9/11 Ten Years On


Terrorists fly planes into WTC Towers on 9/11

Today is the 10th anniversary of the massive terrorist attack on America known as 9/11, when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York were brought down by planes hijacked by 19 Muslim terrorists; the Pentagon was similarly attacked and another plane was brought down by the brave passengers before the terrorists had a chance to fly it into the White House.  In all, around 3,000 innocent people were killed that day.

The Conservative Kitchen Table has some dramatic photos from that fateful day.

9/11 changed the course of world politics forever, including the US and the West’s attitudes towards Israel and the Middle East.  Some interesting reading on the subject:

The Israel Project: Remembering 9/11

Haaretz: How 9/11 changed US-Israel politics

Jewish Ideas Daily: Israel, America and the lessons of 9/11

Abe Greenwald writes in the above article that although popular myth has it that the world was with America after that terrible attack, popular memory is wrong:

Two heads belonging to the same monster: This is the way a significant portion of the world saw America and Israel on September 11, 2001. On television that day, we watched people jump to their deaths to escape the flames engulfing the World Trade Center.  But if you switched channels, you could watch a very different scene: Palestinians of both sexes and all ages dancing in the streets to celebrate al-Qaeda’s killing of almost 3,000 human beings.  For the celebrants, the attack was first and foremost a blow to Israel’s most important ally.  And Palestinians were not the only ones celebrating.

But there was no “outpouring of worldwide support for America” in the wake of September 11.  A Pew Research Center poll conducted soon after the attack produced data that still shock.  Fully 70 percent of non-U.S. citizens said it was “good for the U.S. to feel vulnerable.” This sentiment did not come from Arab or Muslim countries alone: it was endorsed by 66 percent of Western Europeans, 71 percent of Latin Americans, and 76 percent of Asians.

Why did these respondents feel good about America’s trouble?  The most popular reason, given by 88 percent of those polled, was “resentment of U.S. power.”  The second most popular, given by 70 percent, was “U.S. support of Israel.”

Anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism reinforce one another.  American intervention in the Arab world is seen as an extension of Zionist aggression.  Israel’s military operations in Gaza, Lebanon, or Syria are understood in part as imperialist legwork delegated by Big Satan to its smaller regional franchise. In the fantastic universe of such conspiracy theories, there are no contradictions: September 11 was both a righteous blow against Zionist America and the fruit of a U.S.-Zionist plot.

The joining of anti-Semitism with anti-Americanism has produced some complicated alliances among America’s enemies—Iran with Venezuela, Syria with North Korea.  Hugo Chavez may have no use for Iran’s Khomeinist Shiism.  But any enemy of Washington (and democratic capitalism) is a friend of his, and making life unpleasant for Venezuela’s Jewish community endears him that much more to his partners in Tehran. Kim Jong Il probably does not lose much sleep over Israel’s existence, but helping the Jewish state’s Syrian enemy build a nuclear reactor is a profitable way to make things more precarious for an American ally.  The North Koreans and Chinese support Palestinian statehood.  The Russians provide nuclear and military assistance to Iran.  Such marriages of convenience and ideology, in areas from trade to energy and defense, contribute to Israel’s increased isolation.

The isolation has also intensified in the realm of ideas, where the erosion of Zionism’s good name has continued since September 11.  Increasingly, the word is taken to denote not Jewish national self-determination but Jewish chauvinism.  In academic and diplomatic circles, the decades-long campaign to place Zionism alongside imperialism, fascism, and colonialism has moved from the far left to the political center. Young American Jews now shy away from a term and an identity whose actual definition they will never know.

The great myth about this growing hatred is that public diplomacy can fix it—that greater attention to “optics” will lead antagonists of America and Israel to rethink their prejudices.  We have now had nearly three years of an extremely optics-rich Obama foreign policy, of which the September 11 anniversary guidelines are just one example.  Yet, despite serial apologies for American power and dogged appeals for global cooperation, anti-Americanism is more intense today than it was when the President took office.

This does not stop the public diplomacy-advocates from scolding Israelis for insensitivity.

Read it all for it is good, although rather depressing.

And in case anyone has forgotten, and proving Greenwald’s point above, here is the video of Palestinians celebrating 9/11 in the streets of Gaza: (h/t The Muqata)

Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Washington Post, calls the accusations that America’s reaction to 9/11 was an “overreaction” “Nonsense

The new conventional wisdom on 9/11: We have created a decade of fear. We overreacted to 9/11 — al-Qaeda turned out to be a paper tiger; there never was a second attack — thereby bankrupting the country, destroying our morale and sending us into national decline.

The secretary of defense says that al-Qaeda is on the verge of strategic defeat. True. But why? Al-Qaeda did not spontaneously combust. Yet, in a decade Osama bin Laden went from the emir of radical Islam, jihadi hero after whom babies were named all over the Muslim world — to pathetic old recluse, almost incommunicado, watching shades of himself on a cheap TV in a bare room.

What turned the strong horse into the weak horse? Precisely the massive and unrelenting American war on terror, a systematic worldwide campaign carried out with increasing sophistication, efficiency and lethality — now so cheaply denigrated as an “overreaction.”

Guilio Meotti says that the world forgot that Israel was suffering the equivalent of 9/11 daily throughout the second intifada.

And of course we must not forget those conspiracy theories that claimed that either “the Jews” or “the Israelis” committed 9/11 and/or that the Jews/Israelis were forewarned about the attack and none were killed on 9/11. All of which  is an outright and outrageous lie – which doesn’t seem to die.

Let’s hope and pray for better days ahead, but be prepared for worse.


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7 Responses to 9/11 Ten Years On

  1. Leslie Greenberg says:

    I’ve been watching the 10-yr. anniversary coverage–remembering, crying, and railing against God. The 9/11 Report concluded that the fault was a “failure of imagination”. Notice where the Muslims’ energy of imagination is channeled… No cure for cancer, no wonder drugs saving lives, no contribution to life and God’s creatures–just the imagination of death. May it be the continuing source of THEIR experience.

    • anneinpt says:

      The 9/11 report is wrong if they think it was a failure of imagination. It was a failure to heed warnings for decades by Israel that militant Islam is a threat to the entire West, and not just to Israel.

      And yes, I agree with you re the lack of Muslim countries’ imagination in creativity.

  2. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Anne, may I post here the comment I posted on “Comment is Free Watch”, yesterday, 10 Sept? I would add to this comment, that despite the march against the second Gulf war/invasion of Iraq (I’m with Nick Cohen on this one – see “What’s Left?”), I’m sure that many in the UK feel & felt as I do (the eloquence refers to an article in The New Republic” that Adam Levick reprints):

    “While I cannot imagine that here in the UK we will be anything like as eloquent when the 10th anniversary of 7/7(05) comes round, I hope that it will not be forgotten that, for good or ill, Britain and the US have stood shoulder to shoulder throughout the 20th century and into the 21st: through two world wars, in Korea, in Gulf Wars 1 and 2, in Libya and hopefully beyond.

    We may disagree in detail, but we agree in principle as to what good government means, what liberty is all about and I can only hope that, collectively, we shall “not go quietly into that good night” as our democracies and our liberties are threatened by those who value them not.

    Even if we do not accept her politics, we accept the attitude of La Pasionara, the voice of the Spanish Republic between 1936 and 1939, when she declared of the Fascists, “No Pasaron”: they shall not pass.”

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you Brian for that beautifully worded comment.

      (And I have no objections at all to comments being reposted from another site as long as credit or source is given).

  3. reality says:

    you’d think by now that 10 years later the Europeans would finally realise that most of the worlds trouble spots are caused by militant muslims. So what do they conclude? That because they are scared of them they let them have free reign in their various caountries & are only now slowly slowly waking up to the fact that this “may” have caused some damage -ie that there are too many mulims living in their countries & want it run according to sharia law. We in Israel have been warning them of this for years as we feel it on a daily basis with suicde bombers, stabbings rockets etc.. & yet for all that Israel is still constantly in the wrong. Sad

    • anneinpt says:

      I agree that Europe is scared of its Muslims and therefore they give them a free hand. But it’s not only that they’re scared of them. Europe is (or was) mostly liberal-left, and for them, everything is “equivalent”. All religions are equally good or bad, and therefore Islam is no worse than Judaism in their eyes. Until now. The Muslims (or extreme ones in any case) have overstepped their mark, and are trying to impose sharia, burqas etc., and that is too far even for the soft liberal Europeans, and now they’re starting to fight back. Rather late in the day, and too late for the victims of terrorism but it’s a start. It’ll be interesting to see how politics develop in Europe over the next few years. Already teh last elections brought us more center-right governments like Merkel, Cameron, Sarkozy etc.

      As for Israel’s warnings being ignored, it’s not only sad, as you say but bad. I think if the warnings had come from any other country than Israel, and if it was any other country than Israel who was being attacked daily, the West would have taken the warnings about extremist Islam more seriously.

      But since it was “just” Israel, and “just” the Jews who were suffering, our warnings were probably considered paranoia or crying wolf – even though our history has shown over and over again that it is not so, and that we should be heeded.

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