Robert Wistrich: Why Hamas bombed a university

From a speech by an authority on Islamic anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Today, blood and terror have stained our campus. Looking at the carnage around me inspires bitter thoughts about the Palestinian national movement with which we are at war. The masses in Gaza (who are not under direct Israeli occupation) seem to have been seized with a psychotic death-cult. Once more, they are out on the streets, clapping, singing and handing out sweets – just as they were when the Iraqi scuds rained down on Israel in 1991 and after the Twin Towers collapsed in New York last September.

Today, blood and terror have stained our campus. Looking at the carnage around me inspires bitter thoughts about the Palestinian national movement with which we are at war. The masses in Gaza (who are not under direct Israeli occupation) seem to have been seized with a psychotic death-cult. Once more, they are out on the streets, clapping, singing and handing out sweets – just as they were when the Iraqi scuds rained down on Israel in 1991 and after the Twin Towers collapsed in New York last September.

This madness is being subsidised by Saddam Hussein, by the Iranian ayatollahs, by "moderate" Saudi Princes and indirectly, by the Palestinian Authority's chief financial patron, the European Union – which never loses an opportunity to chastise Israel's efforts to protect its citizens.

The extraordinary thing about this harsh battle in which we are engaged is how little the outside world – with the partial exception of America – cares about the human rights of Israeli civilians. Few appear to grasp that this has become a war of survival for every one of us – for the right to walk down a street, to go to a shopping mall, to take a bus, to sit in a bar, a cafeteria a pizzeria, to go the cinema, the theatre, a disco or any other public place, to pray in a synagogue or to study on campus, without being blown to pieces by a homicidal bomber.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Hamas knew exactly what they were doing when they attacked the campus. As one British newspaper succinctly put it, the Hebrew University "exemplifies everything a violent bigot would hate". The Islamic fanatics were striking a blow against a potent symbol of reason, understanding, diversity, tolerance and the quest for peace.

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