Imagine your child coming home from summer camp. “What did you do in camp today, honey?” “We learned how to throw grenades, shoot AK-47s, and blow ourselves up in a fashion so as to kill as many civilians as possible.” Obviously and thankfully, such a dialogue would be unthinkable for us in the United States. Yet, horrifying though it may be, such summer recreational activities are de rigueur in many areas of North Africa and the Middle East, where terrorist camps managed by radical Islamists indoctrinate thousands upon thousands of children and train them to join the jihad of hate.
One of the greatest mistakes and fallacies of modern Western diplomacy vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict has been ignoring the nature of the conflict and the reality of culture. Get Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu together in a room for long enough, get them to agree on a framework for territorial shift, and peace will come to the Middle East. Or so the thinking went. Unfortunately, this thinking utterly lacked a factual basis.
The first fallacy was that the root of Mid-East turmoil was Israeli-Palestinian strife. Current events, such as al-Qaeda, the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS, and revolution and coups in Egypt and Turkey proved the fallacy of that particular paradigm. The second mistake was the assumption that the conflict could be solved through diplomacy. When the leader of the Palestinian terror group Hamas calls Osama bin Laden a “holy warrior” and condemns his assassination and when popular culture portrays Jews as pigs, donkeys, rats, and cockroaches in a manner that would make Julius Streicher proud, peace cannot be had through agreements between a few dozen diplomats. Likewise, many Western leaders are slow to realize that the broader battle against Radical Islam can only be won with a shift in radical Mid-Eastern culture. John Kerry can have all the meetings he likes with Iran and can even humiliate himself and the country he represents by flying four hundred million dollars cash to them as ransom, but until we insist that the constant anti-American propaganda and indoctrination cease, we will continue to be viewed as the “Great Satan” and Iran will continue to support anti-American terror. As the Egyptian ambassador to the US, Yasser Reda, pointed out in a recent op-ed, the international community must also fight the preachers and populizers of radical Islam, modern-day Joseph Goebbels who advocate religious violence and extremism.