It is true that there was the occasional “I am a Jew” sign during the Paris demonstrations against the attacks (this was in memory of the Jews killed in the kosher deli in Paris). But such signs were like a needle in a haystack, while worldwide, “I am Charlie” was everywhere and “I am a Jew” virtually nowhere.
This is not to downplay for a moment the absolutely horrific nature of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter or to minimize the trauma it brought to France. These were professional journalists and staff, and to gun down 12 of them in broad daylight in the heart of Paris was shocking beyond words.
It is good that millions have rallied against this and it is good that much of the world is finally waking up to the threat of radical Islam.
And it is good that, despite the controversial nature of Charlie Hebdo cartoons – they were certainly even more offensive when attacking Christianity than when attacking Islam – the average person on the street is now saying, “When you attacked them, you attacked me.” (For caveats on this, see here.
Why then didn’t the attack in Jerusalem last November generate more of an outcry, in particular outside the Jewish world?
This too was an attack in broad daylight (it took place during the early morning prayer times at the synagogue), and the murders were just as horrific, with four men slaughtered and 8 others wounded, four of them seriously, as the attackers wielded a gun, a meat cleaver, and knives.
And, in contrast with the murdered journalists, the Jewish men who were cut down had not done anything to provoke their killers.
They were simply saying their morning prayers to God.
In a synagogue.
In a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
The answer, of course, is simple.
They were Jews living in Israel, and as such, their killers somehow had a right to be outraged with them, or, at the least, the murderous rage is somehow understandable.
After all, we are told day and night, Israel is an evil, apartheid state, carrying out genocide against the unarmed, oppressed Palestinians, who have no other outlet for their pent-up frustration than to throw rocks, attack with knives, and blow themselves up in suicide bombings.
And so, even an ultra-Orthodox Jew praying in a synagogue is fair game.
Of course, most people won’t say things so bluntly, but those sentiments are never far from the surface in many parts of the world and some parts of America.
It follows, then, that there is really no such thing as a totally innocent Israeli Jew.
The Palestinian-Israeli controversy even impacted the massive Paris demonstrations, as reports published on January 12th, the day after the rally, indicated that, “French President Francois Hollande conveyed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend asking him not to come to Paris to take part in the march against terror on Sunday.”
According to reports, “Hollande wanted the event to focus on demonstrating solidarity with France, and to avoid anything liable to divert attention to other controversial issues, like Jewish-Muslim relations or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
But once Netanyahu insisted on coming, Hollande said that he would invite Mahmoud Abbas as well, raising a host of other questions in the process.
As a Palestinian journalist pointed out in an open letter to President Hollande, “Your Excellency, many Palestinians nearly fell off their chairs upon seeing their president march at the front row of a rally in your capital to protest against terrorism and assaults on freedom of the media.”
The journalist, too afraid to reveal his or her identity, wrote, “Undoubtedly, you are unaware of the fact that President Abbas is personally responsible for punishing Palestinian journalists who dare to criticize him or express their views in public. Every day we see that the Western media, including French newspapers and magazines, does not care about such violations unless they are committed by Israel.”
But such is the double standard in the world press when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians.
Netanyahu is the evil world leader; Abbas, who hails Jew-slaughtering Palestinians as martyrs – his exact words last week were, “Our Martyrs are torches on the path to victory and freedom” – is hailed as a freedom-loving liberator.
The bottom line is that, for much of the world, there is no such thing as innocent Israeli Jewish blood, and so, shedding that blood, even in a synagogue as people pray, is not as bad as shedding the blood of secular journalists in France.
And perhaps, for much of the world, Jewish blood is not quite as precious as the blood of non-Jews.
I shudder at the very thought, should it be true.