The Kurds have essentially been the only group doing anything to battle ISIS on the ground and save Yazidi men, women, and children from enslavement and death.
For the last few years, the West thought they could ignore this "contained" holocaust that's been raging in Syria and Iraq. Unfortunately in recent months, ISIS blew up a Russian passenger jet, France saw the slaughter of its citizens in the streets of Paris, and the US experienced a massacre of 14 people in sunny California. These acts add to the growing list of ISIS inspired attacks and attempted attacks that have caused the western world to open their eyes to the evil proliferating across the globe.
And now, finally a number of willing nations have stepped up the war against ISIS, with not the US but Russia leading the way, and the Islamic State is suddenly finding itself on the ropes, with territory being lost and fighters losing courage.
Something I have found so surprising throughout all these events is how ISIS and their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have hardly made even the smallest mention of Israel or the Jews. I was waiting for that inevitable day when ISIS would declare their intentions to destroy Israel and commit genocide against the Jewish people. It's kind of a coming of age, a rite of passage for a terrorist group when the day comes that they announce their intentions to wipe out the Israelites. But the weeks and months passed and we heard not a peep.
I was not alone in noticing this. For the last few years a favorite rumor among conspiracy theorists and haters of Israel alike has been that ISIS is actually a Mossad organization, and Baghdadi is in reality a Jew. Why else have they not done anything to harm the Jews? After all, no one can deny that, barring immediate existential threats, the Jews pretty much always receive the top honors on the genocide wish lists for terrorist organizations.
And now suddenly this last Saturday, after ISIS had finally taken a real beating from western forces and air strikes, Baghdadi has reportedly released a message to his demoralized fighters in which he declares, "We are getting closer to you [Israel] day by day. Do not think that we have forgotten about you."
Baghdadi continues, "God caused the Jews of the world to gather in Israel, and the war against them has become easy. It is the obligation of every Muslim to carry out Jihad." He adds, "Jews, you will not enjoy Palestine. God has gathered you in Palestine so that the Mujahedeen can reach you soon and you will hide by the rock and the tree. Palestine will be your graveyard."
Baghdadi's threats could have been a little more original, seeing as how Hezbollah's head Hassan Nasrallah has also previously claimed that the Jews were gathered to Israel to make it easier to kill them all, and Hamas and the PA have referenced the same Hadith about the rocks and trees calling for Muslims to kill the Jews at the end of days.
Nonetheless, Baghdadi finally made the kill the Jews proclamation, and the timing is somewhat understandable. History has shown us that whenever the going gets tough for nations, blaming the Jews and promising to wipe them out has been an extremely effective technique of distracting the general population from its woes while uniting them behind a common cause.
In 167 BCE, the Hellenized Syrians led by Antiochus Epiphanes realized their bloody campaign to conquer Egypt had failed. The Jews in Israel under Antiochus' dominion were a perfect scapegoat to vent their frustrations on, and the persecutions began. This put in motion the events that led to the rise of the Maccabees who soundly defeated the Syrians and declared independence for Judea.
Similarly the Nazis made good use of this technique in the wake of WWI. Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany's defeat and claimed an international Jewish conspiracy was responsible for the suffering of the German people. This set the foundation for the rise of the Nazis and the Second World War and the holocaust.
This scapegoating of the Jewish people by struggling leaders and nations has repeated itself over and over again in history. So now that Baghdadi has referenced the Jews, it's likely that things must be getting tough for ISIS. Once you play the Jew card, you're desperate for a scapegoat. And it seems to work every time. In fact, a recent article written by German reporter Jurgen Todenhofer who visited the Islamic State for 10 days claims that ISIS fears the Israeli army more than any other. "They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them," Todenhofer said. "They think they can defeat US and UK ground troops, who they say they have no experience in city guerrilla or terrorist strategies. But they know the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting against guerrillas and terrorists."
Regardless of ISIS's fear of starting a war with Israel, the hatred of the Jews has been Baghdadi's ace in the hole all along. He knows it is the one thing that all Islamic terrorist organizations the world over can agree upon and rally behind (not to mention all neo-Nazi and racial supremacist groups as well). The blood of an infidel may be nice, but the blood of a Jew, now that really gets terrorists excited. The Islamic State leader must be getting desperate if he's finally resorting to this time-honored technique.
Too bad for Baghdadi, he's failed to learn from history. Sure, the outspoken hatred of the Jews can often times get someone into a position of power -- as the Talmud itself teaches, "Whoever harasses the Jews will find followers who make him a leader." But Baghdadi, and all the other haters of Israel, have failed to realize that every single one of those nations who persecuted and attempted genocide against the Jew, in the end faced calamity and destruction and are lost to the dustbin of history. And the Jews throughout it all have always managed to survive with each adversary they overcome, albeit with sacrifices far too numerous to justify the victorious outcome.
It has often been said that ISIS is a group of people who want to take the world back to the dark ages. I disagree. ISIS is a group of creatures who through their brutality have erased the image of God from their countenance and no longer resemble anything human. And the West needs to understand that an international ground troops coalition against them is a non-negotiable necessity before this disgusting cancer metastasizes and more innocent people die in the most gruesome way.
Shmuley Boteach is the international best-selling author of 30 books, winner of The London Times Preacher of the Year Competition and recipient of the American Jewish Press Association's Highest Award for Excellence in Commentary. He will shortly publish The Israel Warrior's Handbook.