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The Massacre in France, One Day Later

French police suspect ultra-right attacker; meanwhile, election is affected

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Students marching last night in Paris.(Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

UPDATE: A day later, and we know the likely killer is in fact a Muslim man motivated in part by jihadism and specifically anti-Israel hatred. I still stand by much of this post: not all anti-Semitic attacks are motivated by Israel’s actions; Israel’s actions may provoke anti-Semitic attacks, and while it’s fair to consider that likelihood, that by nomeans makes them Israel’s responsibility; Ashton needs to apologize or resign.

French police were reportedly searching for three soldiers kicked out of the army in 2008 over their neo-Nazi sympathies as suspects in yesterday’s dreadful shooting at a Jewish high school in Toulouse, which killed four Jews, including a father—a rabbi and teacher at the school—and two of his children. However, apparently those soldiers are now off the hook. Suspicions remain, however, that the killer was motivated by right-wing politics: The gun used is tied to the nearby murders last week of two dark-skinned, Muslim paratroopers. Given the likely ultra-right provenance of the attack, one wonders if it is a coincidence, as someone suggested on Twitter, that yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence. Here are brief biographies of the victims, including the paratroopers (there was a third killed in a third incident).

At least one commentator sought to make this about Israel. Citing, literally, a few horrible, anonymous Internet commenters, D.G. Myers argued, “The fact that commentators were quick to draw a connection to Israel—Arab commentators on the Jerusalem Post story did the same—reveals an undeniable truth: Anti-Zionism is indistinguishable from anti-Semitism, precisely because all Jews are identified with Israel, for better or worse.” Actually, the undeniable truth it reveals are that some anonymous Internet commenters are horrible.

And some European foreign-policy chiefs. If Catherine Ashton were more naive, she might deserve a pass for her comparison of “young people killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances,” whether it be Toulouse, Syria, or, yes, Gaza. But she’s literally a diplomat. She needs to apologize or resign.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who accepted the dead’s wishes that they be buried in Israel (the family came from Israel, though the father had French citizenship), appropriately cast the incident as a “despicable anti-Semitic murder,” even if he couldn’t also resist noting that the U.N. Human Rights Council was then hosting a Hamas member—not true—and that the U.N. had yet to condemn the attack—it since has.

I’m aware that anti-Semitic hate crimes in Europe ticked up during Operation Cast Lead, and if they were also to do so, say, following an attack on Iran, then that would be evidence of anti-Israel animus playing a role in anti-Semitism. (It’s tricky deciding whether that should count against an Iran attack. I find it extraordinarily distasteful to alter my calculus for the whims of anti-Semitic murderers, but on the other hand, Israel was created in part to deny anti-Semitic murderers, and if the potential for anti-Semitic murder is allowed to factor in favor of a strike, I don’t see why it shouldn’t also be allowed to factor against one.) But not all anti-Semitism is anti-Israel. In fact, if the alleged right-wing shooters are anything like Oslo’s Anders Breivik, they are extremely twisted and evil supporters of the Jewish state.

I think the point was best put by Myers’ colleague John Podhoretz: “Jews are being hunted.” And not in the boonies: France has the largest Jewish population in Europe; Toulouse’s Jewish community is apparently 20,000-strong; and I noted from one photo caption that the city’s mayor is named Pierre Cohen.

Meanwhile, Israeli and French leaders expressed outrage and horror.

Oh yes, and France’s presidential election is in a month, and one of the parties has not-so-distant anti-Semitic pedigree. The Socialist Francois Hollande suspended his campaign, while Marine Le Pen, of the aforementioned Front National, requested the cancellation of an upcoming televised debate. I’ll bet she did. It was left to President Nicolas Sarkozy to address the nation. He spoke beside a memorial to members of the Resistance killed in 1944.

A Look at the Victims of French Attacks [AP]
French Police: Gun Used in Jewish School Attack Tied to Murder of Muslim Soldiers [Haaretz]
The Toulouse Shooting and the Jewish State [Commentary Contentions]
Jews Are Being Hunted [Commentary Contentions]
France Attack on Jews Is Not Just a National Tragedy, But a Political Drama [Haaretz]
Earlier: What To Make of the Oslo Attacker’s Zionism
Is Marine a Different Animal?

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George says:

I don’t buy the Neo-Nazi connection. With national elections approaching why would the Far-rightists virtually sink their chances by being tied to these murders? Who benefits from the defeat of Le Pen? Obviously the reigning party in power and the Islamists.

Yes, George. Sarkozy and Muslims are targeting Jewish children and Muslim paratroopers, because Neo-Nazis, known for their incisive thinking, are to responsible to do so. You cracked the conspiracy!

George says:

Danny boy, very primitive breakdown there. There are many, many people other than Sarkozy in the political elite who have a vested interest in preventing the Rightists from increasing and/or even taking over the government. And let me give you a brief education on the subject of the moslem soldiers killed: Islamic law forbids moslems from fighting against other moslems. Even worse is moslems fighting in an infidel army against other moslems. Are you following the bouncing ball?

The French army has been active in afghanistan and the recent French decision to ban the hijab angered most moslems in France. A dedicated Jihadi would not have any problem killing moslem soldiers in France. In fact, they would be a more worthy target than non-moslem soldiers. So, it could be moslem or it could be powerful people who want to cripple Le Pen and his all

proudjew says:

Not condoning Breivik murders but the people he shot were all youth members of the most anti-israel party in Norway, and one of the most anti-israel parties in Europe who gave support and excuse to every act of murder against israeli civilians by arab terrorists. With Breivik they had opportunity to experience firsthand what israelis have suffered at the hands of arab terrorists.

MonkFish says:

Proudjew, can you provide documentary evidence from unbiased, factual sources to substantiate this heavy charge against the Norwegian socialists?

Abbi says:

Well, that’s kind of old news. Right wing suspect? Wouldn’t that be convenient for everyone. Why is it so hard to accept that Islamists relish killing other Muslim “apostates” almost as much as killing Jews?

George says:

The French police have cornered the suspect and are presently in an armed standoff with him. His first name is Mohammed.


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The Massacre in France, One Day Later

French police suspect ultra-right attacker; meanwhile, election is affected

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