New Word


Instead of homicide bomber, which I think sounds ridiculous already, let’s use a more accurate ridiculous sounding word: “Islamikaze.” Jay Nordlinger, currently in Israel, explains

Meet one more person, before signing off for today — Raphael Israeli, a professor at Hebrew U. He is a specialist on the Arab world, and on the Chinese — a broadly educated man, holding various degrees, speaking various languages. Born in Fez, he came to Israel at 14.

He is whimsical on the subject of expertise. He knew a once-famous Japanologist at Berkeley. This fellow was scheduled to give a lecture on Dec. 8, 1941, titled “Why Japan Won’t Make War Against the U.S.” (or something like that). He did not show up that Monday morning. Asking why, his audience was told, “He has joined the State Department as an adviser.”

Professor Israeli has recently published The Iraq War and a book called Islamikaze: Manifestations of Islamic Martyrology. He does not like “suicide bomber”; he thinks his coinage, “Islamikaze,” is closer to the mark. Why? I will try to summarize, not sure whether I’m doing the argument justice.

The suicide is a) mentally wrecked, b) alone, and c) mourned by his family, who may be slightly ashamed. The Islamikazes are sane, certainly by their standards, PLO standards; they are not alone, but rather organized, affiliated, encouraged; and they are not mourned, but more like celebrated — and their families are proud, honored, not ashamed.

Israeli finds similarities to Japanese kamikazes, who sacrificed and killed for the nation, for ideology, etc. — with this difference: The kamikaze did not target civilians; he targeted warships; the Islamikaze targets almost exclusively civilians.

The professor asks, “Why is this important? Is it just a matter of semantics?” No — because those bent on suicide, individually, you can do nothing about; a suicide-bombing cult, however, you are better equipped to deal with — you go after the machinery of their enterprise. And Israel has done this, with astounding success.

Islamikaze, my new word of the day.

About the author

Erick Erickson
By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

Get in touch

You can check me out across the series of tubes known as the internet.