Warning lights flashing…writes Michael Kuttner

December 26, 2014 by Michael Kuttner
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In recent weeks there seems, according to current politically correct thinking, to have been an outbreak of lone wolves roaming and attacking, plus an epidemic of mentally deranged individuals escaping from institutions and rampaging in various locations.

Scene of the Sydney's Martin Place siege                Photo: Henry Benjamin

Scene of the Sydney’s Martin Place siege                     Photo: Henry Benjamin

At least that is the conclusion one would arrive at if the proclamations and excuses issued by politicians and communal leaders are to be believed. This systematic serenade of soothing platitudes inevitably culminates in wholesale denials that our civilized society is facing a major problem and that serious steps need to be taken to combat and thwart future outbreaks of what can only be termed planned terror.

There are several reasons for wanting to minimize a continuing assault on the lives of innocent citizens. They range from political expediency in which voters must not be upset in case they refuse to vote for a particular politician to historical amnesia in which past acts of murder are deliberately overlooked. Along the way we also have a genuine fear of tarring a whole group with the sins of a minority and those who are terrified at damaging any interfaith interaction, no matter how fragile these sometimes turn out to be. In addition there are communal spokespersons, who in an effort to keep a low profile and not put their head or that of the community they represent, above the parapet, resort to meaningless mumbo jumbo in the vain hope that this will appease any media or political reaction.

A common and oft heard refrain is that “it surely can’t happen here” which inevitably follows some outrage somewhere else. When it does actually happen here the shock often produces an “under the carpet” syndrome or outright denial that in fact anything resembling terror has occurred. That is why you hear statements claiming that the perpetrator is unbalanced, mentally deranged and not normal. It follows that if one accepts these excuses then there can be no other reasons for the crimes and that nobody else, either individually or collectively, can be blamed for the horrors carried out.

If we examine the events which have occurred in the last week or so it soon becomes obvious, except to the most obtuse, that there are indeed common threads which bind them altogether. The transparent reactions of many politicians and communal leaders will then be clearly identified.

The Sydney hostage drama is symptomatic of what is wrong. Here you had someone with a clear past and known to the authorities, roaming free with a legal gun license. His past pronouncements and associations should have raised warning flags. Despite all these lights flashing, apparently those who should have, did not heed the distinct possibility of inevitable terror. Even after the tragic consequences, politicians and communal leaders alike continue to claim that he was only a lone wolf and mentally disturbed. Now we learn that the police have arrested others who are planning terror in Australia. This week I saw a clip on Israel TV showing Australian youngsters being indoctrinated with jihadist poison and being trained for future action. Are these also just mentally ill lone wolves or are they part of something much bigger and more life threatening?

Now to France which seems to be the focus of many of these misnamed unbalanced lone wolves. In the space of a week or two there have been three car attacks on pedestrians where drivers have deliberately rammed their vehicles into crowds while shouting “Allah Al Akbar”. Within the last day two individuals fired bullets at a Paris Synagogue while shouting the same refrain. In addition there have been assaults on Jews in France also accompanied by the same Islamic mantra. Amazingly but not surprisingly the reaction of the French authorities has been to claim that these were not terror attacks but the actions of lone, mentally disturbed wolves.

We have witnessed the horrific carnage of Pakistani schoolchildren by presumably Taliban lone wolves, more outrages in Afghanistan and also unbelievable scenes in Nigeria by Boko Haram.

The common thread which binds all these events together is clear except to those who prefer to deny reality. Whether Islam is being perverted or not, the uncomfortable truth is that it is being used by all those whose sole aim is to carry out terror. Instead of a determined condemnation by religious leaders of all Faiths and politicians of all shades, combined with a resolute plan of action to thwart and defeat this evil, we are faced instead with platitudes of naivety.

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

The best example of how not to confront evil when it stares you in the face but to instead pick on a clearly peaceful minority comes from Sweden. The deputy speaker of the Swedish Parliament stated this past week that Jews in that country need to abandon their identity and Faith if they want to be considered true Swedes. With exquisite timing during the week in which Jews celebrated the victory over the Syrian Greeks who demanded that Jews in those days do exactly the same thing, this democratically elected politician apparently sees no irony in the fact that the country faces threats of terror from an entirely different quarter and that the threat to the lives of Jews in Malmo in particular has reached breaking point. Instead of dealing with the intimidation of Jews by presumably more lone wolves, this prominent MP prefers to demand that the tiny Jewish community repudiate its identity.

By now anyone who believes that “it can’t happen here” should be thoroughly disabused of this myth. Any politician or communal leader who continues to hide their heads in the sand should be sent a clear message to wake up, shape up or ship out.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.