Bradley Burston believes that suicide bombers saved Zionism. In part they did perhaps. In part, it was
also revulsion at the fact that anti-Zionists sympathize with suicide bombers, defend their activities as "resistance"
and try to blame the bombings on the Zionists.
How the suicide bomber saved Zionism
By Bradley Burston
It has been suggested that suicide bombings were a total failure. Maybe not.
True, as far as its stated objectives were concerned, the people who invented suicide bombing accomplished nothing.
They had hoped to see Israel, to paraphrase Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, collapse as weakly as a spider's web under
pressure. They had advertised the suicide bomber to crowds in Jenin and Jabalya as the sole Palestinian defense against
attacks by U.S.-made IDF weaponry. They had argued that the shahid salvaged Palestinian honor.
All they managed to salvage, in the end, was Zionism.
Think back. The 1990s, the decade of false dawns, nearly killed this country. The Oslo delusion of peace combined with
the NASDAQ illusion of wealth-beyond-measure, to divide and alienate Israelis as never before.
Members of the secular left suddenly imagined themselves to have become citizens of the world, shackled no longer by
tradition, parochialism, patriotism. Ultra-orthodox in their non-conventionality, cool to the point of anesthesia, their
antipathy to Zionism bordered on the physical.
The very mention of Zionism had become a joke. The Hebrew words Tzionut [Zionism] and Tziniut [cynicism] had become
The religious right steamed down the opposite path. Betrayed by Oslo and Yitzhak Rabin, the very man who had brought
them Greater Israel in 1967, many on the right plunged into a mindset that implied that settlements were the only
genuine Zionism, and that Israel had been better off when the world had kept the whole country in diplomatic quarantine
in the 1970s and 80s
As Palestinian armed groups vied with one another for the title of most vicious, least scrupulous, most likely to kill
innocents - as terror gangs turned Palestine into Columbine by teaching children to worship weaponry and the death it
manufactures - an unfamiliar sensation was felt across Israel. Unity. A renewed sense of mutual responsibility. A return
to caring for one's neighbor, and for the stranger in distress.
In this place, where the banality of violence and the venality of leadership have rendered shock as rare as awe, suicide
bombings shook Israelis back into caring about Israel.
For the first time in decades, a genuine consensus was felt in this country, a mass movement of the heart, identifiable
not by the colors red, orange, or yellow, neither by round spectacles or head-coverings, dismissible neither by ethnic,
religious nor class categorization.
There was quiet courage in this movement of the Radical Center, this breaking of tribal bonds that dictated voting,
thinking, medical care, soccer allegiance. There's a quiet defiance in telling extremists that they can no longer speak
and act in the name of the People as a whole.
For my Palestinian friends, this word:
At this point you hardly need to be told that suicidal policies are, well, self-destructive. But it might be prove
instructive to see the effect that the last suicide bombing of 2005 had on this country.
It was Hanukkah, and a young IDF officer stood between a young Jihadist and the celebrating children next to whom the
bomber planned to detonate his 33 pounds of explosives.
The day after the bomber hit the detonator at that last-minute checkpoint, killing himself, the officer, a Palestinian
taxi driver, and another Palestinian, the headlines in Israel referred to the slain second lieutenant Ori Binamo by his
first name only, as if his loss was felt by nearly every household in Israel. Because it was.
This is the lesson that Palestinians would be well advised to learn about the people on this side:
You have made a new kind of martyr hero in the Holy Land, the kind who keeps the shahid from making Jewish infants and
Jewish mothers into martyrs against their will.
You have demolished your cause by restoring our faith in the concept that there are those who believe strongly in the
elimination of the Jewish people by violent means.
You may believe that you invented steadfastness and stubbornness. Think again.
Now is the time to decide. Hamas listens to public opinion. Make it known. You have a choice. You can play with your
guns, or you can have a country.
There is a new kind of Israel, a better one, in fact, for which, perversion of perversions, we have the suicide bomber
This Israel will be harder to defeat that the enemy you faced five years ago. You have only yourselves to thank. You and