The scene of destruction was familiar. Forever ingrained in the collective Jewish memory. The charred, smoking remnants of a passenger bus. Blackened metal, broken glass. The witness statements are familiar too. Loose limbs, decapitation, bodies now beyond recognition, death, destruction, pain, sorrow, blood. The targets were soft and easy. Oblivious holidaying families. They never saw it coming. They never stood a chance.
No doubt Israel will hunt the perpetrators. There will be conspiracy theories aplenty, statements of condemnation will come but ultimately the world will merely urge caution and restraint. The cost of instability is too great. Oil prices fluctuate, election campaigns are disrupted. The price is always greater than the price of Jewish blood.
The UN Human Rights Council, that ludicrous body, apparently charged with slamming Israel at every opportunity and occasionally referring to lesser human rights abusers such as Sudan and Syria to maintain the appearance of legitimacy, will perhaps issue a belated condemnation.
Perhaps Catherine Ashton, the EU’s Foreign Policy queen, will also grace us with her words of comfort. She may even again attempt to issue a perverse rationalization of the murder of Jewish civilians by suggesting that the Jewish State is doing the same to the Palestinians; just as she did after Toulouse.
Those stoic guardians of human rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, will likely remain silent. There’s no opportunity to demonize Israel here. This uncouth act of terror doesn’t fit with their crusade to unite reds, greens and Islamic fascists into a formidable alliance against the chauvinism of Western democracy.
The aura of terrorism will grow. There will be new martyrs for the jihadist scrapbook. More streets to name in Jenin and Nablus. More posters for the walls of Gaza City and Tehran. Brave resistors. Liberating the land. Fighting the occupation. Striking a blow for Islam. One dead Jew at a time.
But all the while Jewish rights are eroded that little bit more. The Jewish right to self-defense. The Jewish right to work and earn without being harassed and boycotted. The Jewish right to enjoy a simple holiday and return safely. The Jewish right to live.
Israel loves to talk “beyond the conflict”. Start-up nation, masters of renewable energy, electric cars, more trees, more sustainable development. All good stuff. All achievements to be proud of provided they do not detract from that one great truth: Regardless of what this state does, regardless of the government policies of the day, there will always be people who seek to kill Jews simply because they are Jews.
And there is not a foreign leader, a human rights watchdog, or a high-tech wiz capable of doing anything about that. Only the Jewish State can be trusted to defend Jewish life.
The enemies of the Jewish people are determined, intelligent and fanatical. It would be a fool who underestimates them. But it would be more foolish still to think that the Jewish people can turn to anyone but the Jewish State to defend them.
Alex Ryvchin is a lawyer and founder of The Jewish Thinker (www.jewishthinker.org ), a forum for opinion pieces on matters affecting Israel and the Jewish people