When you don't recognize evil, denounce evil, resist evil, fight evil, you become dangerously close to being evil.
That is the unfortunate situation where we find many important players in American society, including the mainstream media and the major national Muslim political groups. This does not bode well for America's ability to fight and win the war against Islamo-fascist terrorism that now threatens the survival of the free world. That's so because of the important role played by the mainstream media in shaping public opinion and public policy and because the essential role that the majority of Muslims must play in bringing the minority of the extremists within their ranks under control.
You don't see much discussion of this in the mainstream media as those that control it simply do not see the evil of terrorism and Islamo-fascism, as they should and as any rational observer does.
This sorry state of affairs was made crystal clear in an article by Steven Emerson, one of the nation's leading experts on international terrorism and national security. The article appears in the publication Counter Terrorism: The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security International (Summer 2008).
The key question Mr. Emerson asks is in the title of the article, "Who Will Stand Against Terrorism?" He starts by painting a grim picture of the nature of our terrorist enemies and their leading sympathizers.
First, he recalls the attack of terrorists at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem in which eight young students were gunned down in cold blood. Thousands of Palestinians take to the streets to celebrate this mass murder of innocent children. Their government encourages them to do so. Mr. Emerson asks, "How toxic is a society when the governing party suggests celebrating a massacre of teenage boys?" Indeed, the only answer is that it is toxic beyond measure and beyond imagination, representing a new low in a degenerate and uncivilized society. At the same time, this insane fanaticism in the service of death and destruction represent a new and unique threat to the survival of Western values and Western civilization.
Then Mr. Emerson notes that the brutality of the massacre "exposes some ugly truths about the blood lust that has been fostered by leaders in Palestinian society and the unwillingness of most American Muslim political organizations and the mainstream media to confront it." When major groups in our society are unwilling to confront our mortal enemies abroad, we should understand that we have a massive amount of work to be done to right our own ship and those who sail on it.
Mr. Emerson then uses the case of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which has been accused of raising money to support Hamas terrorism. He notes that despite the convincing evidence to support the accusations, the major Muslim political organizations met these accusations with silence. Some defenders of the Holy Land Foundation went beyond silence and argued that it was only trying to help needy Palestinians.
When they go beyond silence, defenders or these organizations that support terrorist groups also try to make a moral equivalence between bloodthirsty terrorism and self-defense. Mr. Emerson denounces any suggestion of moral equivalence: "Every life lost is a tragedy. But to pretend there's a moral equivalence between the attacks that set out to kill innocents versus those in which civilian are caught in the crossfire is a cruel joke that serves only to perpetuate the violence and keep any hope of peace a distant fantasy. In its rocket barrages and in the yeshiva attack, civilians are the target." International law condemns terrorism, but it recognizes that in self-defense civilians may be killed and no nation is required to defend itself only if it can avoid all civilian casualties in doing so. Any such requirement of zero-civilian casualties when conducting self-defense would be the denial of the universal and inherent right of self-defense.
Consider the case of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Evidence at the Holy Land Foundation trial exposed CAIR as part of a "Palestinian Committee" that was formed to advance the agenda of the terrorist organization Hamas. Hamas' charter calls for the elimination of Israel. Mr. Emerson concludes, "When American Muslim organizations refuse to condemn Hamas, they sign on to a charter that sees violence as the only 'solution' to the conflict."
The Muslim organizations seem to be blind to terrorist attacks, and so is the mainstream media. For example, Mr. Emerson cites the case of the New York Times, which sets the direction of much of the mainstream media. In reporting on the Yeshiva massacre, it used the word "gunman" four times (not including the headline) and used the word "terrorist" only when quoting an Israeli official. The Washington Post, another leader of the mainstream media, described the terrorists carrying out the murder at the yeshiva as the work of a "gunman," not a terrorist. The mainstream media seem intent on euphemizing, sanitizing and legitimizing terrorism by calling it by other, more acceptable names.
The acceptance of this bloodthirsty genocidal culture goes far beyond semantics and terminology. It is virtually total acceptance. For example, the major Muslim political organizations, such as CAIR, do not condemn terrorist's organizations, including Hamas, nor do they even speak out against the incitement to murder and genocide spewed out by the Palestinian media, which teaches even toddlers to strive for "martyrdom" via suicide bombing and other forms of mass murder.
Mr. Emerson gives this example: "Hamas-controlled television has introduced a series of death-glorifying, bloodthirsty children's characters on 'Tomorrow's Pioneers.' They include Farfour, a Mickey Mouse look-alike that CNN described as dancing 'with an imaginary gun in his gloved hands and encouraging kids to drink milk, study hard - and engage in violent acts of "resistance" against their Israeli neighbors and America.'" Farfour has since been martyred, but there was another character to take its place to incite even children to commit murder and other crimes against Israel and America.
Mr. Emerson concludes, "Showcasing these inducements of hate and death, the duplicity of groups like CAIR in standing by Hamas, often brings back accusations of bigotry. And the death toll climbs. An Israeli was injured by yet another rocket attack the other night. Who will demand it all stop?"
Mr. Emerson doesn't answer the last question, but I will. It will end when the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post and the other members of the mainstream media finally start to give the public an honest picture of what's going on in the Middle East. That might start with their calling terrorists by their right name and not using euphemisms such as "gunman" and "militant." It can also start with media and public pressure on CAIR and the other national Muslim political organizations to stop defending and excusing terrorist organizations such as Hamas and to start defending and supporting America.
This insane culture often focuses its murderous and genocidal intent on Israel. But Israel is only the canary in the mine. History shows that groups like the Islamo-fascist terrorists, such as the Nazis and Communists, are not satisfied with subjugating or exterminating one group or another; they always have grander ambitions. Whatever their rhetoric of the moment, however they may state limited objectives now, one of their ultimate targets is the U.S. We'd better recognize that grim reality and act accordingly.
Herb Denenberg, a former Pennsylvania insurance commissioner and professor at the Wharton School, is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at email@example.com.