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“Not Terrorism”

Jim Burroway

August 2nd, 2009

That’s what this Associated Press video says:

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Other outlets earlier made the same claim, although many have gone back and re-edited their stories so that they now say that it appears to be criminal and not nationalistic, although I don’t know how they can claim that since we don’t know who the attacker was. He may still turn out to be an Israeli nationalist.

Nir Katz (top) and Liz Trubeshi (bottom)

Nir Katz (top) and Liz Trubeshi (bottom)

Okay, I get the police’s trying to distinguish this act from a terrorist act by Hamas or Hezbollah or another Palestinian/Muslim radical group. But come on. Are Arabs and Muslims the only ones we’re allowed to call terrorists? Is saying that it’s “not terrorism” supposed to reassure Israeli citizens that this was a targeted attack on gays and not Jews? What about the Jews who were targeted and died in this attack? What about the Jews who marched in the streets last night to mourn their deaths? And what about the Jewish families this morning who now have to bury their children? Don’t they count?

This exercise of trying to say that this was not terrorism cheapens the lives of Nir Katz and Liz Trubeshi, who died in the spray of automatic gunfire at an LGBT community center in Tel Aviv. It insults their families trying to grapple with the reasons their too-young loved ones were singled out for this attack. And it denies the impact that this is having in the LGBT community around the world, let alone the grieving community in Tel Aviv.

We don’t know the attacker’s identity. But we do know that a gunman — dressed in black, wearing a black ski mask and carrying an assault weapon — targeted a place of refuge for LGBT youth who were peacefully gathering for mutual camaraderie and support in the face of discrimination and prejudice. The attacker found them in that refuge and pumped them full of bullets. Yaniv Weisman, chairman of the Israeli Gay Youth organization, said, “Today, someone sent a message that gays in Tel Aviv and Israel are not safe.” That is terrorism. If it isn’t then the word needs to be stricken from the English language, for it will have lost all meaning.

Comments

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Stefano A
August 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Okay, I get the police’s trying to distinguish this act from a terrorist act by Hamas or Hezbollah or another Palestinian/Muslim radical group. But come on. Are Arabs and Muslims the only ones we’re allowed to call terrorists? Is saying that it’s “not terrorism” supposed to reassure Israeli citizens that this was a targeted attack on gays and not Jews?

No. I don’t think it was distinguished in this way to “reassure” any one. Although, it might have been an attempt by the Israeli police spokesperson who made to the statement to try to diffuse a potential situation in which blame is automatically placed upon a non-Jew. Especially in a country where “nationalist terroism” acts are a regular occurence. I think it is also worth keeping in mind that even in the US where non-nationalist terror is not a regular occurence, shootings such as that on the Holocaust Museum, the church in Nashville, TN, and other similar acts are seldom referred to as “acts of terrorism” rather than sniper attacks or “mass shootings”.

While I take your point that such acts may be intended to instill terror in a given group, (and that is a valid point regarding all hate crimes) most often, as in the examples cited above, and in the case of racial hate crimes against African Americans (for example), those are seldom referred to as “terrorist acts” instead being referred to as a hate crime.

Penguinsaur
August 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Seems like the media only calls it terrorism if your killing people to take down a government.

Stefano A
August 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Seems like the media only calls it terrorism if your killing people to take down a government.

Perhaps. Or more often it is described as a “terrorist act” when the act is perpetrated by an organized political group or on behalf of (or with the sanctioning of) a political group rather than an individual acting independently. (For example, suicide bombers are usually described as a suicide bombing excepting when implemented with factual data linking the individual to a group.)

As far as we know, this was an act perpetrated by an individual, as was the case in the Holocaust Museum shooting, the Tennessee church shootings and similar.

In any event, I think it can be agreed that all of these actions are “acts of terrorism”.

My point, if I have one, is I suppose that I don’t think I would read too much into the Israeli police statement as being purposely intended to underplay the seriousness of this attack on the gay community in the eyes of the pols, Israeli government/police, or its national citizenry.

AngryFag
August 2nd, 2009 | LINK

It’s only terrorism if you target heteros. We’re not really ‘people’ after all.

ravenbiker
August 12th, 2009 | LINK

Terrorism is to promote terror, no matter the target. In the Israeli instance, the target was the GLBT community. The media ought to be ashamed of themselves by giving terrorism such a narrow definition!

Good for the leadership in Israel. They called for what it is. It is funny though (weird, not queer or ha-ha funny) that the leadership claims that Israel is an enlightened country. Wonder if US leaders would be bold enough to claim the same.

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