December 28, 2005 - On tonight's edition of the ABC TV program "Nightline" the subject was the controversy over Steven Spielberg's movie "Munich." Co-anchor Cynthia McFadden compared the subject of the movie, Israel's reprisal after the murder of its Olympic athletes by Palestinian terrorists in 1972, to the Israeli/Palestinain conflict of today, which she called a "cycle of violence." She spoke of how today's violence begets retribution, which only leads to more violence in a cycle perpetuated by both sides.
This is a lie. And the lie is exposed by none other than the mastermind of the Munich massacre.
"We did not target Israeli civilians," he [Mohammed Daoud, who planned the Munich attack] said.
"Some of them (the athletes) had taken part in wars and killed many Palestinians. Whether a pianist or an athlete, any Israeli is a soldier."
Palestinian terrorists do not target Israeli civilians. But there are no Israeli civilians. "Any Israeli is a soldier."
Here is the reality: the day Palestinian terrorist violence stops, Israeli retaliation will stop. The violence will end.
But the reverse is not true. If Israel stopped retaliating, hunting down the terrorists who commit violent acts to make sure they don't do it again, the violence would not end. Why? Because "Any Israeli is a soldier." Including the baby killed in Sderot when a Qassam rocket launched from Gaza slammed into a home just a few weeks ago. Also killed in that attack was a four-year-old boy.
Violence is not a "cycle" when one side insists on prolonging it no matter what the other side does. To call this conflict a "cycle of violence" is to fall into dangerously misleading terrorist propaganda.
Another great lie: the Palestinian terrorist war against Israel is "resistance" to an "occupation." After Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, violence from that area has not diminished. It has increased. And Israeli towns and cities are the target.
The Palestinian terrorist war against Israeli civilians is based on racism and religious bigotry. Muslim hatred of Jews is rooted in the Qur'an itself, whose tales of Muhammad's conflicts with the Jews of his day are routinely applied by Muslim preachers to the Jews of our day. The extremist religious mind is impervious to reason. One cannot dialogue with it, one cannot reason with it, one cannot expect it to receive a new thought. One can only be aware of its great potential for destruction.
We are seeing the rise of a similar kind of religious intolerance in America today. This takes the form of a Christianity convinced beyond all reason that nonbelievers are damned forever - just as their Muslim counterparts are also convinced that nonbelievers are damned forever. The symmetry of these two belief systems ought to tell us something. We are in great danger of seeing the war against terrorism degenerate into a war between competing forms of religious hatred. We need to return to the humanitarian values we are trying to defend, and which we have successfully defended in the past. If this conflict becomes a religious war, we will be spiritually unprepared to fight it, and will not be able to count on repeating the successes of previous generations.
Israel is now battling the twin threats of terrorism and religious fanaticism. It is not Israel's battle alone. And it is not a "cycle of violence." It is the struggle against a mindset closed to reason, to the point where even violence becomes a virtue demanded by God. This is not just Israel's struggle. It is a universal struggle.
Let us look at ourselves squarely, using this threat as a warning, to make sure we do not allow ourselves to be contaminated by any similar mindless hatred or bloodless religious conviction. Our survival may depend on it.
Nidal al-Mughrabi, "Munich Mastermind Spurns Spielberg's Peace Appeal," Reuters, December 27, 2005.
"Hamas and Fatah Activists Killed," AlJazeera.net, September 30, 2005.
"Two Killed, Including Baby, in Qassam Strike on Sderot Home." Haaretz, September 29, 2005.
Peace with Realism