It’s been almost two days since the terrible event of Friday night. As opposed to so many who posted so quickly whether on Twitter, Facebook in articles I have not felt competent to sort out my feelings, and try to write something that makes sense until now. I am still not ready to write an article for Newsweek, although I will play with some ideas and themes that I might expand into an article for Newsweek tomorrow or the next day. On the personal level it was a very strange night, we had over for Shabbat dinner close friends, one of whom was German and over the course of dinner we had a heated discussion on politics, including the seemingly unstated IDF policy of killing all knife-wielding terrorist, I can still hear one of our other friends saying to our German friend, that if there was terror in European streets she might feel different.
About 2 hours after our guest left word of an attack on Paris suddenly spread and I spent the next few hours glued to Israeli TV as events unfolded.
Last night I briefly attended a rally in Rabin Square held in solidarity with the people of Paris. As I was walking to the rally, it dawned on me that the last rally that I attended that had to do with France- was one I helped organize in the early 70’s against French President Pompidou and his policies towards Israel. A strange feeling
I must admit I still have not gotten my head around the barbarity. I have in the past compared ISIS to the Nazis and I think that comparison is even more valid. There is something very inhuman of gunning down, one by one innocent people just because they are different. While a bomb can kill as many, and certainly blowing up a plane or crashing it into a building can kill more, there is something very chilling about people who can just kill innocents men and women without the smallest sign of compassion.
A few random or not so random thoughts. I really cannot stand all the posts by fellow Israelis who keep on posting something to the effect that they are certainly sympathetic to the French, but why is the whole world condemning this and not condemning Palestinian terrorism. While I certainly do not condone Palestinian attacks especially those against civilians, there is certainly a big difference. Most of their recent attacks have been against soldiers, which I hardly would classify as terrorism. But even their terror attacks have thankfully been on a whole different level, not the mass planned killing that took place in Paris. I know it’s not for trying, but they cannot pull it off thankfully. Finally, as much as we find their terror attack abhorrent, and as much as I think there is no diplomatic solution possible now, we cannot ignore the fact that we are occupying them. Who exactly is occupying Paris?
That is not to say that there is not a link, and that link I am afraid is Islam. Events in the last few days have a very clear link. The only reason we have been at war for the last 65 year is that the Arabs of Palestine in 1947 refused to accept the UNSCOP recommendations and agree to the partition of Palestine. If they had our history would have been very different. The Arabs refused to compromise- they believed that the whole land was theirs and so they saw no need to agree to partition. This problem has been endemic in conflicts in the Middle East and partially explains the many wars on one hand and the many terrorist attacks, on the other hand, involving Muslims. It’s not that Islam is in itself bad, however when Islam and politics meet, as they do in much of the Middle East one is suddenly dealing with absolutes in relations between nations and peoples. One is suddenly dealing with the word of god and once that happens no man may compromise for god. Of course, we have similar zealots and they are equally dangerous to us, but at least until now they have not controlled our government.
One final thought Friday’s night attack is going to have a profound impact on the concept of Europe without borders. Gone for the moment at least is the open borders that transformed Europe, the French are not going to rely on the Greeks and the British will not rely on the Italians to make sure that everyone entering Europe is properly vetted. Furthermore despite all the noble talk about not allowing the events to impact that policy towards refugees, there is no doubt it will. Already Poland which did not want to take any refugees has used this as an excuse to say it will not take any, and many other countries that agreed are now going to be under severe political pressure to refrain from taking any more refugees.