Every roadside bombing, every suicide attack, and
every act of terrorism begins with words and thoughts of hate. It begins with Al
Qaida websites that turn suicide bombers into Jihadi celebrities. It begins with
Hezbollah summer camps that use arts and crafts to glorify martyrdom and teach
bomb-making skills to children.
It begins with statements by Hamas leaders like
Atallah Abu Al Subh, who recently said on public Palestinian television, (and I
quote) “The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon
the face of the Earth.” This is the poison that is being fed to people across
the Middle East, day after day.
So I want to take the opportunity of this debate to
ask the simple question: how do we truly counter terrorism? Yes, we must
combat terrorists wherever they seek to strike. Yes, we must attack terrorist
infrastructure, and go after those who support and finance terrorism.
However, true counter-terrorism must also begin by
disrupting the ecosystem of extremism in which terror thrives. It means
advancing education that teaches peace, not hate, and mutual understanding, not
martyrdom. It means speaking out against incitement and all forms of terrorism,
even when it is politically inconvenient.