Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Never Forget Daniel Pearl

A year ago November I wrote a post titled, "Because He Was a Jew," about Daniel Pearl, the journalist beheaded by terrorists in 2002. In that piece I wrote this simple truth:

Daniel wasn't a soldier, he was not in war, he was not a political prisoner. He was an innocent American citizen. Daniel Pearl's head was cut off by those who attacked us because he was a Jew.

That piece meant a lot to me actually, and if you didn't read it back then, I would appreciate you taking the time to read it now.

I bring this up again because Daniel's father has written a piece in the WSJ about how we have normalized evil. It's a powerful read by a man who understands this horror of terrorism more than almost all of us. Daniel's murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, proudly bragged of Daniel's murder in a military tribunal in March 2007. He is also one of the masterminds behind 9-11. He resides at Guantanamo. He has also been the subject of the torture techniques used by the Bush administration that the left has been so vocal in criticizing. Khalid has said that he is ready to be put to death. Now that Guantanamo will close, I do wonder what will happen to Khalid now. But I imagine I don't wonder quite as much as Judea Pearl.

Daniel's father now sees justification for terrorism:

But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.

But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. "It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel." Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.

Mr. Carter's logic has become the dominant paradigm in rationalizing terror. When asked what Israel should do to stop Hamas's rockets aimed at innocent civilians, the Syrian first lady, Asma Al-Assad, did not hesitate for a moment in her response: "They should end the occupation." In other words, terror must earn a dividend before it is stopped.

Pearl says we need to take a good hard look at our universities to see roots of our acceptance of terrorism:

At my own university, UCLA, a symposium last week on human rights turned into a Hamas recruitment rally by a clever academic gimmick. The director of the Center for Near East Studies carefully selected only Israel bashers for the panel, each of whom concluded that the Jewish state is the greatest criminal in human history.

The primary purpose of the event was evident the morning after, when unsuspecting, uninvolved students read an article in the campus newspaper titled, "Scholars say: Israel is in violation of human rights in Gaza," to which the good name of the University of California was attached. This is where Hamas scored its main triumph -- another inch of academic respectability, another inroad into Western minds.

Danny's picture is hanging just in front of me, his warm smile as reassuring as ever. But I find it hard to look him straight in the eyes and say: You did not die in vain.

The last line brought tears to my eyes.

I hope we never forget Daniel Pearl. I hope we never forget the innocent victims of 9-11. I hope that we understand the evil we still face. I hope also, that Daniel did not die in vain.

via Ace