The Bali Difference
By: Steven Plaut
Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Why is the world suddenly able to recognize an act of terrorism?

I certainly do not mean to detract for an instant from the horror and outrage over the Bali bombing, but at the same time I cannot leave without comment the dramatic differences in the reactions of the world to the Bali bombing and the countless Arab atrocities against Jews.

Not a single media outfit has referred to the perpetrators of the Bali bombings as "activists" or "militants". Not even the BBC and CNN. Indeed, both uncharacteristically used the "T" word to refer to the bombers. CNN even called it "an atrocity" and not a protest.

If it turns out that the car bomb was triggered by suicide terrorists, no one in the world will include those dead terrorists in the total body count of the "tragic affair".

Not a single commentator has been insisting that if the terrorists resorted to such violence, then surely they must have legitimate grievances.

Not a single commentator has been insisting that if the terrorists resorted to such violence, then surely they must be fighting for a just cause.

Not a single commentator has been insisting that if the terrorists resorted to such violence, then surely it must be because they are so desperate and mistreated. And no one demanded that Australia ask itself what it has done wrong to earn such hatred.

Not a single commentator has been insisting that Indonesia and Australia need to open dialogue and negotiations with the terrorists because — after all — there is no military solution to the problems of terrorism.

The Nobel Prize Committee has not suggested that the perpetrators of the bombing be awarded a Peace Prize.

Harvard and Berkeley professors did not call for the preventing of future bombings like Bali by divesting from Australia, nor did they collect petitions demanding that the demands of the bombers be met.

Jimmy Carter has not rushed to Bali to endorse the demands of the bombers.

Student demonstrators in Berkeley did not stage mock street theater representations of the bombings, showing the Australians as villains.

Hollywood stars did not declare that only withdrawal from occupied Australia is the solution.

The University of Michigan and Colorado College have failed so far to organize Solidarity with the Bali Bombers Conferences.

The newspapers have not been telling Australians that they brought it all on themselves for being racist and insensitive and obstinate.

No one has yet proposed allowing the terrorists to set up their own state in New South Wales.

No one has described the Bali bombing as "resisting occupation".

No progressive liberal churches or synagogues have offered to host the spokeswoman for the Bali bombers.

No one has described the Bali bombers as moderates who need to be cultivated lest really radical Islamist terrorists gain power.

So why is world's reaction to the Bali atrocity so untypical? Why so different from its reactions to Jews being blown to pieces by PLO terrorists and their associates? And if the perpetrators now pretend that they blew up Bali to protest Israel's "occupation" of "Palestinian" lands, how long will it take for the progressives of the world to demand that Israel be destroyed to appease the Bali bombers and prevent more such violence?

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.