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The PRIMER Blog

It's No Coincidence that Sirhan Sirhan Was a Terrorist

The Associated Press recently produced a rather curious article about Sirhan Sirhan. Along with several events that have occurred since, at this time of introspection surrounding the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the article helps put what some have referred to as the early days of World War IV into perspective.

Unfortunately, not many Americans were able to benefit from this illuminating AP story. I looked carefully in a number of American newspapers which use the Associated Press wire service, but couldn't find any mention of this event.

Written by Khaled Abu Toameh, the article begins "Under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, a rally was held in Tulkarem on Friday in honor of Sirhan Sirhan."

One may wonder why the Palestinian Authority, enmeshed in its terrorist war against Israel, would bother honoring the assassin of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, JFK's brother. Actually, it wasn't, at least not directly. It was honoring a cousin and namesake of RFK's assassin.

According to the Associated Press, "The rally, organized by Fatah to mark the passing of 40 days since the killing of Sirhan, was attended by hundreds of residents, political activists, gunmen from different groups, and senior Palestinian Authority officials."

If one wonders why a man so revered that the Palestinian Authority would organize a rally to honor him would be killed, the answer is that this young "hero" had sneaked into a kibbutz in Israel and murdered four year old Noam Ohayon along with his five year old brother Matan as their mother was reading them a bedtime story. For good measure, he also murdered their mother and two others before returning to the bosom of the Palestinian Authority.

Some may believe it coincidental that two vicious murderers shared the unusual name "Sirhan Sirhan," but it was no coincidence. The younger Sirhan Sirhan was named in honor of his cousin, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy. Is it any wonder, given the values of the parents who raised him, he grew up to be a terrorist?

These two cousins who share the name Sirhan Sirhan are symbolic of the shared interests of America and its lone true friend in the Middle East, Israel. One Sirhan Sirhan murdered a young leader who brought hope to America during a difficult time, a leader who represented our best and our brightest. The other murdered young children whose parents had hoped would grow up to live in the sort of world Robert Kennedy envisioned.

In the short period since the Palestinian Authority honored Sirhan Sirhan, the world has suffered additional terrorist attacks not just against Americans and Israelis, but in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and elsewhere, with additional mega attacks being planned against us here in America.

Ironically, the suicide bombing in Riyadh was denounced by the head of Hamas' bureau in Syria. It's not that Khaled Mashaal suddenly abandoned his terrorist agenda; it's just that he prefers to target America and Israel.

There's a tendency among naive individuals to look at a dispute and assume not only that there is fault on both sides, but that the fault on both sides is relatively balanced. If there is hatred, there is a tendency to assume the object of the hatred must have done something to cause it.

In extreme cases, the objects of hatred sometimes even blame themselves. Such manifestations include the Stockholm Syndrome and the anti-Zionist Jew. In one recent absurd example, the wealthy industrialist George Soros made a rare appearance before a Jewish group and blamed himself, or at least his wealth, in part for the escalation of anti-Semitism in the world.

The difficult to fathom reality is that it's quite possible to be the object of hatred through no fault of one's own, but simply for one's values or just because one exists.

The fact of the matter is that both America and Israel are not hated for anything we've done. We are hated simply for existing and for the values we are justifiably most proud of. This hatred is in many ways analogous to anti-Semitism.

Both America and Israel are liberal democracies. Both are home for diverse, multiethnic populations and promote and observe human rights. Both are open societies with presses that are free to criticize their own governments and often do.

As an American teenager, I was inspired when Robert Kennedy dreamed about what America should be, and I continue to dream about an America in which no child grows up in poverty, in which "no child left behind" is more than an empty slogan. As a Zionist, I dream of an Israel living in peace with its neighbors, with no need for a security fence to keep terrorists from murdering children preparing for bed. As a citizen of the world, I dream of the day when the entire world voluntarily shares the values America, Israel and the other Western democracies already share.

In order to reach that day, we need to recognize the harsh truth that we are under attack in a war that may ultimately make the Cold War seem like a relatively peaceful interlude. We will undoubtedly make both strategic and tactical mistakes--we've already made some--but we certainly need to be able to distinguish our friends from our foes.

By directly honoring one murderer named Sirhan Sirhan while indirectly honoring another, the Palestinian Authority reminds us of which side of the fence it is on. It's unfortunate more newspapers didn't find this particularly informative article fit to print.




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