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Op-Ed: Toulouse's Jews Have Been Forgotten

Jews are a visible target but an invisible victim.
Published: Friday, March 21, 2014 12:21 PM



Jewish victims of terrorism are like a cancer: nobody wants to talk about it, feeling a kind of guilty shyness, a secret shame.
The day after the murderous attack, many held signs saying “We will never forget”. But two years after the carnage, Toulouse's Jews have been forgotten. The nihilistic and hypocritical strategy of silence worked very well, just as it did with the Israeli victims of terrorism.

It’s as if the little Jewish victims, a rabbi and three children, never existed.

The human rights groups, civil society, the chattering classes, the political milieu stood silent in the face of this newest killing spree of Jews.

International newspapers and television stations did report the tragic news from southern France, the most tragic since the Second World War. But now it is all gone.

Because the West has decided that terrorism against the Jews is a depersonalized violence that merits minor media coverage.

It happened with the Fogels in Itamar as well.

It also happened with Stefano Gay Tache, the Jewish boy killed by Palestinian Arab terrorists in 1982. A placard celebrates his name and memory in the old Roma's ghetto. But nothing more.

It happened during the Holocaust. In Ponari and Chelmno, where Jewish fathers and brothers and sons were forced to dig up the remains of their loved ones so they could be burned in huge open air incinerators, the bodies were called schmattes, “rags.” Things had to be done without describing them, without naming them.

At Sobibor, the bodies had been thrown into mass graves with their heads facing downward, like herrings. Withered and dry, they crumbled like clay when touched. The Jews were forced to dig with their hands, and the Germans would not allow them to use words like “dead” and “victims”; they were called “figures,” and they no longer had names or faces.

Anti-Semitic cowards have always used violence against the Jews without even claiming it.

It was the responsibility of French Jewish writers and intellectuals to carve the name of Toulouse's Jews in the living flesh of Europe's bad conscience. But they failed. “Juif allemande” such as Daniel Cohn Bendit were busy appeasing the Jews' enemies at Europe's parliament and comparing “settlements” to terror.

In the most influential quarters of France, Jews are still regarded as an apostate group, not entitled to defend itself from genocidal terrorism. The Jewish victim must accept not only its fate of being murdered, but also of being swallowed in the accompanying amnesia.

Jewish victims of terrorism are like a cancer: nobody wants to talk about it, feeling a kind of guilty shyness, a secret shame.

In Toulouse there was not only the identification of Israel with evil; they assigned the symbol of good to "Palestine". Israel liberated the European conscience from culpability for anti-Semitism and the Shoah, allowing it to forsake the memory of the Jews killed by Muslim terrorists on Europe’s soil. 

This is the meaning of the cycle of violence and silence in Toulouse. That Jews are visible as a target to the Islamic terrorists and invisible to the supposedly innocent Western bystanders.

1944-2014: where is the difference? Just that Mohammed Merah took the place of Klaus Barbie.