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 for murder and fueling dreams of genocide.
The street thugs, fanatics drunk on the interpretations of Islam they are being fed, and the mentally twisted may be pulling the trigger but the distinguished, the powerful, and the honored are providing the ammunition.
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.
1. 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:
Mahir Zeynalov @MahirZeynalov: 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 to 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.
A Muslim taking Zeyanlov’s tweet to heart would feel justified in murdering Jews, say children standing in front of their school.