Skip to main content

Boston reminds us of best and worst of humanity

By Michael Oren, Special to CNN
updated 9:39 AM EDT, Fri April 19, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael Oren: Bombing in Boston sought to instill fear and inflict trauma
  • He says Boston and other communities threatened by terrorism refuse to submit
  • Israeli ambassador to U.S. says both nations know the pain terrorism causes
  • Oren: Remember the victims and refuse to be victimized by terrorism

Editor's note: Michael Oren is Israel's ambassador to the United States.

(CNN) -- The purpose of terror is to terrorize. Though questions remain about those responsible for the attack, the horrendous bombing attack on the Boston Marathon sought to instill paralyzing fear, inflict debilitating trauma and force us to forfeit our freedom. We cannot let terror win.

We -- Americans and Israelis -- live in open societies that enable us to celebrate our freedom. Whether in arts festivals, sporting events, craft fairs or merely playing with our kids in the park, we are upholding those liberties in the face of those seeking to deny them.

Michael Oren
Michael Oren

At the same time, we know that our freedoms must be defended, sometimes by men and women in uniform but most poignantly by people refusing to succumb to fear. We beat terror by refusing to submit.

The people of Boston, who on the day of the bombing were celebrating liberty's birthday, will not submit. Our experience in Israel has taught us that communities and caregivers, police and security forces, elected leaders and volunteers can unite at such times and block the terrorists from achieving their objectives. While taking all possible measures to prevent further loss of life, we adamantly refuse to forfeit our way of life.

Anyone who has suffered the agony of terror knows the pain of the victims and their families as well as the radius of the emotional damage inflicted on countless citizens. We know that at such times, communities can band together and help bind the psychological and physical wounds. When first responders rush through the smoke, risking their own lives to assist the fallen, the healing process begins.

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



And the people of Boston will heal. Still, the democratic liberties that Americans and Israelis enjoy cannot be taken for granted. American security forces and policy-makers face complex challenges. We must appreciate their successes in thwarting many attacks. We will continue to embrace freedom, but we will remain vigilant and resolute.

Reis on Boston's resilience
'They messed with the wrong city'

This attack in Boston reminds us of both the worst and best in humanity. In an act of terror, those responsible destroyed and forever altered the lives of hundreds of people. But, stories of the heroic first responders, the athletes who ran to the hospital to donate blood and the countless other acts of selflessness remind us of the American spirit and its capacity to overcome terror and emerge stronger.

We comfort the bereaved, tend to the hurt and take all precautions. We remember the victims but, standing together, refuse to be victimized.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Michael Oren.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Carlos Moreno says atheists, a sizable fraction of Americans, deserve representation in Congress.
updated 12:25 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
Julian Zelizer says Democrats and unions have a long history of mutual support that's on the decline. But in a time of income inequality they need each other more than ever
updated 12:23 AM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
William McRaven
Peter Bergen says Admiral William McRaven leaves the military with a legacy of strategic thinking about special operations
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
updated 10:43 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
updated 1:22 PM EDT, Sat August 30, 2014
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
updated 9:30 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT