What a tragic, evil joke. A drive-by shooter in the beautiful, almost magical, city of Toulouse, France, murders three Jewish children and a teacher in front of their school. Various VIPs issue statements about how terrible is this deed, how unspeakable.
And yet at that very moment, the next round of murders, the next slanderous and inciting antisemitic lies are being perpetrated by respectable people and institutions. There is no real soul-searching, no true effort to do better, no serious examination about how the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hysteria is paving the way to murder and potentially genocide.
Here are three examples of such deeds in nominally democratic countries-not Iran, not Syria, not Pakistan, where such things are even more intense-but in supposedly rational places.
- The Turkish editor
Meet Mahir Zeynalov, an editor at Today’s Zaman, a Turkish Islamic newspaper that is supposedly moderate. Meet the modern art of tweeting. Here is Zeynalov’s response to the murders:
Gunmen attack Jewish school in France, vandals attack Jewish cemetery in Poland, Jews burn mosques and Quran in Tunisia. What’s wrong?
There are two ways to read this tweet. The more outrageous is this: How can it be wrong for gunmen to murder Jewish children or vandals attack a Jewish cemetery in Poland if Jews are burning mosques and Qurans in Tunisia. One act balances the other.
The other interpretation is this: What a world in which there is so much hatred! Gunmen murder Jewish children, vandals attack a Jewish cemetery, and Jews desecrate mosques and Muslim holy books.
Yet the second interpretation is almost as inciting to violence as the first. We know from many experiences-including Afghanistan right now-that anyone who burns or does anything to a Koran would set off massive riots and bloody killings. And as for burning a mosque, such a deed might well result in the massacre of every Jew living in Tunisia.
Tunisian Jews today are a couple of thousand terrified people who would run in the other direction if they saw a Koran in front of them lest they be accused of looking at it funny. What Zeyanlov has done is called a “blood libel,” a lie that might lead to the murder of Jews.
Now if some Muslim were to take seriously Zeyanlov’s tweet he would feel justified in murdering Jews, say children standing in front of their school.
2. The Dutch cartoonist…
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*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center and of his blog, Rubin Reports . His original articles are published at PJMedia .