This week’s slaughter of the innocents in Toulouse has rightly caused shock and revulsion around the world. Many have found it hard to comprehend how innocent lives could be snuffed out in such a ruthless manner. Yet today there is little doubt that this was a carefully calculated act of multiple murder carried out by a determined Islamist supremacist. The self confessed killer, Mohammed Merah, appears to have had one sole aim: to murder as many Jews as he could get hold of. According to French prosecutor, Francois Molins, the killer “expresses no regret, only that he didn’t have time to have more victims.” He also boasted of “bringing France to its knees”, a comment which lends weight to the theory that he was also the murderer of three soldiers last week.
Yet in the face of such blatant Islamist terror, the EU’s foreign policy maestro, Caroline Ashton, saw fit to draw an absurd level of moral equivalence between children who died in Gaza and the children murdered in Toulouse. In her exact words:
“When we remember young people who have been killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances — the Belgian children having lost their lives in a terrible tragedy, and when we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world — we remember young people and children who lose their lives”.
The reasons why her analogy is both absurd and offensive are almost too obvious to need stating. The IDF has indeed killed Palestinian children in Gaza but never as part of a deliberate policy of cold blooded murder. Civilian casualties occur as a by product of killing terrorists, not as part of a state sanctioned policy of murder, and they largely result from the use by Hamas of human shields. Indeed the only meaningful connection between Toulouse and Gaza is the pervasive stench of Jew hatred that has blown through both places. Palestinian terrorists and Islamist supremacists both obsess about the alleged misdeeds of world Jewry, both revel in a blood soaked cult of death and both groups spread poisonous lies about Jews and Israelis.
Ashton’s false equivalence is scarcely an accidental, off the cuff remark though. It reflects a European political mindset devoid of any moral clarity, a mindset which refuses to see the difference between Israeli self defence and Islamist murder. This is partly because Israel embodies a host of ideals that Europe has long given up on. Israel takes pride in its national story and in the religious ideals that shape the nation; Europe instead has embraced multiculturalism. Israel defends itself robustly against its enemies; Europe prefers appeasement. Israel defends western values and its alliance with America; the EU is embarrassed by alliances and military force, preferring internationalism and treaty making.
Worse, the EU views Israel through the prism of anti colonialism, choosing to depict the Jewish state as an illegal occupier settling the land of others. These problems are exacerbated by the presence of a vocal and radicalised minority of Muslims in a number of European countries. In the face of their relentless intimidation, Europe’s response to events in the Middle East has too often been marked by retreat, cowardice and appeasement. To take one example, during the Mohammed cartoon affair, many of Europe’s leaders condemned newspaper editors in Denmark far more than the jihadis who were causing mayhem across the world. When you throw in the long established policy of Arabism and Europe’s obsessive anti-Americanism, you have a pretty fatal combination.
The EU cannot seem to comprehend the ideological nature of Islamism, just like it refuses to see Palestinian terror as a symptom of Jew hatred.
Given the above, it is probably futile calling for Ashton’s resignation. She embodies an institution marked by a palpable sense of intellectual and moral bankruptcy. It’s surely the EU which should resign.