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What will not be said

This is a guest post by Paul M

The year in Paris is winding down the same way it started, with multiple, linked atrocities against civilians. It’s too soon to have all the details and we don’t know which particular subhuman sect is responsible this time*. Most of the journalism, a lot of real & virtual ink, is yet to come. Still, it’s a safe bet that certain things will not feature in the coming news.

The BBC, Time and CNN will not lean on the tired, dishonest euphemism “militant”. They might even find that this is a time when “terrorist” is appropriate**, though so far they’re all going with “attacker”, which at least implies actual aggression.

Neither Ban Ki-moon nor the leaders of Europe and America will be calling for “all sides to show restraint”, nor will they want to discuss a cycle of violence. No one is going to accuse France of a disproportionate response (even though M. Hollande within hours declared a state of emergency, sealed the borders and swore to respond “without mercy”) and no UN investigation will take statements from aggrieved Syrians or France’s neglected and discriminated-against Muslim minority.

No governments, NGOs or respectable media outlets will suggest that France, as by far the stronger, richer and better-armed party, must offer concessions to its enemies as the only way to achieve peace.

Am I making comparisons with the way the world responds to Israel’s struggle against terrorism? Yes, of course. Isn’t it bad taste to make this about Israel at a time like this? Yes again. It’s completely tasteless but perhaps that’s too bad, because it’s necessary. It may be only at a time like this that Europe, in particular, stands a chance of being able to recognise the hypocrisy, injustice and self-harm that it inflicts by its discriminatory treatment of the Jewish state. Only when there’s blood in its own streets might it understand that it’s in exactly the same fight. While Paris’s tragedy is not all about Israel, it is also about Israel. Decades of excusing, justifying and flattering haters, of denying motives and downplaying effects, of buying off terrorists and appeasing bullies, has not only cost Israeli lives but validated the methods that are now coming back home to Europe, and the fight is going to be that much harder when Europe has spent the past 50 years refining the arguments and sharpening the weapons that have been used to counter every defence Israel has tried to use.

This is not schadenfreude; there’s no pleasure in France’s pain, no grim triumph. My thoughts and sympathy are completely with the French people. Jews overwhelmingly will be wishing France well and safely through this. Israel will be offering not only sympathy but whatever practical support it can. Jews en masse have consistently sided with western, liberal democratic values against their brutal enemies, not only because we would be the first victims but because that is the just cause. It would be so refreshing if Europeans would repay the compliment. If it’s too much to hope that they would do it out of idealism, at least let them understand that it’s the same ideology of hate that is gunning, literally, for both of us, two fronts in the same war.

* It’s ISIS. Quelle surprise.
** They have.