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Terror as AIDS

For years now people have been calling terrorism a cancer. As Itamar Rabinovich, the president of Tel Aviv University and former Israeli diplomat, put it, “You either cut it out or it eats you up.”

Right now, this is certainly Israel’s approach to Hezbollah. Either we cut it out or it will kill us.

I am sympathetic to this line of reasoning. Islamic extremism is the greatest threat to humanity today. As Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, eloquently noted in one of his many defenses of Israel at the U.N. this past week, when Israel kills innocent children it begs for forgiveness. When Hezbollah kills innocent children, they dance in the street with joy.


That said, I think Israel might not have its medical terminology or for that matter its political strategy fully worked out. Instead of cancer, a more apt metaphor to understand the sickness of Islamic terrorism is AIDS.

Like AIDS, terrorism emerged in force in the 1980’s and has continued to plague humanity ever since. At this point, there is no cure for AIDS. We have been unable to figure out how to permanently put an end to it. We don’t know whether or not it will take a vaccine, a piggy-back virus etc…. Simply put, we have no idea how to cut it at its roots. What we do know, however, is that if you try to fully destroy it with the available medications, we would end up killing the patient.

The trick to AIDS is that until we find that ultimate solution we have to learn how to live with it, how to neutralize it, how to protect ourselves from it and control it once someone has contracted it. It’s sad, but we have learned how to live with AIDS. We have internalized the fact that if we tried to annihilate it by pumping one’s body full of more medicines, it would only backfire.


Our ultimate goal must be to eradicate terrorism, but as of now, it looks like the sooner we learn how to manage it, the better off we will be. I am saying this not because I am a pessimist but because this is the sad situation at hand. Of course, our long-term goal should be its eradication, and when that opportunity presents itself, Israel and America should act swiftly and powerfully using all their might to rid the world of this awful disease. Until then, we need to figure how to devise the kind of “cocktail” that will allow us to continue to live as good a life as we can under these difficult and trying circumstances.

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Jill Ridling

posted August 6, 2006 at 8:22 pm

In response to the idea that Islamic terrorism is a disease to be managed I would go a step further and say that all types of terrorism/violence toward others is a disease to be cured. Violence only begets violence and creates nothing new, but instead feeds the disease process. If the West and Israel wish to fight the disease of terror they must equally take responsibility for aiding the disease’s spread. Only when ALL people have security and a modicum of prosperity will terror and violence be stamped out. The cures for the disease of terror are open dialogue, an understanding of one another’s suffering and humanity, destroying an “us” vs. “Them” mentality, and moving away from history and fossilized thinking towards the creation of a wholly “new” future for all parties involved. Whether you are Christian, Muslim or Jew, we are all children of Abraham. This is perhaps where the dialogue can begin and the disease process halted.

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posted August 7, 2006 at 7:46 pm

Shalom, “We reap what we sow!”, Jesus said! Those who sow war will reap war! This will continue until humany is purge of war & other apeisms, Then we will get a kingdom of peace, healing, joy & love!!! Victor

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posted August 8, 2006 at 11:36 pm

Terrorism is not a disease, it is a form of warfare. When the U.S. and Israel have the advantage in military might their opponents are forced to engage in warfare in the ways that are available to them. You have to begin to see the enemy as human beings having just as much a right to their homes and lands and just as much a right to their anger when their lands and homes are stolen or destroyed and their families killed. Until you stop looking down on others as inferior to yourselves and treating them as people without any rights you will always have trouble with them. It shouldn’t surprise you to discover that other people do not want to bow down to your supposed superiority regardless of what your religion teaches you. No one tribe of people is the “chosen” of God except in their own minds. Isn’t is understandable that the so called un-chosen resent the Jewish people setting themselves above all others? The roots of the conflicts in the middle east are never acknowledged. You must understand that if some religious group other than your own came to claim your homes, lands and resources as their own because their religion tells them this is their right, you would be just as upset and angry as they are and you would never forget it. If terrorism is some kind of disease then so is the usual form of warfare which is even more devastating in terms of loss of life, destruction of infrastructure and complete waste of money, time and the energies of too many people. I think that if Britain and the U.S. stopped meddling in the Middle East and if Israel had never been created we would not have the retaliation from the Islamic countries in the Middle East that we have to contend with now. But, since the governments of the U.S. Britain and Israel are so one-sided in their thinking and dealing with the Muslims the wars will probably be continuous. We are just as much a part of the “disease” of warfare and terrorism as they are and perhaps even more so since it is we who have encroached upon their territories. When people in general all over the world become less completely self-centered then, perhaps, there will be hope for peace. And that is what I wish for more than anything. I have seen photographs of the many Lebanese children who were killed in the recent war with Israel and it breaks my heart. I have also seen photographs of children of Israel writing messages on bombs that are then dropped on the Lebanese and signing those messages “with love” while laughing. That is a sick and twisted way to raise children. Isn’t that some form of disease that should be eradicated? Indoctrinating children from the ages of one or two years old to destroy their enemies seems cruel, not only to the enemy but to Israel’s children. Can’t you see that creating the state of Israel in the middle of enemies was a foolish thing to do? I read that the U.S. was supplying bombs with depleted uranium to drop on the Lebanese. If this is true it is horrible. We have to eradicate the “disease” of aggression, cruelty, inhumanity, one-sidedness, oppression, and violence in ourselves. That is a good first step towards peace. Laurie Brewer

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posted August 13, 2006 at 9:37 pm

u Isrealis aalong with Us goverment and britsh blair are the biggest terrorist in thew world. u want to establish ur supremcay and for that the biggest hurdle is Islam which is aclean and pure religin. established by almighty allah. through his por[het. and does not have sick and insane things about jesus and mother mary as judaism has. judah was actually the enmy of christ how come some insane christians like mr bush support the enemies of jesus. and enemies of humanity Isreal and it s supporting jews. if evil and people who pracice sorcery inthis world like in judaism eg kabbalah this world were allowed to rule this world would come to an end soon. evil can never reign for long. it will try and try eventually losing the battle. israel is the biggest terrorist in this world and jews are the children of this terrorist nation and will eventually repay in front of god and humanity the price for causing human suffering by calling themselves chosen peope.

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posted August 30, 2006 at 9:54 pm

Dear Christina, May Allah send to you all ;the foul things you wish on all non-Muslims. Inshallah

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posted August 30, 2006 at 10:02 pm

laurie, where did you see these pictures of Israeli children decorating bombs?

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posted November 12, 2007 at 10:51 am

“Islamic extremism is the greatest threat to humanity today”
What?? I think you’ll find that humanity is the greatest threat to humanity today. Our spiralling population, along with our ability to fight disease and avoid the large-scale world wars of last century, which only serves to compound the problem, is actually a far greater threat, and more scarily, one that has no “cure”.
In fact perhaps that’s the one thing we should be grateful to religion for: at least it continues to provide an excuse for people of the world to kill each other and lower the population – albeit by such a small amount that it makes no difference.
Islamic extremism is simply one of the most despicable forms that exists: Religion.

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