Friday, July 27, 2007

On the One Year Anniversary of the Seattle Jewish Federation Shooting

My reflections, written on the night of the fatal shootings, July 28th, 2006
May Pam Waechter's name and memory be forever blessed--'Yehi Zichra Baruch'

While it is still too early to fully assess the implications of the shooting at the Jewish Federation building in Seattle just hours before the onset of the Jewish Sabbath, some initial observations are in order. What happened on Friday was not an isolated hate crime, but is integrally connected to the larger dynamics currently playing out on the world stage, most notably the war that is raging in the Middle East today. In fact, the shooter, Naveed Afzal Haq, a 30 year-old Muslim-American from the tri-Cities area in central Washington, burst into the Federation, gun in hand, claiming he was upset “about what was going on in Israel” and opened fire, killing one woman and injuring five others, one seventeen weeks pregnant. Whatever we may come to learn in the coming days regarding his motivations and affiliations, it is no longer possible to ignore the fact that a battle is being waged today not just against Israel, but against the West, and just as Israel is the beachhead for this jihadist war in the Middle East, so are Jews around the world likely to find themselves increasingly at risk.
Only five days after The Seattle Jewish Federation and the Anti-Defamation League staged a rally in support of Israel, the Seattle Jewish community finds itself stunned by Friday’s attack. Last Sunday, close to 2,000 people banded together on a blisteringly hot day to show their solidarity with Israel, support her unassailable right to defend herself, demand that the international community not remain silent in the face of unprovoked aggression by Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north, and to pledge their continued efforts to work towards peace and freedom for all peoples in the Middle East. Indeed, the very mission of the Jewish Federation is to “ensure Jewish survival and enhance the quality of Jewish life locally, in Israel and worldwide”. How ironic that it is such an institution that is brutally attacked in broad daylight, signaling that Jewish life may well be under siege again.
Many will argue that today’s assault was an isolated incident, that the shooter was acting alone, and that it would be dangerous to draw any parallels to events in the Middle East and beyond. Yet it may prove increasingly difficult to divorce such incidents from the backdrop of the war currently being waged against Israel. The shooting came a day after the FBI had warned Jewish organizations nationwide to be on alert after Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon and, Al-Qaeda’s second in command, Al-Zawahri, urged followers to carry the war raging in the Middle East to the shores of America. Hamas and Hezbollah, the party of God, are both proxies of Iran; the latter using more and more sophisticated Iranian weaponry. Both organizations are united in their theology of genocide. The charters of both groups call for the destruction of Israel. President Ahmadinejad of Iran has declared his intention to “wipe Israel off the map” and called the Holocaust a “myth,” while his regime races to develop nuclear capabilities. Ahmadinejad has let the Jews the world over know that they are now legitimate targets of his wrath. Al-Zawahri has said that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants would not be ended with “ceasefires or agreements.” He said, “it is a jihad for the sake of Allah and will last until (our) religion prevails…from Spain to Iraq. We’ll attack everywhere.” And Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, has been quoted as saying “We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death.”
While the world watches the carnage in Israel, only to be appalled by the mounting civilian casualties in Lebanon, it should be remembered that it is the party of God, Hezbollah, that deliberately embeds itself among those civilians, from where it deliberately targets Israeli non-combatants on sovereign Israeli soil, with Iranian rockets penetrating deeper and deeper into Israel, a country the size of New Jersey. It’s high time for the international community to identify the aggressors, and to recognize that it is no longer just Israel and Jews that are in harm’s way. Just last week I wrote in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer “Israel today is the beachhead against radical, fundamentalist Islam, whose ultimate goal is the re-establishment of a worldwide Muslim Caliphate. Perhaps it’s not outlandish to think that in the not too distant future we may come to understand that ‘today we are all Israelis’.” The not too distant future is upon us, and we ignore its encroachment at our peril.
David Brumer

1 comment:

Lao Qiao said...

A year has passed, and the information has been forgotten, by and large. It was inadequately reported even when the news was fresh. For decades, anti-Zionists have been attacking and killing innocents--in Buenos Aires, in Tunisia--everywhere. The world has hardly noticed.