Tuesday, September 09, 2003

In this article, The Hidden Roots of 9/11, Robert Wistrich lays out the anti-semitic roots of Al Qaeda and argues that we ignore it them our peril.
The 11th of September was, of course, a blow against America and its symbolic citadels of power: Wall Street and the Pentagon. But the violent anti-Americanism which the mass murder expressed was also strongly colored by antisemitism, largely suppressed at the time by the Western media and downplayed ever since. Even in Israel there is insufficient awareness - despite the suicide bombings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad - of how closely linked terror, "holy war" and genocidal antisemitism have really become.

For Mohammed Atta, the Egyptian mastermind of 9/11, it was self-evident that the Jews control the global media, international finance and the politics of the infidel West. In his eyes, they were to blame for the American crusade against Saddam Hussein, the Russian war in Chechnya, the world-wide assault on Islam, permissive morals and decadent "Westernization" in his native Egypt. The dream of Atta and many other Islamists was to create a Muslim theocracy from the Nile to the Euphrates, "liberated" from any Jewish presence. To achieve this goal, the Al-Qaida fanatics based in Hamburg struck at New York City, the "center of world Jewry" and the "Jewish-controlled" international financial system. In this ideological sense, they showed themselves to be direct heirs of Hitler and his genocidal mind-set. The failure of so many people, including Americans, Jews and Israelis, to grasp this crucial fact about the motivations for 9/11 is a stunning example of how little has been learned from history.

Anyone who has read bin Laden's diatribes against the "Jews and Crusaders," which he outlined several years before 9/11/01, knows that for him (as for Hamas and Islamic Jihad) anti-semitism is key to his ideology.

Last night when President Bush spoke, I found it troubling that he referred to Iraq as the "the central front" in the war against terrorism. Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Iraq is currently the location where terrorists of all kinds can most easily strike at American troops, UN aid workers, and ordinary Iraqis -- but it's not the source of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups. I think we are deluding ourselves if we think that bringing peace and prosperity to Iraq will stop anti-US terrorism. It is a very worthwhile goal in its own right, and I am still very glad that we overthrew Saddam Hussein, but rebuilding Iraq is not the same thing as fighting Al Qaeda.

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