After the November 13 attacks in Paris, there were concerns in the media that Europe did not fully understand the gravity of the threats posed by radical Islam. Frances's Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, however, certainly did not hide his prediction that, this year, a large scale attack would take place in France. It was not a matter of "if," but "when" and "where."
Thoughts first were for the victims, for those who will suffer all their lives -- young people who went out just to enjoy some music or eat with friends.
Next came the questions: about the claim of responsibility by ISIS, and how the coordinated attacks would nullify the "lone wolf" theory -- a hypothesis largely refuted anyway. These were commandos trained to kill, and to kill themselves too.
But what about the agile explosives handlers who prepare their suicide bomb belts and continue their grim task elsewhere? Perhaps they are preparing a second wave of "martyr attacks" in France? It is urgent to take their network down. One can only hope that any steps will not too quickly trigger the angelic protest of those who would prefer having lily white hands to having no hands at all.
A thought that is usually ducked -- when one does not understand something, one puts it out of his head -- is that often terrorists hope to live. Not so in the Paris attacks: the terrorists knew they would die and specifically intended to reach the Paradise of Allah and the rewards waiting for them there.
The desire to die while killing infidels, has become, in Islam, a highly powerful virus. We do not yet know how to "un-indoctrinate" people from it. And it is not a marginal problem. It is rotting an entire generation of young Muslims -- often to the distress of their parents. It requires more than just some crafted response, no matter how good the intentions are of anyone who tries that. Our reaction should be directed not against the terrorists, but against those who indoctrinate, train and finance them -- and on working to eradicate this virus of the mind. It is also important to set aside the usual sociological considerations: the British jihadist, just eliminated by a drone attack, was a high-level IT technician, not a "victim of capitalism."
Regarding targets, some people seemed surprised that the attacks were carried out in entertainment districts, without any specific links to Jews. Conspiracy theorists will doubtless be buzzing anyhow. On social media, the Mossad will no doubt stand accused, and the supporters of Bashar al-Assad will point to its supposed involvement as "proof" that the Zionists are colluding with ISIS!
The main point is that these attacks, like those before them -- on the U.S. in 2001, Madrid in 2004, and London in 2005, all quickly forgotten in our European memory -- were simply meant to sow terror: go kill as many people as you can.
The "Crusaders" now seem exhausted. They simply do not want enemies. The Pope can insist all he likes that we are in a Third World War; it is so much more comforting to repeat that the main problem is "Israel's occupation." So we waited impatiently the first article "establishing" some "link" between the Paris attack and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We did not have to wait long. After a tiny period of mourning, calls for the international boycott of Israeli goods resumed -- most recently last week by Germany, which should know better. It agreed to label goods made on disputed land, so that people who dislike Jews and Palestinians who might want peace with Israel, will know what not to buy. No matter that goods from no other disputed lands are labeled -- Cyprus, Ukraine or Tibet -- or that labeling goods might put thousands of Palestinians out of work and into terrorism. Where are the demands to boycott those who fund ISIS? Their names are well-known.
Finally, what can be done on the geopolitical front to weaken ISIS? Two answers are usually given, each worse than the other. The first is that, considering that France had nothing to do in Syria to begin with -- the bombing of ISIS was used to explain (justify?) the attacks in Paris -- let us all just run away, leave ISIS alone and it will leave us in peace.
The other is, conversely, to fight ISIS with everything we have, and for that, support the "moderates." These are otherwise known as, incredibly, the Iranians, on the Shiite side -- the elites' new favorites -- and on the Sunni side, the Muslim Brotherhood.
This plan does not, however, take into account the dramatic Islamist religious radicalism, which has taken on the aspect of a new Nazism because of two men.
On the Sunni side is Hassan el Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. He put at the top the duties of believers a love of death in the name of Allah in the struggle against the infidel. Banna's disciple, Sayyid Qutb, is the spiritual father of Al Qaeda and ISIS.
On the Shiite side is Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who organized in Lebanon the first suicide bomb attack in 1982, and who sent tens of thousands of children onto Iraqi landmines. The only weapon the children had was a "key to paradise."
This is why to hear the elegant but bloodthirsty Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in his condolences to France, trying to pass off Iran as a victim of terrorism, makes one's heart stop. Such an announcement doubtless pleases the authorities. But what is important not to forget is that the enemies of our enemies are not necessarily our friends.
Richard Prasquier is President of Keren Hayesod France and Honorary Chairman of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France). This article first appeared in a slightly different form in French. Gatestone thanks the author for his kind permission to publish it in English.