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A letter to Catherine Ashton

Your reductio ad absurdum diminishes the gravity of all child fatalities, from cot deaths to mass murder

Lady Ashton,


On behalf of the over 400,000 members of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, we express indignation at your utterly insensitive statement to a Palestinian youth group on Monday, immediately following the terrorist atrocity perpetrated at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

The death of any and every child is a tragedy. Nevertheless, you have clustered together the victims of the Belgian bus accident, government massacres in Syria, indiscriminate murder in Norway, unintentional consequences of self-defense against missiles from Gaza, and the deliberate targeting of Jewish children in France.

Your reductio ad absurdum diminishes the gravity of all child fatalities, from cot deaths to mass murder.

Moreover, your comparison between Gaza and Toulouse seems, at best, naive. You are surely aware that Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terror groups deliberately launch their rockets against Israeli cities from schools and mosques in order to attract Israeli counter-strikes. They cynically encourage child casualties for the media, designed to provoke from you and your fellow officials in the Quartet further condemnation of Israeli self defense actions.

Only last week, a photo of a blood-soaked young girl, circulated as a “Gazan victim of Israeli fire,” was exposed as a recycled 2006 picture of a domestic accident victim.

Sadly, photos of the slaughtered French Jewish children are not recycled fakes. The motorbike shooter was videotaped in the schoolyard, dragging an eight-year-old girl by the hair before firing into her head.

Madam, at least your Quartet colleagues had the discretion to condemn the attack for what it was — an assault on Jewish children simply for being Jewish. Whether the perpetrators are inspired by Nazism, the Hamas Charter, the president of Iran or Hezbollah, anti-Semitic pogroms target only Jews.

An axiom of the late Simon Wiesenthal stated that “what starts with the Jews becomes a scourge of general society.” Indeed, security across Europe is now so affected.

As Security Policy and Foreign Affairs Commissioner for the European Union, an apology and withdrawal of your statement is indicated. On the other hand, you may wish to consider renouncing the Security responsibilities of your appointment.


Most respectfully,

Dr. Shimon Samuels

Director for International Relations

The Simon Weisenthal Center


About the Author
Shimon Samuels is Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He has served as Deputy Director of the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, European Director of ADL, and Israel Director of AJC. He was born in UK and studied in UK, Israel, U.S. and Japan.