The Middle East Media Sampler 7/19/2012 Implications Of Terrorist Bomb In Bulgarian
1) Viva la deference
In deference to Turkey, the United States neither invited Israel to the Global Counterterrorism Forum nor listed Israel as a country suffering from terrorism. (h/t Noah Pollak)
In deference to the sensibilities of Arab nations there will be no moment of silence at the London Olympic Games later this summer to memorialize the Israeli athletes killed at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Despite these instances of deference Israel continues to be targeted by terror.
Yesterday it was a tourist bus in Burga, Bulgaria. Shortly after they arrived from Israel, the bomber attacked a group of tourists boarding a bus. (Burga is a resort on the Black Sea and is about 60 miles from the border of Turkey. It will be interesting to see if proximity to Turkey played a role in this attack.)
The Washington Post reported At least 7 killed in Bulgaria in blast on bus carrying Israeli tourists:
The blast occurred in the late afternoon outside the airport in Burgas shortly after a charter flight carrying 154 people, all but three of them Israeli citizens, arrived from Tel Aviv, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said. Israeli and Bulgarian media reported that the travelers had boarded buses that were to take them to a hotel, and the Bulgarian interior minister told Bulgarian radio that explosives had been planted on the vehicle, perhaps in passengers’ luggage. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was “working on the theory that this was a terrorist attack.”
The attack threatened to escalate tensions between Israel and Iran at a time when Israel is proposing military action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and international efforts to stop the Iranians’ alleged program are faltering.
The blast came five months after Israel blamed Iran for twin bombing attempts targeting Israeli Embassy personnel in India and Georgia, and it fell on the 18th anniversary of a suicide bombing at a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires. That attack, carried out by the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah, killed 85 people.
Similarly, the New York Times reported Suicide Attacker With Fake U.S. ID Blamed in Bus Bomb:
No group claimed responsibility for the blast but if the Israeli accusations are confirmed, the blast would be the first successful attempt by Iranian operatives to kill Israelis in attacks abroad after a string of failed bomb plots targeting Israeli diplomats in Georgia, India and Thailand this year.
Even without such confirmation, the Bulgarian explosion escalated the tensions between Israel and Iran that are already high because of the Iranian nuclear energy program, which Israel has called a guise for Iran to develop nuclear weapons despite Tehran’s repeated denials.
The explosion came only a few days after a suspected operative of Hezbollah was arrested in Cyprus on suspicion of plotting to kill Israeli tourists there.
The charges, to which the New York Times referred, were made by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who charged Hezbollah working for the Iran's Revolutionary Guards as the organization behind the attack.
At the end of the article the New York Times quotes Trita Parsi, who is an apologist for the regime in Iran.
But others gave credence to Mr. Netanyahu’s suspicions, including some Iranian experts who have criticized his policies toward Iran. “Though no evidence has been presented, he may not be wrong. The government in Tehran is a very likely suspect,” said Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council, in a column published by The Daily Beast Web site.
Having failed to carry out bombings of harder Israeli targets like diplomats, Mr. Parsi wrote, “it appears that Tehran has shifted its focus to softer targets.
Targeting unwitting tourists is much easier than security-conscious officials. If this is the case, the ongoing dirty war between Israel and Iran may be getting out of control.”
(It appears that a later version of this article have removed this reference to Parsi. I found the reference again using this search.)
However, if you read the article at Open Zion, Parsi's argument is exceedingly cynical. He's arguing that if the attack was indeed the responsibility of Iran or its proxies, it will give Israel the pretext it needs to attack Iran and plunge the world into war.
Since there's evidence that Iran or its agents have been planning or carrying out attacks against Israeli interests internationally, there's no reason to attach significance that yesterday's attack in Bulgaria had anything to do with the attack on Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, eighteen years ago. However Michael Rubin madesome important observations related to the 1994 attack.
Remember those - especially the first one - when reading news reports about yesterday's terror attack in Bulgaria.
- While Iran’s apologists say that Tehran’s problem with Israel is political, and isn’t motivated by religious hatred, the bombing in Buenos Aires targeted not the Israel embassy (which Iran had bombed two years earlier) but rather the Jewish cultural center. The target was not political; it was religious.
- No Iranian authority, be they hardliner or reformer, has ever apologized for Iran’s role in hostage-taking or terrorism. That Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter embrace former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami as a genuine believer in Dialogue of Civilizations is shameful. Khatami is, to this day, an apologist for terrorism.
- Iran remains a terror sponsor of global reach; no amount of dialogue during the past two decades has changed that. Perhaps the problem isn’t a regime grievance, but the regime itself.
2) Mainstreaming antisemitism
For years I'd read articles about Palestinian terror that stated or implied, "we don't agree with the methods but we understand their grievance." The PLO (and later iterations) might be seeking (or at least hoping) to destroy Israel, but that intent didn't register. Western minds couldn't comprehend such hatred, so they rationalized terror as an overreaction to a legitimate grievance. If only Israel would be reasonable - this line of thinking went - this hatred would disappear and the terrorism would stop.
Of course since 1993, Israel has ceded territory to its enemies so that over 90% of Palestinians live under the Palestinian Authority or Hamas and is fully withdrawn from southern Lebanon, but the vilification of Israel continues.
As things stand now, those who still insist on finding Israel primarily responsible for the lack of peace in the Middle East, have gotten further and further unrealistic. Israel Matzav recently observed that a writer at the Atlantic criticized Peter Beinart's Open Zion for including a writer from MondoWeiss. Israel Matzav concludes:
We call them Jewish anti-Semites. There are no worse anti-Semites around. You can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps. Peter Beinart keeps company with the people who write Mondoweiss. Decide for yourselves what that means.
Open Zion is a section of The Daily Beast, which used to be Newsweek. Should it be shocking that what was once a mainstream publication traffics in such vile nonsense? The Daily Beast as Elder of Ziyon notes in The mainstreaming of anti-semitism: Salon partners with Mondoweiss:
Salon is one of the biggest mainstream webzines. It is outrageous that Salon is not being slammed by its own readers and supporters to immediately reverse this sickening decision.
If there is anything funny about this - and this is not funny - it is that Salon's embrace of Mondoweiss directly disproves Mondoweiss' own major theme that Zionist Jews do not allow any divergent opinions to be heard in the US.
Liberals who purport to hear racist "dog whistles" in criticisms of President Obama are mostly silent about these much more overt expressions of irrational hate.
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