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Reader's Letter - Suicide bombers and Kamikazes

Published in Jerusalem Post
(30 April 2004, Weekend edition)

Sir, - First, a heartfelt compliment from an addict to quality media. After a week in Europe, reading about 20 leading daily papers there, to read my April 23 Jerusalem Post was pure joy - not only because I was home, but because of a good intellectual challenge. The freshness of thoughts and the dialectic approach of this week's articles such as those by Amotz Asa-El, Alan Derschowitz, Sarah Honig and Bret Stephens, or of Erik Schechter's "Terrorisms, old and new" and Jonathan Rosenblum's "Liberty, not libertinism" would be rays of light in any world-class newspaper.

By chance, these last two articles both mentioned al Qaida and other suicide bombers in the same breath with Japanese kamikaze pilots. This besmirches kamikazes and whitewashes suicide bombers, when, in fact, there is a polar difference. Kamikazes, cruel as they were, were self-sacrificing combatants, wearing uniforms, attacking enemy combatants. Suicide bombers and their senders and accomplices act totally outside the law. They are terrorists, mass-murderers of civilians, perpetrators of crimes against humanity.