20 November 2003
The deplorable bombings of the British consulate and HSBC bank in Istanbul today come on the heels of the bombings of two synagogues there on Saturday. Dozens of innocent people have been murdered, and hundreds wounded. These acts are a wake-up call.
The connection between terror against Jews at prayer in one instance, and against leading representatives of the Western world in another is patently clear. The forces that oppose democracy, tolerance, and Western civilization are the same forces that profess a violent, murderous antisemitism.
In the not-too-distant past, the treatment of the Jews was a litmus test for the morality of a civilization. Just as the Nazi assault on Jews spearheaded an attack on the very foundations of Western society, this twin set of bombings expose the terror-antisemitism nexus that threatens the world.
As with many previous attacks against Jews and the West (some ‘successful’ and some thwarted), al-Qaeda and related terror organizations have declared responsibility for the carnage. In this day and age, when someone says he/she wants to kill Jews, we can no longer ignore or dismiss it. Neither can we ignore the viciously lethal pronouncements and acts of those who consider themselves the sworn enemies of Western civilization.
Sixty years ago, weak and delayed responses to unfolding radical evil left the way open to the near destruction of an entire people - and with it, the world as we know it. Yad Vashem calls on the enlightened nations of the world to act now, before it is too late. Words are not enough. Decisive action is urgent. These groups must not acquire weapons of mass destruction that they will certainly use without moral compunction. The threat is clear and present - not only to Israel, not only to Jews, but also to the entire civilized world.