When they came for the Communists, I did not say anything. I was not a Communist.
When they came for the trade unionists, I did not say anything. I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews, I did not protest. I was not a Jew.
When they came for the Catholics, I did not protest. I was not a Catholic.
Then they came for me. And there was no one left to protest.
Martin Niemöller, German pastor and theologian
When I think of the recent events that occurred in France, I have in mind the maxim of this German pastor. Before World War II, he admired Hitler regime, but when Hitler wanted to submit the German church, Martin Niemöller asked all pastors who are unwilling to accept Nazi ideology to gather in order to create the Pfarrernotbund (Emergency League pastors). But it was too late. He was interned in Dachau in 1941. The “decent people,” as himself and others did not react in time. In France, it is similar.
The Jewish community in France has continued to warn the government and their fellow citizens about what would happen.
After the massacre of Ilan Halimi in 2006, the President of the Central Consistory (the organization that governs Jewish life in France) said: “First they attack the Jews, after, will come the turn of the others.” A similar message was given after the killings of Toulouse and Brussels. But no one has deigned to listen to this warning.
After Cast Lead and Protective Edge operations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the same thing: “after attacking Israel, Islamists will tackle the rest of the West.” But no leader took him seriously.
After the attack against the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, on January 7, the French Jewish MP Meyer Habib said (1), in essence, that supporting the Palestinians as they use the terrorism for weapon was not going to appease the Middle East but to allow the import of the conflict in France. Elected officials and political activists have called for his resignation.
The same day, I published in the French press an article denouncing the mainstream media disinformation (2). When the Kouachi brothers, the terrorists who massacred the editorial team of Charlie Hebdo, ran away, their first vehicle was found, crashed into an iron pole, rue de Meaux, in the nineteenth arrondissement. On all the pictures posted online by news agencies, we can see the killers’ vehicle, on the side, but we ignored that behind the post installed there to protect the pavement is a kosher restaurant! Without this post, Jewish families could have been killed, crushed, as the civilians waiting for the tram in Jerusalem.
And not to mention the fact that this restaurant is 100 meters from the largest Jewish school in Paris. Fortunately, the terrorists fled in another direction, avoiding a potential carnage. My article and my photos that prove my argument have not found any echo in the mainstream press. And many readers accused me of wanting to “fabricate Jewish victims as there is no connection between Charlie Hebdo’s affair and anti-Semitism”.
This Friday, on January 9, before the hostage attack in the grocery HyperCacher in eastern Paris, I published a second warning report (3). In this paper, I evoked again the slaughter of Thursday, January 8, at Montrouge, a suburb located at a gate of Paris. Amedy Coulibaly (later identified as the terrorist of the kosher supermarket) was in the car when he had a little accident. Panicked, he got out of his vehicle, grabbed his Kalashnikov and killed a policewoman; before fleeing the scene. According to several testimonies and documents I collected, I could prove that the intention of Coulibaly was certainly to commit a slaughter in the Jewish school of Montrouge, located 50 meters from where the policewoman was killed. She was in charge of the road safety for children who went to school at 8.30am. Without this accident, Coulibaly would probably have targeted Jewish children. But once again, no one took seriously my information.
So I tried to be symbolic and to explain that “I Am Charlie” is written in Hebrew: אני שארלי. With the same letters in a different order, we get “I Am Israel”: אני ישראל. But this “does not mean anything” to the French who do not understand our pictograms and the importance of my message: “those who attack Charlie also attack the people of Israel.” (4)
Finally, a kosher supermarket was targeted. And Jews died. They were shopping before Shabbat. They died because they were Jews. But in the mind of non-Jewish French, I have the feeling that it changes nothing. We will never see the French and other nations choose the hashtag “I am Ilan Halimi” or “I am the Fogel family” (massacred in Itamar) or “I am the Sandler Family” (massacred in Toulouse). We do not see non-Jewish people on the streets as a sign of solidarity towards us, as they have done throughout the world for Charlie.
The Jews, whether one like it or not, are Jews before being French citizens. And it means something that on Twitter, Friday, we could read messages like “well done for the Jews!”
So when I hear the Jews say, “at least with these attacks, perhaps the French will understand,” I answer no. The French cannot understand. Jews can shout, alert, prevent again and again: their words are identical to dolphins’ ultrasound: inaudible to other nations.
Tonight however, I have a thought for the police officers who are ready to sacrifice their lives to save others. And I have an even stronger thought for Clarissa Jean-Philippe, the policewoman of Montrouge, who certainly saved many lives of innocent Jewish children without even knowing it. May her story be a model and make France finally understand why so many Jews are leaving Paris, Lyon or Marseille, for Canada, the United States and especially Israel.