Last Sunday the French turned out in millions to march against terror and to pay tribute to the victims of the most recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Suddenly awoken by the Charlie Hebdo massacre to the wave of terror that has been afflicting their Jewish compatriots for years, they poured into the streets, looking aptly somber with their camera-friendly hashtags ready on smart placards.
Heads of state walked arm in arm at the front of the parade, their faces composed in such grief-stricken fashion that they almost managed to look as if none of them had ever voted to establish a state that has as its explicit goal to terrorize and annihilate the Jews of Israel.
Meanwhile, also in the first row of this somewhat unctuous spectacle, maniacally grinning to himself, marched the arch terrorist Abbas, Ph.D. in Holocaust denial, orchestrator of countless murders of Jews, mocking the Jewish victims of the terrorist attacks with his presence.
Why was he there? Terrorist to the bone, he was not marching against terrorism, his very bread and butter.
The answer to why Abbas was invited to the march against terror incidentally also contains,at least partly, an explanation of why the West is currently unable to escape its current predicament of speedily increasing Islamist terror on its own soil.
The most salient part of the answer is also the one that springs most obviously to mind:
The French did not wake up until terrorism hit them hard on the head in the form of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
They did not flood the streets in their millions in sympathy with the small Jewish children, whom Mohammed Merah hunted down and shot through the head in front of their school.
Nor did they react, when some years prior to the killings in Toulouse, Ilan Halimi was slowly tortured to death over the course of three weeks by Muslims in Paris.
The French masses have not risen in solidarity with the countless numbers of French Jews, who have in recent years been subjected to verbal and physical abuse, harassment on the streets and in the school yards, on the metros and in front of Jewish restaurants and even in their own homes.
The French barely noticed, when a march for Gaza this summer nearly ended in a pogrom on a Parisian synagogue filled with Jewish worshippers. They did not protest, when a mob of thousands marched in the streets of Paris, hollering that the Jews did not belong in France.
By not showing much concern for the plight of their Jewish fellow citizens, the French have proved beyond any doubt that egalité and fraternité are just historical slogans.
This is hardly news. When in October 1980 terrorists placed a bomb in a synagogue in Rue Copernic in Paris, four people were killed, two of them non-Jewish passers-by, and ten were wounded. The then prime minister of France, Raymond Barre, had this to say:”They aimed at the Jews and they hit innocent Frenchmen”.
The lack of interest in the fate of Jews is a sign of a sinister and long-lived tendency in the West, namely that of making a distinction between terrorism against Jews and terrorism against everyone else. According to the Western discourse of the past decades, as this has unfolded in mainstream media and among the chattering classes, the terrorism against Jews, especially those who reside in Israel, is a separate matter, something clearly distinguishable from the terror against “innocent” Europeans. This predilection culminated last summer during Iran’s war by its proxy, Hamas, against Israel, when the streets of Western capitals from Paris to Melbourne filled with activists ostensibly demonstrating for peace in Gaza, while at the same time ominously calling for an end to the Jewish state.
Inviting Abbas to the parade in Paris, therefore, was presumably not abhorrent to the French. Abbas mainly aims to kill Jews, and his presence in a march that was – let’s face it – primarily about the Charlie Hebdo massacre, was therefore unproblematic.
It is precisely this adeptness at qualifying terrorism into the kind that is directed against Jews and the kind that is directed against “the innocents”, in the words of Raymond Barre, which enabled the French to host an arch terrorist at their anti-terrorist march without batting an eyelid.
However, while the above explains to some degree the presence of Abbas at the parade, it does not account for everything. Far more alarming for the French themselves are the underlying psychological forces at play in extending an invitation to Abbas. France, along with many other parts of the West, is already exhibiting disturbing signs of the advanced stages of Stockholm syndrome. (The term happens to be almost too ironically apt, since Sweden is already suffering hard from Stockholm syndrome and has practically succumbed to it).
The Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon, in which hostages express empathy and even sympathy with their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. Translated into societal terms, the behavior that results from this syndrome would be known by most people as political correctness, a particularly inept term in this regard. It is not so much policy, as pathology.
Eager to avoid any focus on Jewish-Muslim relations and the Arab-Israeli conflict, Hollande, according to his own national security advisor, Audibert, quoted in Haaretz, asked that Netanyahu not participate. When the latter insisted on coming, the French responded by inviting Abbas.
By inviting Abbas, Hollande clearly signaled that France is still paying homage to the Muslim world; the attack on Charlie Hebdo has not changed anything.
“We still voted for Palestine, remember?” this gesture screams, “We might be demonstrating against terrorism, but we are not demonstrating against your particular kind of Jew-targeting terrorism”. The enemy, radical Islam, has still not been officially identified, newspapers and media outlets all over the Western world were still afraid to print the Charlie Hebdo cartoons (so much for being Charlie) and the real problem (the Islamic radicalization of Muslim youth in the West) is being confused with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Such behavior is pathological and shows that ultimately, the hostages are the French themselves. Living under the delusion that sacrificing Jewish citizens will absolve them of dealing with reality, such as it is in all its ugliness, will only serve to cement the path towards surrender to radical Islam. No amount of appeasement will be able to change that.