David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Terrorism, as a form of politically motivated violence, is as ancient as organized warfare itself, emerging as soon as one society, pitted against another in the quest for land, resources, or domination, was moved by a desire for vengeance or found advantages in military operations against noncombatants or other ‘soft’ targets. It is sanctioned and glorified in holy scriptures and has been part of the genesis of states and the expansion of empires from the inception of recorded history. The United States itself emerged through the systematic ethnic cleansing of native Americans, a nearly 300-year campaign that featured the destruction of homes and crops, the theft of land, forced expulsions, massacres, and tears.1 While terrorist violence has been employed by both sides in the conflict over Palestine for over 80 years, the prevalence of the rhetoric of ‘terror’ to describe Arab violence against Israeli and Western targets is a more recent phenomenon. For more than three decades, this rhetoric has fostered the popular perception that Arab terrorism is the central problem in the Middle East crisis, and that once solved, progress can be made on other issues. Nothing could be more illusory. The Western obsession with Arab terrorism not only overlooks the fact that terrorist activity between Arabs and Jews has been reciprocal, but, more generally, that attempts to remove an effect without touching its causes are utterly futile. Terrorism between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews is the product of deep divisions, entrenched strategies, and fundamental grievances and will not disappear so long as both sides cling to their present political ambitions and convictions. No informed discussion of its normative status can ignore its historical and political context. At..
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