If you thought the American Golfer-in-Chief’s brief statement on the atrocity perpetrated against American journalist James Foley was thin gruel – Sorry for your loss, now watch this drive! – try Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on for size:
“Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “They’re the enemies of peace, they???re the enemies of Israel, they???re the enemies of all civilized countries, and I believe they???re the enemies of the Palestinians themselves.” He added that Israel faces the “same savagery” that befell Foley, noting that Hamas is known to “wantonly rocket our cities and conduct mass killings, and when they can, they murder children, teenagers, shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor, their own people, and use their people as human shields.”
Forgive me if I don’t give President Obama a lot of credit for the angry tone of his voice in his Tee Time statement yesterday, because I’ve seen him much angrier at Republicans who wouldn’t give him a clean debt limit increase. The passive content of his words, which amount to stunned disbelief that anything as powerful and hideous as ISIS could exist in the 21st century, belied that tone, as did the President’s subsequent behavior.
If you think that’s harsh, check out the New York Daily News cover story:
The Wall Street Journal also picked up on the passive tone of Obama’s ostensibly angry speech, and joined the rest of the world – friend and foe – in questioning his resolve:
The question now???what the world wants to know now, Mr. President???is what are you going to do about it?
Six years into this Presidency, we know Barack Obama can do empathy. We know he can channel a family’s grief for a murdered son and express a nation’s outrage. What we don’t know is if he can muster the will and fortitude to defeat an enemy that is growing in strength and danger on his watch. This is what America and the world need from a President when killers are on the march.
The Journal warns that the Islamic State’s brutality will not “be confined to unlucky journalists on the sands of western Iraq,” because the “the jihadists know they are at war against America.” The Journal thinks its not clear that Obama gets that. I would go further and say he’s refusing to get it, since admitting he allowed the expansion of a hideous enemy that America must fight a new war against would be politically disastrous to him, not to mention a blow to the towering ego of the worst narcissist ever to sit in the Oval Office. (Not the only one, mind you.)
Yet it is not clear that Mr. Obama is willing to admit even now that America is at war against ISIS. American bombs are hitting ISIS Humvees in northern Iraq, but Mr. Obama continues to limit the military mission to preventing genocide against the Yazidi minority and protecting the U.S. consulate in Erbil. This is a defensive containment strategy. It is not a strategy for killing and defeating ISIS.
“One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century,” Mr. Obama also said on Wednesday. But this is the 21st century and ISIS is expanding its “place.”
“And people like [ISIS] ultimately fail,” Mr. Obama added. “They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley, and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.”
But Foley is dead and his killers won’t fail on their own. They will not fail because Barack Obama reached out his hand in peace on Inauguration Day. They will not fail because of a progressive vision that mankind has finally in the 21st century reached some higher level of being. Like every evil in human history, ISIS will stop only when it is forced to stop. This means only when enough of its fanatics have been killed.
As I put it yesterday: People like the Islamic State don’t “ultimately fail,” they are defeated.
Netanyahu clearly understands that. He can’t treat terrorist attacks as an annoying distraction from his celebrity lifestyle or domestic political agenda. When rockets are bursting over your cities, terror attacks are part of your domestic agenda, aren’t they?
And Netanyahu is absolutely correct to make the point Obama is ideologically incapable of making: there is a bond between Hamas and ISIS. They are two faces of the same heartless evil. To be fair, not many American politicians are willing to give up on the “Religion of Peace” dogma, and George Bush started it. But Obama’s attempts to dismiss ISIS as representing “no religion” yesterday were comically absurd. A very large number of people, including Muslims living in Western countries – some of them born in Western countries – believe the Islamic State is exactly that, and they’re willing to take up arms, commit murder, and get themselves photographed holding severed heads to prove their devotion.
This is not to say every Muslim is a participant or accomplice in the evils of Hamas or ISIS. But this pretense that only a teensy tiny minority of extremists who have absolutely nothing to do with “true Islam” are behind all the mischief is ridiculous. It’s a belief that gives aid and comfort to the enemy – there’s a word Obama doesn’t seem comfortable using! – because it leads the West to institutionally underestimate their appeal. Call this heartless evil “Islamism” or “Islamic fascism” or something of the sort, to differentiate it from the peaceful practice of Islam, and by all means support efforts by the latter to reform Islam in a way that leaves the murderous fanatics out in the cold. But stop pretending there isn’t an ideology, with heavy religious elements, that unites these enemies of Western civilization. Stop pretending they won’t cooperate with each other when expedient. And don’t fool yourself into thinking the reformation of an enormous religion with conflicting ancient traditions, and political ambitions, can be a gentle process, or that non-Muslims have no interest in the outcome.
Netanyahu is comfortable with using the word “enemy” to describe the barbarians he faces, and after they ended the latest cease-fire with one of the most vigorous attacks on Israel yet, the Israelis set about defeating them. From Fox News:
Hamas said that an Israel airstrike in Gaza killed three of its senior military leaders early Thursday.
The Palestinian militant group claimed that the men — identified as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar — were killed along with three other people in a strike on a four-story building near Rafah, a town in the southern part of the coastal territory.
The trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training of fighters and smuggling of weapons to Gaza, Israel said.
Hamza Khalifa, an area resident said the house was struck without warning. “We only heard multiple F-16 (warplane) missiles, one after the other, six or seven missiles,” he said.
Several hours later, a large earth mover was still clearing mounds of debris and wreckage.
It was not immediately clear if their assassination would prompt a change in Hamas strategy in the current round of fighting with Israel or diminish the group’s ability to fire rockets at Israel. Hamas’ military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, is a secretive organization.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.
“The strike was the result of intelligence and operational activities, which led to the detection and attack on two central operatives from the heart of Hamas???s military leadership,” Israeli security agency Shin Bet said in a statement.
It’s also possible that Hamas’ senior military leader, Mohammed Dief, was killed in a strike on Wednesday, although Hamas claims he’s still alive. The Israelis are said to have relied on information from “informants” to target these Hamas leaders, which inspired Hamas to set about arresting and executing suspected “informers” with renewed vigor.
Hamas rejected an Egyptian-brokered truce because it didn’t include the glittering prize of lifting the Gaza blockade – a goal Hamas considers worth any number of innocent lives. There are actually rumors, sourced to Hamas’ Palestinian rivals Fatah, that the Qatari patrons of the terror gang sabotaged the negotiations, because Qatar wants a seat at the table, but the Egyptians don’t like them. Heartless evil, in which the lives of civilians – Israeli and Palestinians alike – are very low on the list of priorities. Many names, one nightmare.
Picking up on Netanyahu’s remarks, Professor Alan Dershowitz laments the double standard American foreign policy has adopted with respect to the entirely illegitimate ISIS versus the kinda-sorta legitimate Hamas:
Why then the double standard regarding ISIS and Hamas? Is it because ISIS is less brutal and violent than Hamas? It???s hard to make that case. Hamas has probably killed more civilians ??? through its suicide bombs, its murder of Palestinian Authority members, its rocket attacks and its terror tunnels ??? than ISIS has done. If not for Israel???s Iron Dome and the Israeli Defense Forces, Hamas would have killed even more innocent civilians. Indeed its charter calls for the killing of all Jews anywhere in the world, regardless of where they live or which ???rock??? they are hiding behind. If Hamas had its way, it would kill as least as many people as ISIS would.
Is it the manner by which ISIS kills? Beheading is of course a visibly grotesque means of killing, but dead is dead and murder is murder. And it matters little to the victim???s family whether the death was caused by beheading, by hanging or by a bullet in the back of a head. Indeed most of ISIS???s victims have been shot rather than beheaded, while Hamas terrorists have slaughtered innocent babies in their beds, teenagers on the way home from school, women shopping, Jews praying and students eating pizza.
Is it because ISIS murdered an American? Hamas has murdered numerous Americans and citizens of other countries. They too are indiscriminate in who they kill.
Is it because ISIS has specifically threatened to bring its terrorism to American shores, while Hamas focuses its terrorism in Israel? The Hamas Charter does not limit its murderous intentions to one country. Like ISIS it calls for a worldwide ???caliphate,??? brought about by violent Jihad.
Everything we rightly fear and despise from ISIS we should fear and despise from Hamas. Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas???at the very least until it rescinds its charter and renounces violence. Unfortunately that is about as likely as America rescinding its constitution. Violence, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism are the sine qua non of Hamas??? mission.
Just as ISIS must be defeated militarily and destroyed as a terrorist army, so too must Hamas be responded to militarily and its rockets and tunnels destroyed.
Dershowitz concludes with a call to reject compromising with evil:
No democratic nation can accept its own destruction. We cannot compromise ??? come half way ??? with terrorists who demand the deaths of all who stand in the way of their demand for a Sunni caliphate, whether these terrorists call themselves ISIS or Hamas. Both are, in the words of President Obama, ???cancers??? that must be extracted before they spread. Both are equally malignant. Both must be defeated on the battlefield, in the court of public opinion and in the courts of law. There can be no compromise with bigotry, terrorism or the demand for a caliphate. Before Hamas or ISIS can be considered legitimate political partners, they must give up their violent quest for a worldwide Islamic caliphate.
As I’ve said many times, compromise and legitimacy are the meat and drink of terrorists. If they can get a seat at the negotiating table, some recognition that their tactics are understandable or at least excusable, they have accomplished their primary objective, and all that remains is to work out the parameters of their victory. The next group of terrorists can then commence murdering, raping, pillaging, and waiting for their brokered peace deal. When an enemy begins by rejecting the tenets of civilization, any measure of civilized respect given to them is pure profit. Neither ISIS nor Hamas deserves to earn any profits. Neither of them will disappear because a politician sneers that they have no place in the new century. They mean to take their place.
Update: One of the Israeli injuries in the latest round of Hamas terror attacks was a man who threw himself on top of children to protect them, and was hit by rocket shrapnel. Compare that to Hamas’ human-shield tactics – the unforgivable, inexcusable, daily war crimes some people on the West are wholly uninterested in holding them to account for.