Who Will Stand Up for the Jews of Toulouse?
Dear Friend of FLAME:
As you are no doubt aware, a gunman killed three children and a rabbi last week at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. The French authorities have now apprehended and killed this assassin, a young Muslim man they believe was trained by the Taliban and also had connections to al-Qaeda. Not only did the gunman drag one of his young victims around by her hair before murdering her execution-style, but he also filmed the attack.
What continues to be appalling in the aftermath of this tragedy is the persistence of inflammatory and false reporting about Jews and Israel in the media. Recently a United Nations employee tweeted a photo allegedly showing a Palestinian child killed by recent Israeli air strikes in Gaza. The photo was a fake, actually taken more than three years ago. Once a retraction is issued and even if the employee is fired---as she should be---the impact on world opinion remains and the damage has been done. Israel and Jews are vilified once again.
Even after the events in Toulouse, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Baroness Catherine Ashton compared the murders of four innocent Jews to "what is happening in Gaza." Again, the requisite retraction of said statement occurred and naturally Ashton also subsequently strongly condemned the Toulouse attacks, but the damage of her initial comments remains---another public figure openly displaying her biased thoughts. What would her response have been if the situation were reversed---if a Jew had killed Muslim children? Would she have compared it philosophically to Palestinian murders of a Jewish family in the West Bank? Hardly. It is high time to call this form of bias what it is---pure anti-Semitism.
In fact, any comparison or comment hinting that Israel may be targeting Palestinian children in Gaza is a form of anti-Semitism. A recent editorial in The Commentator succinctly points out the baseless nature of these claims:
These are very scary times in Europe, and we are scarcely 60 years removed from the attempted annihilation of the Jewish people. As the Simon Wiesenthal Center reports:
As Holocaust survivor and author Eli Wiesel argues in this week's FLAME Hotline, in the aftermath of the Toulouse tragedy perhaps the only truly effective response available to us is "to remain Jewish and do everything to become more Jewish."
May Wiesel's brief but moving article below inspire each of us, Jew and non-Jew alike, to rise to this occasion to increase our support of Israel. I urge you to pass these powerful thoughts along to friends, colleagues, and fellow congregants using the "send to a friend" button at the bottom of this email, or using the buttons above to share it via social media.
Thanks for your continued support of Israel, and thank you for your support of FLAME.
The Tragedy in Toulouse
Will the hatred of the Jews ever finally vanish? Will Jewish children always be in danger?
This time, a murderer slew four Jews: a teacher and three young children.
When a blood-thirsty Jew-hater wants to kill Jews, he goes first to the Jewish schools. Jewish children are his primary target.
It's always been this way. This is what Pharaoh, King of Egypt did, what Hitler did. And this is what happened now.
This is the background to the tragedy that occurred in the French city, Toulouse.
I have visited that city many times. The Jewish community there is old and well-established – it dates back to the Middle Ages – but it is dynamic.
In the streets, you can see Jews wearing yarmulkas. Nobody thinks of anti-Semitism. Spiritually, it is one of richest Jewish communities in France.
Obviously, the terrible murderous attack evoked tears and rage among both Jews and non-Jews. The President, his ministers, and other political figures in France, as well as all the newspapers, have demanded that the murderer be found and punished.
It often happens like this. Jewish blood is spilled and, temporarily, sympathy for Jews grows; the world warms to them.
But the pain does not go away, nor does the anger. We think about the martyrs: Rabbi Yochanan Sandler, his sons Aryeh and Gavriel, and Miriam Monsonego. We say, as is Jewish tradition: "May G-d avenge their blood." That will be the response from Above.
Our own answer must be concrete and to the point. When we are persecuted, our response must be: We will remain Jewish – and do everything to become more Jewish.