There is no such thing as a lone wolf terrorist and this is why

Some people almost certainly will contend that recent attacks using knives and autos are random acts. Years of occupation and oppression cause spontaneous acts of violence, unplanned by the Palestinian leadership. These acts are the expression of lone wolves, unrelated to any real organizing system and caused by personal initiative. And certainly as personal acts they are explained by individual biographies and not culture, theology or historical experience.

There are some conclusions it is very important to draw from this point of view. First, it is not exactly accurate the call such acts “terror.” For murders to be acts of “terror” they have to be linked by systematic planning and organization. There must be a common, coherent political or social goal. They must convey an understandable, threatening message which is clear to both the victims and to the community of the attackers.

Where in these most recent attacks do we find any of these qualities? There is no organization or leadership group which claims to be directing the current violence. There are no assertions of organizational responsibility. There are no ties of membership between the attackers and any recognized organizations. Violence, therefore, is lamentable but only the fruit of individual frustration and hatred, and not policy. The most one can say about the Palestinian leaders is they consistently demonstrate a tin ear when they praise the attackers and call them martyrs, and reward these martyrs with cash payments.

But what of the values inculcated in Palestinian children by an educational system and who have become attackers? Since 1967, almost a half century, Palestinian curricula have portrayed Jews and Israelis as sub-human monsters who must be eliminated. They have been enemies of Islam since the days of Mecca and Medina. They are thieves and murderers who have no historical connection to the land. The biblical record is not history and the claims of the existence of a Jewish people and culture are bogus and fraudulent. Jewish history and historical events such as the Holocaust are either exaggerated or false. So there is a sub-stratum of anti-Jewish attitudes and beliefs which easily rise to the surface under certain circumstances.

When Palestinian leaders repeatedly praise and reward martyrs, their words and actions are an incitement of the “wink and a nod” variety. The reservoir of anti-Jewish hate boils over and anti-Jewish violence erupts. So there is a structure, after all, to the current wave of knife and auto murders. And these acts are, after all, perfectly described by the word “terrorist,” relating to an identifiable structure, organizational responsibility, and systemic planning.

Sadly, none of this is new. It is exactly the method devised by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages; a method which encouraged the periodic outbreak of programs, which were not unlike the current Palestinian attacks. Dog whistle statements by medieval church leaders were similar to comments made by Palestinian leaders of today. A reservoir of hate and distortion, called anti-Semitism accounts for what happened in Europe during the Middle Ages, and a reservoir filled with the same poisoned water effects the Middle East today. —Rabbi Kerry Baker

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