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.





12 Responses to “Warning lights flashing…writes Michael Kuttner”
  1. Eleonora Mostert says:

    There are plenty of us who have the guts to call a spade a spake. Then you have the likes of Andrew O’Keefe call you a bigot etc. etc. But stubborn little old ladies just keep on at it.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    I, too, was more than annoyed by the bland neutralising of the origins behind the Martin Place siege, everybody from the various broadcaster spokespeople and the so-called academic Terrorist experts giving their opinions, to the Prime Minister of Australia, defending Islam in one breath while pushing the mad lone wolf on the other. I do agree that it’s both ridiculous and dangerous as a response. We need to talk about it as it is, an ideologically driven war that uses religion to fuel its purpose. However, there is one aspect Michael didn’t mention in his article, and that is the need to do everything possible to protect Muslim Australians who are not caught up in this scenario, while reporting or commenting on it. Already in Sydney and Brisbane there had been Muslim women attacked verbally and physically in public, their head-dress denoting their religion, after the earlier police raids in those cities, well before the Martin Place siege. This would have been in the mind of Tony Abbott as he spoke, as indeed would the Cronulla riots of a few years ago. You can’t end up with civil rioting on both sides – government has to take that into account. Nobody ever said it couldn’t happen in Australia. It’s a ridiculous stereotype concocted from other places far away, to create an image of an isolated paradise that doesn’t exist. People are people anywhere. We have crime, drug and alcohol problems, all the dysfunctional problems of any society, and many people dying from the savage vagaries of our weather, fire and flood, year in, year out. Our society has a violent underbelly and we have political and corporate corruption in commensurate doses.

    YES, WE MUST SAY IT HOW IT IS, but we must learn how to speak eloquently enough to prevent attacks on innocent people at the same time. As Jews, we of all people, surely understand this. I find it hard to erase from my mind’s eye the television image of the older Arab mother and father in Sydney, fighting tears and full of utter desolation, when speaking of their four sons who had tricked them by saying they were going on a holiday together and ended in Syria to join the IS cause: ‘My babies, my babies …,’ the mother said and turned away. I am not a sentimentalist and I consider myself a sort of private media watchdog on the look out for anti-Semitism and injustice, so I’m continually close-reading reportage and articles, and I could feel the harsh gravity of the situation – it was not melodramatic, it was underplayed if anything – the parents had lost their children, all four of them. These and many others are not the kinds of people who should be singled out for hate or retribution. All kinds of people are losing their children to this burgeoning poison, this barbaric vendetta. And we must fight it. We can only fight it with truth and eloquence. Our media and government needs to up the ante with this one.

  3. Hugh Dalton says:

    Michael Kuttner’s column helped me recall these words of Henry Kissinger ( made in relation to foreign policy) …” a practical accommodation to reality, not a moral insight is required.” How apposite for the problem of terrorism and Australia.

  4. Efrem Manassey says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Michael.
    Your article is a breath of fresh air that dispels the currant fog of denial that hangs over the Martin Place terrorist murders.
    ‘Lone wolf’? Even basic logic tells me that people always find like minded people to justify and amplify their ideas. You can bet the Man Haran Monis murderer did the same for years. How many Jihadis did he confer – or plan – with over the years? There is certainly at least enablement of his crimes by others, if not outright collusion. I bet Australian Federal Police and associated services are looking closely at everyone this monster has ever met. Why should they do this if he was a lone wolf?
    ‘Mentally ill?’ I have worked and associated for many years with people who have been diagnosed which many forms of mental illness. Some of these fellow human beings have had profoundly serious mental/emotional illnesses such as PTSD, schizophrenia and Bipolar disorders. Though major crimes are committed by many types of people, I have never met one person who has conceived, planned an executed a murder, let alone a Jihadist terrorist murder, in decades of association with mental illness.
    Hence I can only conclude that the distinguishing factor here is that we are beset by an evil ideology that hates us and strives to take life at any opportunity anywhere it can. Comparatively the biggest sorce of terror does come out of Islam. And if there is a lethal problem, we must not flinch. We must look at it and name it – whether this is politically correct or not – before we can begin to defeat it.
    Thank you Michael for doing just that. I hope you somehow get published in the major newspapers. People need to hear what you have to say.

  5. Otto Waldmann says:

    Since we ( at least those who posted here their comments ) are now, at long last, accepting that events such as the recent Sydney tragedy are not the works of a “lone” , ideologically, communally unrelated, activist cum terrorist, it should also be considered seriously that a state of easily identified conflict is fermenting under the fragile cover of a safe, balanced society. This boil is about to be lanced in specific places – suburbs controlled by muslims – at the drop of the “right” signal.
    Dealing with the problem of an inevitable show off is compounded precisely by the duplicitous character of the most persuasive, most influential islamic leaders.
    Tactics employed by those responsible for manipulating a serious majority of loyal jihadists have been apparent in an open manner during recent events in Sydney. Case in question: after the 2112 violent demonstrations in Sydney in relation to a film allegedly offensive to islam, note, NOT to extremist islamic ideologies, the demonstrators threatened to repeat with greater force the demonstration the next day, in the same place.
    State authorities have had “words” with the organisers and the planned demonstration did not take place. In addition the muslim leaders responsible for the initial demonstration started making public statements in which they….. denounced both the ugly turn the demonstration took on the side of their own people as well as accusing Police of the manner in which they handled the control of the demonstration. The most important fact is that the muslim leaders accepted at once not to put on display once again their “feelings”. A change of substantive attitude or a change of tactics on behalf of an unchanged “philosophy” !!!

    It must be accepted that Monis acted completely alone simply because we do not have any evidence that anyone else was directly involved in the events at Martin Place. The most important issue is, however, whether that kind of action can be expected again, REGARDLESS of how many terrorists would be involved in ANY capacity. To this, a sensible mind can only reply in a terrifying positive. The chief common denominator to such a possible threat is the common ideologica/spiritual factor that has been so far determining ALL such acts of violent destabilisation of a society NOT YET ruled by sharia.
    Since the Koran does not delegate/empower ONLY its “extremist” followers to install its rule THROUGHOUT, guess how many can be held suspected !!!
    The most worrying FACT is that islamic terrorists do not even need to resort to actual criminal acts… Sweden is the best example of another tactic working “miraculously” well in its favour, by stealth and by commission.
    Real political correctness is the act of addressing in concrete terms anything detected as capable of acting against fundamental principles of our society. To be fair, one can tolerate a certain rhetoric as long as drastic concrete measures are taken to arrest (sic) the imminent and real danger.
    To this extent I, for one, have full trust in our political leadership, particularly after the current tragic events in Sydney.
    What I would also like to see, BUT I DO NOT SEE, is at least ONE single so called Jewish leader is coming out and stating the we, the Jews of Australia, are, BY FAR, the MOST threatened, the ones in the FIRST firing line of such a real threat. This is NOT the time to hold hands in some masquarade of harmonious non-sense with those who should be put on notice that they are not leading their own community according to that bloody “harmony”. The chorus of objections by the entire so called “moderate” islamic leaders against the normal principle of “Team Australia” evinced so visibly the duplicitous nature of the local muslim leaders.

  6. Gordon Buchalter says:

    Good article from Michael Kuttner. In my view, we need more of these. We need to say it like it is – “Correct” and not “politically correct.” Here is another one, below. We need to turn up the volume. Indeed, these warning lights were seen several years ago.They are now sirens going off. Very loudly. There are some who say it is already too late. We need to dispense with insipid rhetoric immediately and move on to the real issues and call that spade a spade. The longer we wait, the greater this already enormous task will become,for us and for future generations.Our small children are not capable of dealing with this now. Our parents dispensed with Hitler. What are we going to say, when our kids come of age and ask us “Why did you drop the ball?”

    Democracy is shooting itself in the foot. Appeasement, political correctness, naivete and denial are being harnessed against western values and we are kicking the ball into our own goal.

    The Israeli soldier on the front line, was omitted from the article below, but never the less, a good read.

    Thought you might like to read this letter to the editor of a British national newspaper. Ever notice how some people just seem to know how to write a letter?
    Here is a woman who should run for Prime Minister!

    Written by a British housewife to her daily newspaper:

    ‘Are we fighting a war on terror or aren’t we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores in July 2002, and in New York Sept 11, 2001 and have continually threatened to do so since?

    Were people from all over the world, not brutally murdered that day in Washington , and in downtown Manhattan , and in a field in Pennsylvania ?

    Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning or crushing death that day, or didn’t they?

    And I’m supposed to care that a few Taliban were claiming to be tortured by a justice system of the nation they come from and are fighting against in a brutal insurgency.

    I’ll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere belief of which is a crime punishable by beheading in Afghanistan .

    I’ll care when these thugs tell the world they are sorry for hacking off Nick Berg’s head while Berg screamed through his gurgling slashed throat.

    I’ll care when the cowardly so-called ‘insurgents’ in Afghanistan come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques and behind women and children.

    I’ll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of Nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.

    I’ll care when the British media stops pretending that their freedom of speech on stories is more important than the lives of the soldiers on the ground or their families waiting at home to hear about them when something happens.

    In the meantime, when I hear a story about a British soldier roughing up an Insurgent terrorist to obtain information, know this:

    I don’t care.

    When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take this to the bank:

    I don’t care.

    When I hear that a prisoner – who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and ‘fed special food’ that is paid for by my taxes – is complaining that his holy book is being ‘mishandled,’ you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts:

    I don’t care.

    And oh, by the way, I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s spelled ‘Koran’ and other times ‘Quran..’ Well, believe me!! you guessed it ………….

    I don’t care!!

    If you agree with this viewpoint, pass this on to all your E-mail friends. Sooner or later, it’ll get to the people responsible for this ridiculous behaviour!

    If you don’t agree, then by all means hit the delete button. Should you choose the latter, then please don’t complain when more atrocities committed by radical Muslims happen here in our great country! And may I add:

    ‘Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. Our soldiers don’t have that problem.’

    I have another quote that I would like to add, AND…….. I hope you forward all this.

    Only seven defining forces have ever offered to die for you:

    1. Jesus Christ

    2. The British Soldier.

    3. The Canadian Soldier.

    4. The US Soldier

    5. The New Zealand Soldier

    6. The Australian Soldier, and

    7.The South African Soldier

    One died for your soul, the other 6 for your freedom.



    Isn’t it interesting that so many people in the Western World feel this way, but not one of our politicians, who are supposed to represent us, ever have the guts to state the situation like it is?

    We do not have strong politicians, just weaklings that bend in the wind.

  7. Paul Winter says:

    We really do need to believe that Man Haron Monis was acting alone and that he was insane. If we question that belief, then we are required to think many politically incorrect thoughts, such as that in a letter in this week’s AJN; the mohammedan community which loudly and publicly dissociated itself from Monis’ terror was dead silent about anti-Jewish comments during the recent Gaza operation.

    Moreover, if we do not accept the insane lone wolf argument then we would have to:
    * suspect all mohammedans who do not denounce the violent aspects of islam
    * abandon the idea that islam is a religion of peace
    * demand legislation to restrict the freedoms of any group that uses our open society to threaten our freedoms
    * demand that laws against violence and treason be enforced everywhere and especially in Israel, at the same time as special privileges to mohammedans be denied
    * demand that politicians and communal leaders accept that multiculturalism has been killed by jihadis as surely as they killed the two state solution

    Will our society accept Michael’s insights? Will our leaders act to protect our democratic Western societies? Not any time soon. Dealing with comfortable delusions is so much easier.

    • Raymond Phillips says:

      It does not change the facts whether this low life had a licence or not.
      If he had a licence the question should be asked.
      Why did he have a licence?

  8. JJS says:

    No Michael, he did not have a ” legal gun license” .

  9. George Foster says:

    One correction – we now know that the Sydney terrorist did not have a gun licence. However this does not change the gist of the article. These terrorists are not mentally ill in the clinical sense but have an unshakeable ideological belief which leads them to their terrorist actions. Those with a serious mental illness do not have the capacity to plan such complex actions nor be able to change their behaviour in the face of the fluid circumstances of a hostage scenario. I agree that we need to be more forthright in our approach.

  10. Raymond Phillips says:

    I for one certainly did not believe gunman Man Haron Monis was working alone. Others in the muslim community must have known what this evil excuse for a human being was about to commit. The muslim community doesn’t see itself as part of the Australian culture so their networks would be working overtime. As has been seen in the last couple of days the Australian Police and security forces carrying out house raids.

  11. Michelle Coleman says:

    Someone finally has the guts to call a spade a spade! Thank you, Michael.

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