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Jimmy Carter: The Paris Attacks Were Sort of About Israel, You Know

There is a stubborn school of geopolitical thought that (and I'm simplifying here, but just a little) reflexively traces all forms of violent Islamism back to the "Palestinian problem." Unless and until Palestinians achieve "justice" in the form of their own state -- created after massive Israeli concessions -- the "linkage" theory goes, radical Islam will continue to plague the world.  The Obama administration seems to more or less adhere to this philosophy, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, whose fixation with the peace process as something of an elusive silver bullet has been the subject of much discussion.  This narrative is fatally flawed. Iran's centrifuges aren't spinning on the Palestinians' behalf.  Members of the Pakistani Taliban didn't mow down dozens of school children in response to Palestinians' plight. ISIS didn't seize large swaths of land in Syria and Iraq -- raping, pillaging and murdering along the way -- because of Israel. Boko Haram did not slaughter up to 2,000 villagers in Nigeria (that's two-thirds of the 9/11 death toll) over disputed land in the Middle East. And a historic peace accord wouldn't have stopped gunmen from ruthlessly executing newsmen and editorial cartoonists in Paris. All of those barbaric actions were manifestations of Islamist supremacism, a cancerous ideology that celebrates death and mercilessness. The only pretext the Paris attackers needed to justify their barbarity was the supposed "duty" to exact revenge against satirists who "slandered" their prophet. And yet an infamous anti-Israel activist, who also happened to serve as President of the United States for four years in the late 1970s, remains unflinchingly wedded to his preferred fantasy:

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, appearing Monday on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show," singled out the "Palestinian problem" as one of the causes of the sort of Islamist terror that struck Paris last week. Asked by Stewart if he didn't agree that religion was a mere "pretext" for such attacks, Carter, a long-time critic of Israel's occupation, said, "One of the origins for it is the Palestinian problem, and this affects people who are affiliated in any way with the Arab people who live in the West Bank and Gaza – what they're doing now, what's being done to them. So I think that's part of it."

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I'd love to hear his nuanced explanation of how an Al Qaeda cell's killing spree over the publication of Mohammad cartoons in Western Europe is somehow rooted in "the Palestinian problem."  Perhaps this is simply another "larger truth," into which any set of facts can be awkwardly shoe-horned.  Carter also asserted that Jews may be safer in France than in Israel, a view emphatically not shared by a prominent victim of the Paris attack, who has decided to join the thousands of French Jews who've fled to Israel from the increasingly  fetid breeding ground of anti-Semitism in recent years.  According to one poll, many more French Jews are eyeing a similar exit strategy, thanks to a 
worrying spike in anti-Semitic violence.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- who attended Sunday's massive rally in Paris, despite the French government's overt discouragement -- has invited European Jews to seek safe harbor in the Jewish state.  He also (unsurprisingly) has a much firmer grip on the realities of radical Islam than Jimmy Carter.  And why might many Jews in France be strongly considering emigrating to a country that's unswervingly committed to their safety?  Perhaps the attitudes of an alarming number of their Muslim countrymen have something to do with it:

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Boular said the attacks in Paris were part of a plot masterminded by Jewish conspirators. “The Kalashnikovs, the identity cards the [killers] supposedly left behind, it was all staged,” said Boular, as his friends nodded in agreement. “It was a conspiracy designed by the Jews to make Muslims look bad. We’d rather just stay where we are.” No use arguing. No use pointing out that one of the terrorists murdered four Jews. Conspiracy theories have their own unassailable logic, and this is a world apart from the displays of unity in Paris after the carnage of last week. French newspapers reported that some students in these neighborhoods—as well as other heavily Muslim areas near cities like Lille—refused to participate in Thursday’s national moment of silence for the victims of the terror attacks. One teacher said up to 80 percent of his students didn’t want to observe the silence, and some said they supported the attackers. “You reap what you sow,” a student who refused the moment of silence told his teacher in reference to the terrorists’ victims, according to Le Figaro...A cross-section of young men interviewed in several suburbs last week, including Sevran, Saint-Denis, and Paris’s 19th arrondissement, all spoke of being devout Muslims.

None said they supported the Kouachi brothers or their associate Ahmed Coulibaly, who killed four hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris on Friday, although they all believed the cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine did not have the right to caricature the prophet Muhammad. Many spoke out against Israel and Jews as well as the United States but did not seem to have much of a grasp of geopolitics nor did they appear to be very religious in the traditional sense of the word. Another young man of French-Algerian descent interviewed outside a gas station in the Saint-Denis suburb reacted angrily to a reporter’s presence and demanded to know her religion. “The worst thing is to be atheist,” he said...He also called the Paris terrorist attacks “un complot,” or conspiracy, and launched into a lengthy explanation of the “magical Jews” behind it. They were not ordinary Jews, he said, but a “hybrid race of shape shifters” who have extraordinary abilities. “They know how to get in everywhere,” he said. “They are master manipulators.”

Moment of silence-spurning children, and demented ramblings about "magical Jew shape shifters." Good Lord. Back on the home front, meanwhile, the White House continues its nonsensical and dangerous effort to scrub any link between Islam and violent jihad from American discourse.  How can the West combat a threat that it won't even acknowledge with clear eyes?  I'll leave you with a sobering reflection from the UK's former top Rabbi. “When anti-Semitism begins to hit a continent then that’s a bad sign for everyone. Because the hate that begins with Jews doesn’t end with Jews:”

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