Almost every day at Jihad Watch I chronicle yet another incident of jihadist mass-murder: jihadists kill sixteen with suicide bomb outside a church, jihadists kill ten with a bomb at a hospital, and on and on. So many murders, so many dead, and in virtually all the news stories about each jihad attack, the only thing we’re told about the victims is their number.
“The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic,” goes the old adage often wrongly attributed to Joseph Stalin, and it’s true: it is all too easy to forget that behind the each one of the huge numbers of victims of the jihad today is a human story, an individual with a life, with loves, with plans, with hopes.
But it is essential that we not forget this, for our own sake – for the sake of our resolve in continuing to fight against the global jihad and Islamic supremacism. It is essential that we not allow ourselves to become desensitized to the human cost of this great struggle for freedom. It is essential that we realize the full magnitude of what the jihadists are taking from us: the lives they are destroying, and the emotional devastation they are leaving in their wake: the burdens they’re placing on people who are not combatants, who never expected to find themselves in the middle of a war, and who are being let down on a massive scale by those who have sworn to protect them.
That is what is so valuable about Italian journalist Giulio Meotti’s A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism. Israel has lost 1,500 people to the Second Intifada over the last ten years – the equivalent of about 54,000 victims of jihad terror in the United States. Islamic jihadists have murdered them on buses, in restaurants, at synagogues, and anywhere else they could. Meotti interviewed dozens of the victims’ families and survivors of jihad attacks, and introduces us to a few of the ordinary and extraordinary people whose lives were cut short by those attacks. He brings them back from the realm of “statistic” to that of “tragedy,” and in the process, reminds us of the real reasons why we fight, why we resist the Islamic jihad against Israel and the West, why the U.S. must stand with Israel, and why we must prevail.
Meotti’s profiles of Israeli victims of jihad terror are impossible to read without being overcome by sadness at the tragic waste of it all, and anger at the West’s faltering in the face of this monstrous evil. We meet – to take just one example — Carmit Ron, the only member of her family to survive a jihadist suicide bombing that murdered fifteen people at the Matza restaurant in Haifa during the Passover holiday on March 31, 2002. She says of her children, “I continue to believe that I’m about to wake up from a nightmare, that I’ll go to check and find all three of them sleeping in their beds. But it doesn’t happen. And I’m the one who has to go on living. I don’t know why, but I feel that somehow I owe it to them, to Aviel, to Anat, to Ofer. And I will go on.”
Yet as she does go on, the jihadists do as well, and it is still an open question as to whether the U.S. and Europe will summon the courage and clarity of vision necessary to defend themselves and stand with Israel against their efforts to end ever more lives in full flower. The propaganda aspect of the jihad can be as devastating in the long run as acts of terror themselves, for they rob us of the will to resist, the will we need to stand up and defend our civilization and culture before it is too late. Yet the Palestinians continue to wage their propaganda jihad virtually unopposed.
“The history of Israel,” writes Meotti, “has been buried under a mound of falsehood.” After detailing many of the Israeli attempts to forge a lasting peace with its Arab Muslim neighbors, he concludes that all of Israel’s leaders “have repeated the word that Israel’s neighbors never say: peace.” The people he profiles in A New Shoah have given their lives for Israel – a role in history that most or all of them never expected or intended to play. It is up to us who have survived them to work to ensure that they have not died in vain.