Two heads belonging to the same monster: This is the way a significant portion of the world saw America and Israel on September 11, 2001. On television that day, we watched people jump to their deaths to escape the flames engulfing the World Trade Center. But if you switched channels, you could watch a very different scene: Palestinians of both sexes and all ages dancing in the streets to celebrate al-Qaeda's killing of almost 3,000 human beings. For the celebrants, the attack was first and foremost a blow to Israel's most important ally. And Palestinians were not the only ones celebrating.
Ten years later, the Obama White House has issued "guidelines" setting a tone for the American government's commemoration of September 11 at home and abroad. This tone, administration officials told the New York Times, "should be shaped by a recognition that the outpouring of worldwide support for the United States in the weeks after the attacks turned to anger at some American policies adopted in the name of fighting terror—on detention, on interrogation, and the decision to invade Iraq." To assuage this anger, U.S. officials would emphasize America's kinship with "all victims of terrorism, in every nation of the world, . . . whether in New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, Lahore or London."