The March 31 issue of New Jersey Jewish News reported on Anisa Mehdi, a Muslim journalist who is trying to focus on the compatibility between our communities (‘Muslim journalist: “Use our common ground”’). I applaud her for her efforts to tone down the rhetoric. I recall my very first visit to Yerushalayim in the 1970s when I was struck by the similarities in culture, language, food, and behavior. In the shuk, it was hard to tell an Arab from a Jew.
That being said, Ms. Mehdi referred to the United States has having “committed the worst act of terrorism…on this planet.” This is an inaccurate view of history. The use of atomic weapons against Japan arguably saved lives. The Japanese had been conditioned and were willing to die to the last man, woman, and child. Iwo Jima had demonstrated this fierce determination. Of the more than 18,000 Japanese soldiers present at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki put an end to the corruption of the Samurai culture that resulted in the militarization of Japan and creation of an expansionist regime. I had friends who were part of the Manchurian occupation. For the Chinese, it was filled with terror.
Contrast Hiroshima (90,000 deaths) and Nagasaki (45,000 deaths) against the deaths at Leningrad (640,000), Nanjing (260,000), Stalingrad (140,00), Changchun (120,000), Berlin (100,000), and Tokyo (140,000). The two Chinese massacres occurred at the hands of Japanese military occupation. That is real terror — sustained over days, weeks, and months. And so is the terror which occurs from having rockets rain down on your heads, incessantly, for years. The British did not tolerate this and fought the Battle of Britain to bring the terror to an end.
Ms. Mehdi ought to be more careful when she uses the word “terrorism.”