This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," January 10, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," terror in Paris. As Islamic jihadists set their sights on Western targets and West principles, what the changing nature means for the threat here at home.
Plus, the 114th Congress convenes with talk of common ground, but does this week's leadership fight and President Obama's veto threat signal politics as usual as Washington gets back to business.
And a battle in the Big Apple. As New York's finest stage a work slowdown, what the mayor can do to mend fences.
Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Terror in Paris this week after heavily armed French nationals stormed the offices of the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, on Wednesday, killing 12, including the editor, in the deadliest terror attack on French soil in more than a decade. The massacre and two ensuing hostage crises follow a string of plots foiled in the U.K. and France and elsewhere, and serves as a stark reminder of the changing and deadly nature of the jihadist threat in the West.
For more, I'm joined by Wall Street Journal Global View columnist, Bret Stephens; and editorial board member, Dorothy Rabinowitz.
So, Bret, in some sense, this is similar to other attacks. There have been many over the years since 9/11. In another sense, it's different. It resonates in a more horrifying way because of the direct assault on people for criticizing Islam, for exercising free speech. In that sense, it's a direct assault on Western values.
BRET STEPHENS, GLOBAL VIEW COLUMNIST: Yeah. And maybe the media is paying more attention because of the direct assault on a media institution. Paul, it's a reminder that terrorism doesn't spring because of terrorist objections or militant objections to Western policies in the Middle East. It springs for a deeper reason, which is a deep ideological, even civilizational clash. These terrorists, who assaulted the offices of Charlie Hebdo, were inspired by a political ideology of Islamism that seeks domination over the West, which categorically rejects not Western policies but core Western values, like democracy, like liberalism, like freedom of speech, like the right to provoke the sensibilities of an audience without being shot as a consequence.
GIGOT: I think Ayim Ershacli (ph), she has been a target of death threats herself, wrote, in our pages a point about this, this is rooted in this political ideology, that the challenge is a political ideology rooted in Islam. Is this event and others, the Peshawar event where the massacred those children at point-blank range --
DOROTHY RABINOWITZ, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Yes.
GIGOT: --are these episodes going to change the nature, the debate in the United States about Islam? Are we going to be willing to address in a more forthright fashion that Islam has a problem?
RABINOWITZ: I think that you can't help that. Nobody can stop the fact that citizens are sitting around feeling in their breast and their heart in France and in the United States what is going on here. No matter what the constraints are that we keep getting, I have to say that you'll be surprised to learn that in the midst of all of the bloodletting we became instantly the objects of warning and ministerial urgings not to become hostile, not to have a backlash. This is the kind of thing that shows us how desperately the effort has been undertaken to keep from confronting the Islam issue.
GIGOT: This is not to say, to tar all Muslims --
RABINOWITZ: Of course, not.
GIGOT: -- with these kinds of beliefs. But el Sisi, the president of Egypt, said this week -- maybe it was on the weekend -- in a speech to clerics, that Islam itself can't be the enemy. How has it been that Islam has become in the minds of so many the enemy of the world?
STEPHENS: Right --
GIGOT: It needs a revolution?
STEPHENS: It was a really landmark speech to the religious clerics at al Azhar University, which is the center of Sunni Islamic learning. And he said, how is it that 1.6 billion Muslims now terrorize the world? And he went to the core of the problem, which is that there is a problem among religious clerics in doing any kind of theological interpretation or modernization of Koranic scripture, of Islamic scripture, that this cannot be a religion that becomes a license for fanatics of the kind that attacked "Charlie Hebdo" to do whatever they please, to terrorize the rest of the world. So it's the first time you're seeing a major Muslim leader put the challenge to Muslim clerics that there needs to be a reformation, dramatic reformation in the Islamic religion.
STEPHENS: It really hasn't happened before.
RABINOWITZ: Look, this isn't doing -- going to be cutting any ice with hoards -- with the hoards of Islamic fanatic armies like you see operating in France now, because they are on their own. They are in a competition to kill. They are also the exponents of a kind of power drive that really is political zealotry above Islam. Islam is the medium. They are going to be -- we are an army of political winners, essentially.
STEPHENS: And that's being turbo charged by the fact that the Islamic State, or caliphate, has now taken root in Iraq, in Syria. There's, I think, a real perception of a West in disarray, in retreat. Al Qaeda certainly not on a path to defeat. So these guys feel like they are winners.
GIGOT: And that success is mobilizing, could be mobilizing a new wave of attacks and militant soldiers in the West. There are 40 million Muslims in the West, Europe and United States, elsewhere. And Ral Garrett (ph) wrote in our pages about something he called the "new charismatic jihad," which is the fact that people, these young men in particular, look at Islamic State and its successes and, you know what, the West is losing, the future is ours, so we need to join that fight in the streets of the West.
RABINOWITZ: Yes. But let me just say, Paul, we've been brought to this day largely by the fact that the West has quelled, has retreated from this threat. What have we heard? We've heard about the lack of integration. We've heard about these great big --
GIGOT: Integration of Muslims in the West.
RABINOWITZ: Integration. Let's just remember that 9/11 was committed by very wealthy sons. The British attacks --
GIGOT: Second-generation --
RABINOWITZ: Second-generation Muslims in Britain blew up all the subways. They were teachers and sons of merchants. And yet, we had an instant and continuing tirade of, "It's our fault." But it is not our fault. It is their fault. And that focus has been continually shoved to one side. The president failed even to mention Islam in his genuine outpouring of concern. What can this mean?
GIGOT: Yeah. We need more Western self-confidence about our values, more forthright honesty --
GIGOT: -- about the nature of Islam so there can be a debate in Islam about its own fanatics. And we need to go after Islamic State in a much more assertive and comprehensive way.
STEPHENS: Right. Look, "Charlie Hebdo" was all about being politically incorrect. We need to be a little politically incorrect in our own thinking about the nature of the threat we face.
GIGOT: All right, thank you, both.