Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue
Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue

Thought for the Week

Thought for the Week

Vayakel-Pekudei 5777 – Terror begets terror

Another week, another act of terror. We are shocked and revolted by the horrific scenes which took place outside the Houses of Parliament. After the mayhem unleashed in mainland Europe in recent years, terror has now reared its very ugly head in the heart of our city. We mourn the senseless loss of innocent life, and we pray for those gravely injured in this violence.

It wasn't lost on me the tragic irony that this attack occurred a day after the death of a leader of Sinn Fein - a party dedicated to violence and terror over many decades. It is well known that Irish Republican terror groups were sympathetic and closely aligned to Arab terrorist groups. They not only operated together in training and in procuring arms, they also climbed into the same ideological bed. The Irish Republican terrorists hated Jews and Israel as much as they hated the British.

That is the nature of terror. It begins with a supposed grievance and complaint, accompanied by legitimate protest. But that quickly morphs into angry violence. Two reasons for this development stand out:

Hate. What begins as resentment soon turns into hate. Hate is uncontrollable. It also fuels 'demands' for retribution. Once hate enters the lexicon, it's all over. Grievances are forgotten, they are just excuses. Hate which is irrational creates irrational behaviour = terror.

Which leads to the second cause: deluded governments. They believe in the grievance, and justify the terror it spurns, instead of working to eradicate it.

From the moment modern Israel was founded - and even before its establishment - violence against Jews and against Israel has been dismissed as the work of deprived and angry people - with grievances.

Instead of working towards reconciliation, the terrorist has enjoyed a degree of sympathy and understanding - completely undeserved. A government's sympathy is the terrorist's oxygen.

The leader of the IRA died this week. Alas, his legacy lives on. This week, striking right outside the seat of government. A government historically complicit in indirectly nurturing violence. How ironic.

RABBI MENDEL LEW