Get PJ Media on your Apple

Spengler

[Dr. Anna Geifman teaches history at Bar-Illan University. She moved to Israel in 2007 after a distinguished career at Boston University. In 2010 she published the definitive modern history of Bolshevik terrorism, Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia. I reviewed it when it appeared and have had the privilege to consult Dr. Geifman from time to time since then. I'm honored to present her analysis of the murder of the three Israeli boys as a guest post].

In blessed memory of  Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, HY”D

Acts of terror against the young are the unadvertised “latest trend” in global political violence.  For the first time since the Holocaust, slaying children has turned into a modus operandi.  Since 9/11, they are terrorists’ preferred targets.

Terrorists are nihilists par excellence:  they strike at the foundation of the mainstream culture, seeking to wipe out its pivotal symbols and meanings.  In the new millennium, amid a raging sea of conflicting concepts, pluralistic connotations, confusing priorities, habitual skepticism, intellectual and ethical relativism, perhaps our only enduring value is concern for children.  Whatever else we believe, we believe unconditionally in securing the  welfare, health, and security of children. No sane person will claim that while it is not nice to hurt children, there is another side to the argument.  Today, children are the last consecrated absolute.  For its part, militant nihilism strives to ruin first and foremost what their contemporaries hold sacred.

Episodes of child-directed violence occurred as early as May 1970 in Israel, when thirty-four children were killed and wounded in the Avivim school bus massacre.  In May 1974 hostage-takers in Ma’alot detonated hand grenades and sprayed high school students with machine-gun fire.  In April 1980, terrorists took hold of the nursery in kibbutz Misgav Am, killed an infant and injured four children.  In July of that year, in Antwerp, Belgium, a Fatah member cast hand grenades into a group of Jewish schoolchildren at a bus stop.

After the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, casualties among the Israeli young multiplied.  In a single episode in June 2001, twenty-one teenagers lost their lives in the “Delphinarium” discotheque in Tel Aviv. By mid-2002, child-targeting become systematic: a bomb explosion in Jerusalem next to a group of women with baby carriages (March 2); the bombing of a discotheque in Tel Aviv (May 24); children killed in a Petah Tikva ice cream parlor (May 27).

When zoomed-in on selected Israeli localities, the picture becomes grim indeed.  In Itamar, a gunman shot to death two students playing basketball outside the Hitzim school and then killed three more teenagers inside in May 2002. About a month later, two militants broke into the home of the Shabo family, killed the mother and her children, ages fifteen, twelve, and five, and severely wounded a ten- and a thirteen–year olds.  In another month, a terrorist broke into another private home, stabbed the husband and wife and them ran his knife through the empty beds of their eight children, away with grandparents. The March 2011 the Fogel family was slaughtered:  along with their parents, stabbed to death was a boy of eleven, his four-year old brother, and their three-month old sister; at the trial, terrorists regretted not to have noticed two other sleeping children

Itamar is a settlement, where “Jewish fanatics” are said to “provoke victimized Arabs” to kill children in the response to occupation.  But Sderot is not a disputed terroritory.  “A present for the start of the new school year,” the Islamic Jihad website flaunted first of their September 2007 missile strikes, which sent twelve Sderot kindergarteners to the hospital to be treated for shock.[i]  Terrorists send 3,200 Qassam rockets against this Israeli town in 2008.[ii]  Residents reported that the shelling intensified when children were on their way to and from classes.

Attacks on schools and yeshivas in Israel reached their peak with the massacre at Merkaz HaRav in Jerusalem in March 2008.  All but one of the children had just gotten off a yellow school bus in Sa’ad on April 7, 2011 when a targeted missile hit, mortally wounding the remaining boy.  On March 19 the following year, a self-styled Al-Qaeda operative opened fire in a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.

“If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start loving them? Of course not. . . . They are enemies not because they occupied Palestine,” some Islamist clerics admit openly and urge:  we will “annihilate them, until not a single Jew remains on the face of the Earth.”[iii]  It is as if the Biblical Amalek has finally broken portentous silence to speak his mind about the annihilation of Israel–his raison d’être.  According to the tradition, Amalek attacks from the rear, slaying the least protected, especially children.  Yet, while Amalek’s hate is for Israel alone, his accomplices today do not spare any children.

Muslim children are among their first victims.  In Iraq they are assaulted in school buildings and on playgrounds—in Baghdad, Ramadi, Tuz Khurmato, and Ba’qubah  (July 13, 2005, December 3, 2006; January 28, 2007, October 12, 2007, January 22, 2008, and December 7, 2009), to list a few cases.  On May 6, 2007 the Islamists bombed a UN-run elementary school in the Gaza refugee camp of Rafah during a sports festival, which the extremists had declared un-Islamic.  A suicide car school bombing on December 28, 2008 in Khost, Afghanistan, was one of 1,153 Taliban acts against young students in two preceding years—via shootings, torture, acid, arson, grenades, mines, and rockets.[iv]  Boko Haram of Nigeria has been targeting schools since 2010.  Thousands of children have been unable to attend classes as a result; hundreds have been killed to confirm the Jihadists’ stand against westernized education.  More than 200 girls kidnapped on the night of 14-15 April, 2014 are still missing:  Boko Haram terrorists oppose female education; in the past, they have used abducted schoolgirls as sex slaves.[v]

When Thailand Muslim militants assailed a school bus in Ratchaburi province in June 2002, no one saw the atrocity as a sign of a new trend.  Yet, in the decade that followed targeting children turned into a tactic that crossed all geographical and ideological lines.  On July 2011 a self-styled “crusader” against European leftists and Muslims killed 69 people in a shooting spree in the Norwegian youth summer camp on Utøya island; 50 victims were 18-years old and younger.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
"Terrorists repeatedly declare that they 'love Death' and love it as much as others love life."

The FLIR footage of them trying to outrun 30 mm cannon shells from Apache helicopters sort of belies that notion. They love OTHERS' death.

Their own? Not such big fans.

Hopefully when we have a president again we can start introducing these guys to Satan on a mass scale.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
"cast the mote from thine own eye"

This article fails to deal adequately with this subject. The western bias caused by our own barbaric practice of abortion where we sacrifice millions of our own children on the altar of sexual freedom prevents the author from clearly understanding this subject. As a female academic it would be career threatening to mention that we in the west practice our own form of child immolation to Moloch, only our Moloch is the right to pursue our own sexual lust and disregard the offspring we might accidentally create. (Feminism is really just the vehicle whereby women are convinced to destroy their own and submit to men.)
Child killing can clearly take two forms. The first type is those who wish to manipulate God to grant them something, and so their killing of children is seen as unsinful being in service to a God they wish to gain from, and those who sacrifice to Moloch in all its forms are of this type. The second is those who see themselves as God and render the power of death over others and children to themselves in order to destroy those who represent rivals to their power. Pharoah was this type, and Herod and Hitler.
Islamic terrorism is has elements of both, as they try see Judaism as a rival belief and wish to destroy it, and are willing to sacrifice their own children as well to their God in order to destroy their enemy. Perhaps that is why it is so virulent.
Western abortion is also a combination of both as the unborn are sacrificed to careers and sexual freedom, and the sin is absolved and negated by atheist ideologies which place man in a Godlike position in creation by denying the existence of God. Perhaps that is why it is so widespread and destructive.
Still it is possible to see why progressive western atheist types have problems in dealing with the widespread evil which abounds, they are in denial themselves.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for the very lucid column.

What I find strange is that the word "evil" does not appear in this discussion.

16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (69)
All Comments   (69)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
" Why Do Terrorists Target Children? "
Because their "god" told them to.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I could also add to this that there is little difference between targeting children in terrorist acts and encouraging peoples in third world countries to abort their own children with coercive government policies.

They are killing children to destroy their enemy and justify it in religious terms, we are killing the children of our enemy and justify it in population policy concerns and climate apocalypticism. The interesting thing is they scream they hate us and attack us, while we when killing the babies of others in third world countries claim we are doing it to help them and help the world. We pose as goodness itself while plotting to do away with their children, often using third parties such as the UN.

Surely it is obvious we do all kinds of evil in the world but justify it with fantasies in which we always playact the saint and hero, or should I say the concerned scientist trying to save the world. We are not as pure as we imagine, and our imagined purity is based on a superficial desire to appear virtuous in our own eyes and that of our neigbour.

We think we have a clear conception of good and evil, but it is simply moral preening. In the atheistic west nothing is truly sinful otherwise we would have died of shame these last 50 odd years.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is basically no difference between a mother strapping a suicide vest on her son in the service of Allah and a mother who aborts her child because it interfers with her career prospects.

Both are sacrifices to an ideal for something in this world, in one case the killing of my enemy and in the other enriching ourselves; possibly the highest moral good in the contemporary west.

150 years ago we could have dealt with this evil, we had the moral platform sitting on a Christian foundation to declare it evil and fight it. No more. We simply watch dumbfounded and outraged and busy ourselves with relativistic moral posturing in which we playact the hero and saint.

A people who have destroyed the notion of sin, and learned to tolerate all kinds of evil and decadent behaviour seem to value their own high opinion of themselves above all things. It may even be that we are also a cause of these atrocities; after all we tolerate this evil, is it so farfetched to conclude we tolerate it to feed the fires of our own imagined moral superiority!
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's what makes it even better, he made the point with one hand behind his back. People here are missing the point - this argument is pitched towards those that refuse to acknowledge that evil....... IS, and that muslims think differently than we do........
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is in reply to Sherab's comment at the bottom of the page - "What I find strange is that the word "evil" does not appear in this discussion." ........

There are too many comment boxes, and they don't go where you think they should......'>>......
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Abr Bakr, the first rightly guided caliph, warned the Persian commander, Khosru, that his army loved death as the Persians loved life. That made the love of death Islamic doctrine. Islamic terrorists are fond of quoting Abu Bakr.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>Episodes of child-directed violence occurred as early as May 1970

Though Spengler is understandably focused on Israel and the Middle East, don't forget the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four little kids.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Athough awful, I respectfully suggest that children were not specifically targeted in Birmingham in the same way an attack upon a school bus or school is. Beslan is I fear soon to become the standard and not the exception.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Terrorists repeatedly declare that they “love Death” and love it as much as others love life."


This famous boast is not a generically terrorist mantra. It is Islamic. It was in a letter that Mohammed's generals, shortly after the death of Mohammed, sent to Persia demanding Persian surrender or submission. They were instructed to submit "or a people will fall upon you who love death more than you love life."
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Would you be willing to extend your thesis about the killers of children being nihilists to the killing of UNBORN children? America alone has since 1973 possibly killed more unborn children, veritably the least among us, than people died in WW II. I suggest that nihilism is not the motive here in the rich West, rather selfishness, i.e., hey, man, life is great and, well, oh oh, my contraceptive did not work last night or last month, and, well, that damn thing now occuppying my reproductive organs must go. Then love (sic) can go on and on until ..., well, the species' non-reproduction (about which you speak in your book "How Civilizations Die") catches up with us humans and, by sufficiently killing the weakest, the unborn, we kill the species. What do you think?
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
"No sane person will claim that while it is not nice to hurt children, there is another side to the argument.”

Yesterday’s insanity is the new normal. Should someone make that argument, it would be praised as transgressive.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is only one relevant motivation for terrorists: They love to kill.

There is only one relevant solution to terrorism: Kill them first.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 Next View All