Watching the news coverage of the awful ISIS attacks on Paris this weekend constantly reminded me of how little the world actually cares about Jewish lives. While this is painful to admit, the facts are undeniable.
On March 19, 2012 a radical Islamist terrorist shot up a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. He murdered 4 people that day, including an 8-year-old little girl and two brothers, ages 6 and 3. Outside of Israel, this heinous attack on little kids walking into a Jewish day school barely received any news coverage.
Not even a year ago, 4 Jews were killed by another radical Islamist terrorist at the Hyper Cacher Kosher Supermarket in Paris. The world, however, was much more interested in talking about the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the assault on free speech. Four dead Jews … that wasn’t so important. After all, there were no demonstrations in France or Belgium, let alone world-wide outrage and condemnation, when four Jews were gunned down in cold blood just a few months earlier in Belgium at the Jewish Museum by a French member of ISIS that had recently returned from the fighting in Syria (sound familiar?).
And then there was the reaction on most of the American news networks this weekend when it was discovered that one of the victims of Friday’s terrible attacks in Paris was an American. An innocent American girl studying abroad in Paris for a semester gunned down by a radical Islamist terrorist while she was sitting at an outdoor café. Horrific. American news broadcasters asked the question “what would the Obama Administration do now that it was confirmed that an American citizen, was one of the victims of this terrorist attack?” Good question. Appropriate question. But, sadly, I don’t recall that question being asked when 5 American citizens, including Marla Bennett, a beautiful 24 year old girl who was also a student studying abroad at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, were murdered in July 2002 by a radical Islamist (Hamas) suicide bomber that killed 9 people and injured over 100 others in an explosion set off in a school cafeteria.
I also don’t recall any such query when on November 18, 2014 two radical Islamist terrorists went into the Har Nof Synagogue in Jerusalem and hacked to death four American citizens for the crime of “praying while Jewish.” Frankly, I don’t recall anyone ever asking that question (about what America would do) in response to any of the more than 50 American citizens that have been killed since 1993 by Jihadist inspired terrorism against Jews in Israel. Not once.
Then there is the vast difference in the international response to terrorism against the citizens of Paris versus the citizens of the one Jewish State. After this past Friday’s heinous attacks, President Obama referred to the attacks in Paris as an “attack on all humanity” and he called the attacks an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”
Of course, after Israel suffered its worst month of terrorism in nearly a decade, with 602 separate attacks in the month of October, which led to 12 Israelis being killed and over 80 Israelis being seriously injured (in a country of only 8 million people) President Obama’s reaction was to state that “both sides” need to exercise restraint (yes, according to President Obama and most of the leaders of Europe) Israelis need to be more ‘restrained’ when crazed Jihadist killers — inspired by years of their religious and political leaders preaching to them that Jews are the “sons and daughters of apes and pigs” and that their “filthy feet” are “contaminating al-Aqsa” — are charging at them with a knife; and President Obama further responded to the news of Jews being randomly stabbed in the streets of Jerusalem, Ra’anana, Ramat Gan, etc. by calling on “both sides” to “tamp down rhetoric” that is “fueling the violence.”
Both sides?! Could anyone imagine President Obama calling on the French in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in Paris to “tamp down the rhetoric” and “exercise restraint?” Of course not. It would rightfully be seen as obscene and widely inappropriate for any world leader to say such a thing after France was just attacked by ISIS Jihadists, but somehow when Israel is attacked by Jihadist terrorists, then world leaders feel free to immediately lecture Israel about the need to be “restrained.”
Even after French President Hollande said on Friday night: “[t]o all those who have seen these awful things, I want to say we are going to lead a war which will be pitiless.” no one in the world, including President Obama, urged President Hollande to “exercise restraint.” Of course, it does not take much imagination to envision the outcry from world leaders if any Israeli Prime Minister ever used such rhetoric in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Israel. Even back in March 2002, when over 100 Israelis were killed by radicalized Islamist suicide bombers and hundreds of other Israelis were seriously injured in a single month, the world’s leaders were calling on Israel to be “restrained.” The double standard with respect to Israel and the disregard for Jewish life is so thick; you could (and should) gag on it.
Then there was the AFP (Agence France-Presse) and Wall Street Journal, which both published articles this weekend supposedly providing timelines of all of the terrorist attacks of the last 20 years, with the AFP focusing specifically on Islamist inspired terrorism. While these “timelines” described terror attacks in Spain, France, the United States, India, England, Nigeria, Russia, and practically the entire globe, notably absent from either was Israel. So both AFP and the Wall Street Journal apparently don’t think that any of the over 1,300 Israelis killed in the last 20 years by Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, or Hamas — whose charter provides that “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it” — were actually killed in terrorist attacks. How is that supposed to make a Jew feel?
When according to AFP and the Wall Street Journal, 30 Jews murdered in a hotel banquet hall while they were supposed to be enjoying their Passover dinner is somehow not an act of terrorism. Or that when a terrorist from Islamic Jihad blew herself up in a restaurant in Haifa (the Maxim Restaurant) and killed 21 people (including 4 little kids) that apparently too was somehow not an act of terrorism that warrants inclusion in a timeline of worldwide terrorism. The contempt for Jewish life is palpable.
But what apparently the Wall Street Journal, the AFP, and most world leaders, including sadly the President of the most powerful democracy in the world, still don’t seem to understand, and still have not learned from history, is that what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews. Rapacious illiberal ideologies like Nazism and Salafism (which animates the radical Jihadism of ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, al Nusra Front, etc.) may start out with hating Jews and wanting to kill Jews above all others, but they never end there. They always seek out more death, destruction and domination. Those who are callous to the persecution and murder of Jews do so at their own peril. That lesson should have been crystal clear after WWII. Sadly, it appears that many have forgotten that lesson, and that Jewish lives still don’t matter to most of the world outside of Israel.
Hopefully, the world now wakes up to fight this evil faster than it took the world to realize that it had to be united to fight the scourge of Fascism. The killers that adhere to a radical version of Islam and believe that it’s OK to blow up or stab Jews because Jews are supposedly the “sons and daughters of apes and pigs” and that “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it,” adhere to same evil ideology of the killers that flew airplanes into the Twin Towers on 9-11, blew up buses and trains in London on 7-7, killed over 140 university students in Kenya this past April, and just attacked Paris this past Friday. The sooner the civilized world realizes that Jewish lives do matter and that there is no material difference between the adherents of this grim ideology (no matter who they target first), the sooner the world will put this evil ideology – as we did with Nazism – in the dustbin of history. In the meantime, we Jews, and all those who love freedom and justice, should be grateful that we live in a time where there is at least one State in the world where Jewish lives really do matter. Am Yisrael Chai.