Marinating in Hatred

Where is the connection between the vicious murder of two parents and three of their five children in Itamar last weekend and the Peter King hearing?

Where is the connection between the vicious murder of two parents and three of their five children in Itamar last weekend and the Peter King hearing?

Some time after 9-11, someone in America coined the term “Sudden Jihad Syndrome” to account for people – Muslims – who “went berserk” and killed Jews or other Americans without evidence of membership in a group organized for that purpose. One shot up the El Al counter at LAX; one killed a woman at the Jewish Federation Building in Seattle and injured others; one was a Bosnian who killed people in a shopping mall. There was an American convert to Islam who killed an Army recruiter. A Kosovo Albanian raised in Germany who killed two American soldiers on an airport bus. An American-born Palestinian psychiatrist in the U.S. Army, who killed 14 people at Ft. Hood. Somali refugees who went back, killed and died.

None were said to have shown symptoms of desiring the afterlife with 72 virgins. And since it was sudden-onset, who could have known who they would be? Law enforcement authorities couldn’t be blamed for not catching them before they struck. And since it was medical-of-a-sort, neither could members of their families or Muslim community leaders. How convenient. Everyone is a victim, not only the dead.

Sifting through the mix, however, it became clear there was nothing “sudden” about it. People were planning carefully and over time. Nidal Hassan was well known. Moreover, law enforcement got better at uncovering plots – the Ft. Dix plotters, the Lackawanna Six and others were stopped. OK, lose “Sudden Jihad Syndrome” and call them “Lone Wolves,” sick individuals who were still not connected, not literally connected, to anyone or anything that could be blamed.

Nice try, but no.

There is no unconnected terrorism. People who listen to and venerate jihadis, read jihadist material, travel to places where jihad is taught and learned may be influenced and radicalized by jihad. People who marinate in hatred and the belief that others deserve to die may be influenced by that and may be moved to make it happen. And since that is so, they can be understood, uncovered and stopped – but it requires awareness not only by law enforcement, but also by the communities in which those people live and work. Nidal Hassan had shown evidence of a strong interest in jihad and was corresponding with Anwar al-Awlaki. There isn’t always “blame” to assess, but there is responsibility. That was Mr. King’s point.

And sometimes there is blame – which was not Mr. King’s point, but it is ours.

To Itamar.

Palestinian Authority media vilifies Jews constantly and in terms that a Nazi would find familiar – yes, that’s a Nazi analogy. At best, the Palestinian Authority calls Jews interlopers – not only on the West Bank, but “occupied Haifa” and the “settlement of Tel Aviv.” The Palestinian Authority named a community center after Wafa Idriss, the first female suicide bomber, and multiple buildings after Dalal Megrahi of the Coastal Road Massacre. Hamas handed out sweets to children in Gaza in celebration of the murder of someone else’s children. Jewish children.

If those are the heroes and those are the lessons, who wouldn’t expect a Palestinian – not all Palestinians, but at least one Palestinian – to pass where a checkpoint used to be but isn’t now and slit the throats of the nearest available occupier, even if the nearest one was a baby? And when The Washington Post first reacts to the murder of five people in their beds with a brief paragraph in its “Digest” notes, and then with the headline, “Settlers killed in West Bank” who wouldn’t expect people – even Americans – to think of “settlers” as something other than Yoav (11), Elad (4) and Hadas (3 months), their father Udi, and their mother Ruth – who fought back and was stabbed to death trying to protect her children?

We would expect that. And so, we think, would Mr. King.

There is a line from Palestinian incitement to Anwar al Awlaki to Osama bin Laden to Internet jihadist chat rooms to radicals who bribe Somali boys to go back and wage war to Nidal Hassan to Arid Uka and back again. As we go to press, Abu Mazen has denounced the killers of the Fogel family, but he cannot be allowed to escape blame for the evil swamp over which he presides and from which the killer came.