He Who Lives By the Sword, Dies by the Sword

As our readers know, every now and then we depart from our usual eminent domain/land use topics to take note of some important even that we believe you should read. Here is one. It appeared as our op-ed in the Daily Journal, the California legal paper.

January 15, 2014
Russia bombings conjure the past

 By Gideon Kanner 

“He who lives by the sword,” says the proverb, “dies by the sword.” Few things have confirmed the insight of that line better than the recent spate of terrorist bombings in Russia, particularly the two most recent terrorist bombings in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) that killed 34 people and gravely wounded 62 others, and were accompanied by the terrorists’ call for more attacks at the Sochi Olympics.

It seems like only yesterday that Russia, then doing bloody business as the Soviet Union, was the supporter and armorer of Islamic terrorists who were setting off bombs in Israel. Many of these terrorist attacks deliberately targeted Jewish children. On May 14, 1974, terrorists targeted a school in Ma’alot, rounded up the children and shot 21 of them dead. On May 22, 1970, terrorists attacked an Israeli school bus, killing 12 people, nine of them children. On Aug. 19, 2003, terrorists blew up another Israeli bus, killing 23 people, seven of them children. And another one on March 5, 2003, killing 17 people, nine of them children. Then there was the terrorist attack on the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv, a night club favored by Israeli teenagers, that killed 11 young people.

Nor do the sheer numbers of these young victims tell the story. Who can forget the barbaric execution of 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass who was targeted by a sniper on Aug. 19, 2003, or the Nov. 10, 2003, brutal murder of Revital Ohayon and her two children, Matan, 5, and Noam, 6, at point blank range? I could go on, but, alas, going through the casualty lists of deliberately targeted children murdered by terrorists is old news. To say nothing of the killing of Israeli athletes at the 1973 Munich Olympics.
When you reflect on all that, as well as on the fate of Russian victims of Islamist terror, let us not overlook our own, American, terror victims attending the Boston Marathon, and the thousands of Americans murdered in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

So why is reflecting on these “old news” atrocities important today, in the context of the Volgograd atrocities? Because when these things happened, the terrorist perpetrators did not act alone. They were armed, aided, and provided with explosives, weapons and funds by Russia, then doing bloody business as the Soviet Union, along with East Germany, its staunch friend and ally. When the blood of Jewish children flowed in Israel, there was no outcry by Russian propagandists and their “progressive” apologists. But now it looks like the chickens have come home to roost. This time it is Russians who feel the pain of bereavement after witnessing the murder of their own people. This time, their conscience has suddenly awakened, and their angry president assures the world that Russian retribution for these atrocities is coming. I wish him luck but in truth, this is a case of “what goes around, comes around.”

This time, their conscience has suddenly awakened, and their angry president assures the world that Russian retribution for these atrocities is coming.


And so, even as we sympathize with the latest victims and with bereaved Russians, and wish them well in their hunt for the perpetrators, we should remember that what just happened in Russia is no different in kind than what has been happening in Israel for the past half-century. There is an obvious lesson to be learned here, although given the track record of the perpetrators and their ideological groupies, I tend to doubt that it will be learned. When for the sake of a fanatical ideology civil norms of conflict are surrendered to bloodthirsty barbarians who are allowed, indeed encouraged, to act as they please, and are praised for their barbarities when they target Jews, it should not come as a surprise when they go on to direct their violence beyond Israel, and target anyone who does not acquiesce in their demands, including their erstwhile Russian friends, allies, and armorers who are now learning that lesson the hard way.

In the meantime, Islamist terrorists are openly calling for attacks on the “satanic” Olympics in Sochi, and they mean it, as demonstrated by the slaughter of Israeli athletes at the 1973 Munich Olympics. So it remains to be seen if the Russian security forces will rise to the occasion, and do a better job than did the Germans in 1973. I hope they do, but even so, let us not miss the grim lesson that people who make common cause with terrorists, have little to complain about when their barbarian allies eventually turn on them.

Gideon Kanner
is professor of law emeritus at the Loyola Law School.

Follow up. No sooner did the ink dry on this article, Islamist terrorists staged an attack on the Sochi Olympics site, killing five people. Click here http://news.yahoo.com/three-russian-forces-two-militants-killed-shootout-interfax-065326637.html