The hysterical riots by Arab and Muslim thugs around the world following the publication of cartoons portraying the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper are only the latest symptom of a serious disease.
They reflect the cultural failure of a society that prefers to base itself on the complete failure to stand up to the challenges of modernity, and to direct its anger towards objects of its extremism and hatred – to those elements of the developed, free, Western world that have created the image of modern reality and successfully acquired for themselves quality of life, social welfare and freedom.
The appearance of violence and Arab (and Muslim) radicalism enveloping the world in recent years is related to the same cultural phenomenon: the World Trade Center terrorists, the suicide bombers in Israel, the Bali, London and Madrid terrorists, the hooligans that torched tens of thousands of cars outside Paris in November and the rioters currently burning down European embassies in Damascus and Beirut.
Don't worry, money will continue
The Palestinian rabble burns down European delegations in Gaza and Nablus, assuming the Europeans will continue to feed the Palestinian people and that billions of Euros will continue to flow their way, to ensure its leaders and populace will be available to support corruption and terrorism.
In all these instances we are speaking about the ripe fruits of socialization and indoctrination that characterizes the image of a central strain in the Arab world and wide swaths of the Muslim world.
These elements are afraid to stand up to the causes the society's failure, and present the people with a poisonous cocktail of sacrifice, conspiracy theory, absolute claims and incitement to mass violence.
Each of these is bound up with a deep, distorted longing for "honor."
Because Arab and Muslim society has chalked so few accomplishments in recent centuries, and because their closed natures and widespread violence attracts scorn from the developed world, or perhaps mercy at best, they claim a special immunity from criticism.
The vast majority of them completely fail to understand the basic principles of a free society. They use violence in an attempt to deflect and deter all challenges to their culture and behavior, things considered legitimate in all democracies.
The goal of violent terror is to create ongoing intellectual terror. Thus, they threaten to kill authors who write Satanic Verses that fail to meet the ayatollah's approval, and to treat newspaper cartoonists, editors and publishers to treat Arabs and Muslims with the same lack of regard they show to one another.
And then they moan and complain about the violent, destructive image they have "rightfully earned."
The Palestinians and the Arabs in the Middle East and Europe are not aware of the possible results of the accumulated challenge they place before the way of life in Europe and the free world.
Europe waking up
Following the latest instance of Arab hooliganism, even the Europeans are starting to realize that reconciling themselves to violence and a lack of tolerance displayed even by European Arabs endangers the pluralistic basis of the European Union.
Even some leftists in Europe are now forced to deal with the cultural and political meaning of forgetting about tens of millions of Arabs and Muslims, most of whom have no desire to adopt the practices of open society.
The radical elements are making inroads, with the consent of the mainstream, to enforce their destructive, violent values and political terrorism – first by murdering a Dutch television producer because whose movies "offended" them, now by threatening to murder Danish journalists, and tomorrow by way of self-censorship, more dangerous than all, by Europeans who fear getting tangled up with folks who have already proven the deadliness of their attacks.
Dutch teachers who don't dare teach the World War II history in neighborhoods that are more than a third Muslim because they are afraid of the threats emanating from 15-year-olds are just the first taste.
Many are starting to understand that European tolerance for Arab intolerance is not a prescription for pluralism and multi-culturalism, but rather a danger for every free culture.
It is too bad the Europeans must learn the hard way about the complex challenges that characterize the neighborhood Israel finds itself in.
Dan Schueftan is the assistant director of the Center for National Security Research at Haifa University