In the last few months, there have been terrorist attacks in Israel and the rest of the world. One definition of a terrorist attack is a group of politically motivated people targeting civilians to further an agenda. While often not politically motivated, mass shootings also fall under the category of terror, since the targets are civilians.
No matter how you paint it, war is a horrible thing, and terrorism is a type of warfare. Each side perceives the other as being the “bad guy.” Those who abhor the intentional targeting of civilians consider themselves “right,” and everyone who violates this credo is “wrong.” In my opinion, and what I hope is the opinion of the world’s majority, the only thing that distinguishes humans from outright monsters is that we don’t target civilians. Assuming that one side is right and one side is wrong, the good guys should only be targeting the bad guys. These bad guys never make up 100 percent of a nation’s population. In fact, the true bad guys are usually part of the minority. It is they and they alone who should be targeted.
Unfortunately, civilian casualties are often inevitable. Even more so when the bad guys hide behind and embed themselves among civilians, using them as human shields. In that case it’s a matter of “good guy” militaries making sure they’re doing everything in their power to limit civilian casualties. This is something that I truly believe Israel excels at more than most, if not all, of the other nations of the world.
Recent events show that there is no place in the world that is truly safe and invulnerable to acts of terrorism. (Again, I’m also referring to school shootings, so America is certainly not immune to terrorism.) We are all part of a world community. I believe that most of us are “good guys.” When one of our fellow civilians is killed in an act of terror, we must stand united and speak out against the death of every civilian who is targeted and killed.
A few weeks ago, dozens of civilians were killed in a terrorist attack. They were going about normal, leisurely activities when their lives came to an end. Yes, what I’m describing sounds a lot like the attack in Paris that took place on Nov. 13, but that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m referring to the attack that took place in Beirut on Nov. 12, the day before the Paris attack, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a Beirut suburb, killing approximately 40 people.
After the attacks in Paris, the world shouted out how they stood by the country of France. Countless people posted the French flag on their Facebook profiles. Where was everyone the day before? Why was it not popular to post a Lebanese flag as one’s profile?
This contrast in the world’s selective support hit closer to home on Nov. 19, less than a week after the attack in Paris. There was yet another terrorist attack in Israel. This time one of the (civilian) victims was a fellow New Englander by the name of Ezra Schwartz. He was spending his gap year here after graduating from the same high school that my sister once attended.
After this attack, and after the many others that have taken place in Israel in the last few weeks, where was the world condemnation? Where were the Facebook posts of Israeli flags? (While not a sports fan, I’m proud that Robert Kraft, a supporter of Israel, and the New England Patriots showed a moment of silence after Ezra’s death.)
My point is that we among the nations of Earth cannot afford to be selective in our causes based on what is popular and trending. Support for France went viral a few weeks ago. Those civilian victims deserved the world outcry of support and mourning. But so do the victims of every terrorist attack that occurred before and after that.
Terrorism aimed at Israeli civilians is no more justified than terrorism anywhere else in the world, including in Beirut. It doesn’t matter what part of the world, nation or religion we belong to. Terrorism is terrorism, and all civilians are targets. We all must fight the bad guys together. That means we all need to stand together in support of one another. When one of us suffers, all of us suffer.
DANIEL STIEGLITZ (firstname.lastname@example.org), a Providence native, made aliyah in 2007. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from Bar Ilan University; is the director of staffing and recruitment at Sachlav/Israelonthehouse, a Birthright Israel trip organizer; is a certified Life Coach; does freelance content writing; and lives in Jerusalem. He has had two short stories published in FictionMagazines.com publications.