Three observations about the killing of bin Laden:
First, it is understandable but unseemly to have a carnival atmosphere in response to the death of a wicked man. Sobriety, not revelry, is the appropriate response. There is too much in its wake -- death, war, tragedy, sorrow -- for this to be other than a moment for a certain grim satisfaction.
Second, it is telling that Hamas responded by condemning the killing of bin Laden: “We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood,” Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, told reporters.
Though he noted doctrinal differences between bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and Hamas, Haniyeh said: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.” These are the people whom others would ask the Israelis to make partners in peace.
Third, this is a step not a solution. In the Talmud, Bruria instructs her husband, Rabbi Meir, to pray for the end of sin, not the death of sinners. Similarly, while we are grateful for the more than justified killing of bin Laden, we pray for the end of Bin Ladenism. There are legitimate grievances in the world. Perhaps one day everyone will recognize that the slaughter of innocents does not bring their resolution closer. If the death of Bin Laden aids this realization, then the life of an evil man will serve some good.
David Wolpe | May 2, 2011 10:20 PM
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