The jets bombed the daylights out of them. The ground forces invaded. At long last the murderous suicide-bombing terrorists were being suppressed in a military campaign. Their total defeat put an end to any notion that the terrorists and their sponsors would be granted their own state. Many civilians were killed and wounded, yet not a single protest was made against the invasion anywhere.
I refer to the conquest over the past few days by the army of Sri Lanka (once called Ceylon) of the holdout city of the Tamil independence rebels. Kilinochchi was the last town held by the Tamil “Tiger” Rebels, a group considered a terrorist group by the United States. With it fell the last Tamil hope of setting up an independent state or even of getting autonomy inside Sri Lanka.
The Tamils do have their own state inside India but were not satisfied with that manifestation of “self-determination.” Kilinochchi, 579 kilometers north of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, was until recent months the center of political power for the rebels.
Over the years, 65,000 people have been killed in the war with the Tamils in Sri Lanka, almost all of them civilians.
Meanwhile not a single Solidarity-with-the-Tamil-Tigers protest has been organized on a single Western campus or in a single downtown square. Jewish leftists have not taken to the streets to demand an end to the war of aggression against the Tamils. Leftist websites have not proclaimed every injury of a Tamil civilian to be a Nazi-like war crime by Sri Lanka and an act of genocide.
The Eurocrats have not pontificated about how the Sri Lankan response to terror was out of proportion. The BBC did not describe the Tamil suicide bombers as activists. The International Solidarity Movement has not sent in protesters from the West to try to defend the terrorists. Communists and fellow travelers have not organized flotillas of boats carrying aid to the terrorists to “break the siege.”
Hundreds of non-governmental organizations claiming to be concerned about human rights have not rushed aid to the terrorists in the name of humanitarian concerns.
And then there was the eerie silence of Israeli politicians. Not one of them chose to lecture the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka about how the whole problem is their insensitivity to the needs of the “Other.” None of them explained to the Sri Lankans that if they did not capitulate to the demands of the Tiger terrorists, really radical and implacable enemies of Sri Lanka would arise from among the Tamils.
Ehud Barak did not demand that the Sri Lanka government enter talks with the Tigers and provide them with guns and funding. Israeli professors did not organize petitions of solidarity with the Tamil suicide bombers. Columnists at the far-left Israeli daily Haaretz have not turned out column after column explaining that the Tamil suicide bombings are all about the Tamils living under an inhumane siege. Israeli literary stars David Grossman, Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua have not produced poems and essays urging that the demands of the Tamil Tigers be met.
Israeli Minister of Education Yuli Tamir did not suggest to her Sri Lankan counterpart that poems by Tamil terrorists be introduced as part of the school curriculum there or that they be taught that Sri Lanka’s very existence is a catastrophe and a crime.
Strangely, not a single Sri Lankan professor who had a family member killed by terrorists has endorsed their demands – unlike several such professors in Israel. Not a single Sinhalese public figure has proposed that Sri Lanka be dismembered and stripped of its Sinhalese symbols and flag.
No Sinhalese members of parliament have proposed a change in the national anthem. No one in Sri Lanka has proposed dividing Colombo and handing over half to the Tamils. The UN did not denounce Sri Lanka for misrepresenting the traditional Tamil drink of Ceylon tea as Sinhalese cuisine.
Virtually no one knows that 65,000 civilians have died in Sri Lanka’s fight with the Tamil terrorists – in fact, most people couldn’t even find the country on a globe. The Western media have shown no interest in covering the story. In the first week of fighting in Operation Cast Lead, the number of Gazans killed, most of whom were terrorists, was far less than 1 percent of the number of Sri Lankans killed in their battle against terrorism.
But then again, Sri Lanka is just not as advanced a country as is Israel. No one bothered to explain to the Sri Lankan leaders that there can be no military solution at all to the problem of terrorism and that the only choice is to hold talks and meet the demands of the terrorists.
Those silly, na?ve Sri Lankans ignored all the sage advice and just went ahead and solved their problem of terrorism with a military solution.
Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.