First, sincerest condolences to the families of the three Israeli teenagers brutally kidnapped and killed by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank on June 12, and whose lifeless bodies were found Monday near Hebron. Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach were killed for being three Jewish boys in a land where the enemies of Israel only aspire to generate terror, where they only dream of destroying the Jewish state by force. In the enemies' twisted minds, killing Jews is a way to finish, if only a little, the State of Israel.
Israel knows all too well what suffering is all about. The anti-Jewish pogroms began almost a hundred years ago, well before the State of Israel was established, and before settlements, so hotly debated today, had begun to develop. If Jewish communities in Haifa or Hebron were under the threat of extinction in 1929, or in 1936 through 1939, it was because the Arabs have never accepted what the Bible and history teaches us: The Jewish people have roots in Palestine since time immemorial -- thousands of years before Yasser Arafat invented the term "Palestinian people" in 1967. It is the same reason that the Arabs would not accept the 1947 UN partition plan to have two states, one for Arabs and the other for the Jewish people – precisely because one of them was for the Jewish people. And it is the same reason that they have suffered so many wars, intifadas, terror attacks, immoral delegitimization campaigns against Israel's right to exist and repeated Iranian threats to "wipe Israel off the map."
Unfortunately these three new murders have taken place in an increasingly problematic context for Israel and many Jewish communities in the world. Israel is an island of freedom and prosperity in an increasingly menacing and turbulent region. ISIS black flags are present at Gaza funerals; the Syrian war is destabilizing Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq; Fatah and Hamas have formed a new Palestinian coalition government, and there is no firm or coherent world reaction against a Palestinian Authority that has allied with terrorism. Further, the agreement with Iran that President Obama is cooking up does not guarantee that Tehran will renounce its current capability to make a nuclear bomb.
At the same time, disinformation campaigns by Palestinians, hatred from a Left that does not understand Israel's religious significance and identity, and the traditional anti-Semitism of a reactionary Right have combined to fuel legal warfare against Israel in the form of complaints from individuals accusing IDF officers of crimes against humanity in a distorted abuse of so-called "universal jurisdiction". Economic warfare is also being waged in the form of cultural and economic boycotts, and lobbying so that scholars, artists and business leaders do not set foot in Israel. Never has any country had to fight its enemies simultaneously on so many fronts.
Outside of Israel, the kidnapping of the three teenagers has gone practically unnoticed. Many will say that there was other, more relevant, news, such as Iraq's collapse. However, I am convinced that it is just another excuse. To insult, intimidate, attack, and even to kill Jews has again become commonplace today. It is rarely denounced. For example, Belgian authorities tried to deny that the attack against the Jewish Museum in Brussels was an anti-Semitic terrorist attack.
The silence of the lambs is the product of fear. And in Europe, people are in fear -- a lot of fear -- of being seen as pro-Israel and pro-Jewish. A delegation of American Jews, for instance, was expelled last week from the African Union Summit, to which it had been invited. This happened because the delegates of Egypt, Iran and South Africa could not stand seeing the American Jews wearing the traditional Jewish kippah [skullcap]. Did any of our leaders, including the president of the Spanish government, make the slightest gesture of disgust or disapproval? No. There are too many interests in play, too many fears of being singled out by Arab countries, losing access to Arab markets, oil and gas; of becoming a target of Islamic and Palestinian terrorism.
A delegation of American Jews was expelled from the African Union Summit because the Egyptian, Iranian and South African delegations did not like their Jewish appearance. (Image source: African Union Commission)
Killing Jews should not go unnoticed or unpunished. And it is not something that can be left solely in the hands of Israeli authorities. The bodies found in Hebron have also been found in Brussels and France.
Today there is a new swastika, nested in both a far-Right fear grounded in the past, and an irrational far-Left fear fueled by atheists, pacifists and multiculturalists, and exploited by Palestinians, Muslim Brotherhood members, salafists and jihadists in Europe and everywhere – and that includes many American universities.
This is why the brutal and unjustifiable murder of three youths, whose mistake was to hitchhike back home, should not leave us indifferent. The Jewish people have every right to live in peace everywhere, and Israel has the right to self-defense to achieve peace. Seventy years ago, the world allowed the horror of the Nazi Holocaust. It is our moral obligation never to allow it to happen again. Our own interests should lead us to defend Israel against barbarity.
May the boys rest in peace and let us keep them in our hearts, our minds, and souls.
Rafael Bardají is Senior Advisor for international security to former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. He served in Spain's government as National Security Advisor from 1996-2004. Mr. Bardají is the Director of Foreign Policy at FAES, a think tank in Madrid, and the Executive Director of Friends of Israel Initiative.