But apart from them, did anyone else celebrate?
Well, I can think of quite a few people. In my country, Argentina, many people reacted with feelings that ranged from approval to outright exultation upon seeing the towers fall. I was perplexed to watch the newscasts that afternoon and learn about the "deep grief" of the Argentinian people at the news, and their solidarity with the Americans. My foot. But then I remembered that Argentina is a civilized country where the truth is conditioned by political correctness. That's why there was no candy handout, and not a word on the newscasts about the Argentinians' true opinions about the attack -- opinions anyone who listened to conversations in bars could have reported.
But more to the point, there were Israelis who were very happy that the World Trade Center had been attacked.
Although it may sound like one more conspiracy theory to claim that five Israelis were seen filming the burning towers and celebrating, in this particular case it looks like it really happened. Two of the Israelis were suspected of being spies. One of them, Sivan Kurzberg, was photographed by his colleagues smiling with the towers in flames in the background and holding a lit lighter in his hand, as is customary in pop music concerts when a performance is particularly enjoyed.
Of course they were private individuals; no one's claiming that they were sent by the Israeli government to record the incident. But the question remains, how could any Israeli be happy that Israel's foremost ally was attacked? What explanation could there be?
Enter Binyamin Netanyahu, former PM of Israel and a firm candidate in the upcoming elections. On 12 Sep 2001, he had this to say on page A22 of the New York Times:
Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, “It’s very good.”
Living, like me, in the hypocritical civilized world, Netanyahu immediately understood the potentially catastrophic consequences of his Freudian slip in terms of PR. So that the NYT story goes on to inform us:
Then he edited himself: "Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy." He predicted that the attack would "strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we've experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror."
He elaborated on the idea a bit more unabashedly in April 2008, when talking not to the Western press, but to Israeli students, before whom PC is not so conditioning:
The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.
"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor."
So that we have a few irrelevant Palestinians in the street celebrating 9/11, and a very relevant Israeli politician also celebrating 9/11, but you've always heard about the former in the US media, and never about the latter (except in the chaotic first week, in which Netanyahu's words slipped into the NYT's print edition). After dismissing the antisemitic theory that the Zionists have any control of any kind over what the press reports, I'm left wondering what the reason could be for the unequal treatment of equally jubilant reactions to the fall of the Twin Towers.