It makes no difference what percentage of the world’s Muslims wants to destroy America. There are enough of them that US air travel is now abominably unpleasant and, more importantly, enough of them that more strikes on America appear inevitable.
The US got lucky on Christmas Day when the bomber headed to Detroit failed to detonate his explosives, and was lucky again in Times Square in May, but less fortunate at Fort Hood. Yet those may be but the beginning. We could, heaven forbid, come to see 9/11 as child’s play.
THE UNITED States’ future is under attack, but Americans resist admitting it. President Barack Obama has sent 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, but he has also said that he intends to pull them out by July. Can we imagine FDR declaring war on Germany, but then adding that the war had to be over in a year, or in two? It would have been laughable. And America would have lost. The US has to decide – is it committed to destroying those who wish it ill, or is it willing to be destroyed by them? Those, sadly, are its only two alternatives.
As Cliff May points out in his very effective takedown of Time Magazine, Fareed Zakaria, and Joe Klein.
It all adds up to this: By defending such terrorist groups as Hezbollah, while simultaneously denouncing those attempting to understand the motives and methods of ruthless jihadis and insidious Islamists, Klein, Zakaria, and Time are not just spreading disinformation — serving junk food for thought — they are pursuing intellectual disarmament in the middle of the War against the West.
By so doing, they also undermine those many Muslims who do not want to live under the rule of the Taliban, Khomeinist mullahs, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other militants intent on imposing their oppressive versions of Islam on all of us.
The Lebanese historian Antoine Sfeir has written that "to attack the Islamists, to denounce their actions and their lies, is not to attack Islam. To attack the Islamists is, on the contrary, to defend the Muslims themselves, the first though not the only victims of the Islamists." Zakaria, Klein, and others at Time can't seem to grasp this idea. Henry Luce would not have put up with them.