Why Is Iran Obsessed With Israel? Just Ask Willie Sutton

In this week’s column we will deal with laws — specifically two laws: the first well-known, the second less so. When considered, they shed light on the world today — literally today, as I write this on Sunday morning, the 15th of February.

Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty, eponymously named for its discoverer, the Nobel Laureate Werner Heisenberg, is a law of physics that, in plain talk, describes the near impossibility of knowing where a particular atomic particle is located because as general knowledge of the position of an object increases, the less certain is its movement and, conversely, the greater the knowledge of an object’s movement, the less clear its position. Because the particular particle is perpetually in motion, it is virtually impossible to find. Locating it is best described as “random.”

The second law, known as Sutton’s law, is also named after a famous (in this case, infamous) individual. The law, which states that first the obvious should be considered, is named after the bank robber Willie Sutton, whose obsession with money was legendary. After Willie was caught, while being interrogated by an FBI agent, he reputedly replied to the question, “Willie, why do you rob banks?” by saying, “Because that’s where the money is.”

In Heisenberg’s law, though the object is identified the location is at issue; Sutton’s law ties the two, object and location, together.

Where the terrorists seem to have a big advantage over U.S. President Obama is that while the president may know the location of terrorist attacks, he can’t seem to identify “the particulars of the object,” while the terrorists identify both object and location, following Sutton’s Law:

If you want to kill journalists who blasphemed the founder of Islam, go and shoot them in the Charlie Hebdo office; if you want to kill Jews, go where the Jews are: a kosher supermarket just before Shabbos or a synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, during a bat mitzvah celebration, as was the case in this Shabbos’ tragedy.

In an interview last week, President Obama implausibly attributed the killings to “a bunch of violent vicious zealots,” who “randomly shot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.” It is possible that gentiles were shopping there and could have been killed as well, much like the case at Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Kansas in which all three people killed were Christians. Neither the gunman in Kansas nor the Muslim terrorist, Ahmedy Coulibaly, in Paris go to their respective sites to kill the “random” gentiles there. Coulibaly called a French TV station from HyperCacher supermarket and stated unambiguously he was an al-Qaida terrorist and that he chose the kosher supermarket because he wanted to kill Jews. To any reasonable person this would indicate that Jews were explicitly targeted. However to the hubristic president of America, Barack Obama, the four Jews were “a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris” and were “randomly shot.”

It is dumbfounding how Obama doesn’t seem to realize what the terrorists know: There are certain places where Jews around the world congregate and attacking those places exponentially increases harming Jews, making the act anything but “random.” Call it the “Jewish Certainty Principle.”

Tellingly, in Obama’s statement about the HyperCacher massacre, he not only refused to label the victims as killed for being “Jewish,” he described the terrorists as “a bunch of violent vicious zealots,” steadfastly refusing to identify them as Islamic Jihadists or Muslim terrorists. It seems the only group Obama has no qualms singling out for condemnation, as he did at the National Prayer Breakfast, are Christians — from the Crusades a millennium ago.

In Obama’s worldview there is no real threat to Jews specifically as Jews, and there is certainly no threat from Muslims specifically as Muslims. The world, to the putative “Leader of the Free World,” is comprised of “random” victims (unless of course they are young African-American men killed by white police officers in the line of duty) and terrorists without identities.

It is this myopia of President Obama’s that compels Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address a joint gathering of the U.S. Congress on the topic of Iran’s nuclear status. Though the president may not view Iran as an existential threat, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israel’s leader, has no choice but to take the Iranian promise of “wiping Israel off the map” seriously, because Iran is like Willie Sutton, and knows the location of its obsession.


Meir Solomon is a writer, analyst, and commentator living in Alon Shvut, Israel, with his wife and two children. He can be contacted at msolomon@Hamodia.com.