The massacre of Jewish children at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse presents us with an appalling encapsulation of the depraved nature of our times – although at first glance, the opposite seems to be the case.
On the surface, the situation was cut and dry. A murderer drove up to a Jewish school and executed three children and a teacher.
Led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, all of France decried the massacre and announced its solidarity with the French Jewish community. World leaders condemned the crime. The killer died in a standoff with French security forces. Justice was served. Case closed.
But dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that justice has not been served.
Indeed, it hasn’t even begun to be addressed. The killer, Mohamed Merah, was not a lone gunman. He wasn’t even one of the lone jihadists we hear so much about.
He had plenty of accomplices. And not all of them were Muslims.
An analysis of the nature of his crime and the identity of his many accomplices must necessarily begin with a question. Why did Merah videotape his crime?
Why did take the trouble of strapping a video camera to his neck and filming himself chasing eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego through the school courtyard and shooting her three times in the head? Why did he document his execution of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two little boys, three-year-old Gavriel and six-year-old Aryeh?
The first answer is because Merah took pride in killing Jewish children. Beyond that, he was certain that millions of people would be heartened by his crime. By watching him shoot the life out of Jewish children, they would be inspired to repeat his actions elsewhere.
And he was surely correct.
Millions of people have watched the 2002 video of Daniel Pearl being decapitated. Similar decapitation videos of Western hostages in Iraq and elsewhere have also become runaway Internet sensations.
Led by Youssef Fofana, the Muslim gang in France that kidnapped and tortured Ilan Halimi to death in 2006 also took pictures of their handiwork. Their photographs were clearly imitations of the photos that Pearl’s killers took of him before they chopped his head off.
The pride that jihadist murderers take in their crimes is not merely manifested in their camera work. US Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who massacred 13 US servicemen at Fort Hood in 2009, showed obvious pride in his dedication to jihad. Hassan gave a presentation to his colleagues justifying jihad. He carried business cards in which he identified himself as an “SOA,” a soldier of Allah.
Similarly, Naveed Haq, the American Muslim who carried out the attack at the Seattle Jewish Federation building in 2006, murdering one woman and wounding another five, bragged to his mother and friend about his crime in monitored telephone calls from jail. Haq boasted that he was “a jihadi” and that his victims deserved to die because they were “Israeli collaborators.”
The exhibitionism common to all the men’s behavior makes it obvious that that their attacks were not the random actions of isolated crazy people or lone extremists. All of these killers were certain that they were part of a global movement that seeks the annihilation of the Jews, the subjugation of the Western world and the supremacy of jihadist Islam. And they were convinced that their actions served the interests of this movement and that they would be viewed as heroes by millions of their fellow Muslims for their killing of innocents.
THIS SITUATION is bad enough on its own. But what make it truly dangerous are the West’s responses to it. Those responses together with the crimes themselves expose the depraved and perilous nature of our times. And they show that Merah’s death can bring no closure to this story.
There are five interrelated aspects to the West’s response to these crimes and the jihadist reality they expose. The first aspect of the West’s response is denial.
Time after time, Merah and his ilk throughout the Western world show us who they are and what they want. And time after time, the Western elites, and even much of the Jewish leadership, turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to their cries of murder and calls for the destruction of Western civilization.
In the case of Halimi’s murder, for instance, Paris police refused to view his abduction as a hate crime. Despite the fact that Fofana and his followers called Halimi’s family and recited Koranic verses while Ilan screamed out in agony in the background, the Paris police treated his disappearance as a garden variety kidnap-for-ransom case.
Even after Ilan was found naked at a rail heading with burns on more than 80 percent of his body and died en route to the hospital, it took French authorities over a week to admit that he had been the victim of an anti-Semitic crime.
On a lesser note, everyone from the media to Jewish communal leaders in the US abjectly refuse to recognize that mainstream Muslim groups like the Muslim Students Association are sympathetically inclined towards Hamas. Moreover, they refuse to recognize that sympathy for Hamas necessarily entails sympathy for Hamas’s genocidal platform of annihilating the Jewish people in the name of jihad.
As David Horowitz wrote in a recent article at FrontPage magazine, Jewish student leaders at places such as the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill prefer to attack messengers like himself, than accept the inconvenient truth that Muslim student leaders on campus with them support the annihilation of Israel.
Ignoring and denying the openly expressed aims of jihadists like Merah is of course only part of the problem. The second aspect of the West’s effective collusion with these killers is Western elites’ justification of their crimes.
After initially pinning the blame for the Toulouse massacre on Nazis, when French authorities finally acknowledged Merah’s jihadist identity, they also provided his justification for murder. Speaking to reporters, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant gave us Merah’s name and his excuse at the same time.
Gueant told us that Merah was associated with al-Qaida and he was upset about what he referred to as Israel’s “murder” of Palestinian children.
It should be unnecessary to note the simple truth that Israel doesn’t murder Palestinian children. Palestinians murder Israeli children.
But then, if Merah got his news from the Western media there is a reasonable chance that he wouldn’t know that.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was rightly condemned by Israeli political leaders this week for her equation of the actual massacre of Jewish children in Toulouse with the imaginary massacre of Palestinian children in Gaza. But she is not alone in this behavior. US President Barack Obama engaged in similarly outrageous libels when during his speech to the Muslim world in June 2009 he compared the Holocaust with Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.
And the line separating these libels from actual incitement is often hard to find.
French television, which Merah no doubt often watched, is notorious for crossing it. It was France 2 that gave us this century’s first anti-Semitic blood libel with its October 2000 tale of Muhammad al-Dura’s alleged death at the hands of IDF soldiers.
The France 2 story was exposed as a fraud by an appellate court in Paris in 2008. The appellate court overturned a lower court’s libel ruling against Internet activist Philippe Karsenty who wrote on his personal website that the al-Dura story was a hoax.
The appellate court viewed France 2’s unedited footage from the scene. That footage showed al-Dura moving after the France 2 cameraman had declared him dead. The footage led the court to overturn the decision of the lower court that had found Karsenty guilty of libel.
Apparently the same French establishment that now declares solidarity with France’s Jews is unwilling to part with the al-Dura hoax that incited the spilling of so much Jewish blood in the past decade. Last month, France’s Supreme Court overturned the appellate court’s ruling and ordered it to retry the case.
As far as the Supreme Court of France is concerned, the appellate court had no right to ask France 2 to provide evidence that its story was true. According to the court, the unedited footage which proved the story was a blood libel should never have been admitted as evidence. The truth should never have been permitted to come to light.
IN ADDITION to denying, justifying and inciting jihadist violence, Western elites and authorities also engage in facilitating it and, after the fact, excusing it. In the case of Merah, although details are still unclear, it has been reported that he underwent jihadist training by al-Qaida in Afghanistan and was apprehended by Afghan authorities.
Despite his ties to al-Qaida, either US or French military authorities decided he should be sent back to France even though he clearly constituted a danger to French society.
Moreover, according to media reports, French authorities knew that he was dangerous and still failed to apprehend him. They had been informed that at least on one occasion, Merah sought to radicalize a 15-year-old Muslim boy. And yet, he was allowed to remain at large.
As the mother of the teenager said, “All these people had to die before they finally arrest Mohamed Merah. What an enormous waste. The police knew this individual was dangerous and radicalized. I complained to the police twice about Mohamed Merah and tried to follow up several times.”
In the US, Hasan’s colleagues and commanders knew of his sympathy for jihad and his connections to jihadist leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. And yet they promoted him to major and sent him to Fort Hood.
The West’s complicity with these jihadist crimes doesn’t end with their perpetration.
After failing to acknowledge that Halimi was abducted by jihadists who murdered him because he was a Jew, French authorities conducted his murderers’ trials behind closed doors. Hidden from public scrutiny, in their first trial, Halimi’s killers were given pitifully lights sentences. Fofana was rendered eligible for parole within 22 years. It was only the outcry of activists within the French Jewish community that caused French authorities to hold a retrial.
In Seattle, Haq’s first trial for his attack on Seattle’s Jewish Federation was declared a mistrial. Seattle’s mayor and media went out of their way to present Haq as mentally ill. The prosecution failed to seek the death penalty and didn’t bother to present the records of Haq’s phone conversations bragging about his crimes until his second trial.
Together, the behavior of proud jihadist warriors of the West like Merah, Hasan, Haq and Fofana, and the depraved silence, indifference and complicity of Western elites with their jihadist aims, form the physical and moral landscape of our time. And it is because of this evil mix of perpetrators and enablers that Merah’s death is not a victory of justice.
Originally published in the Jerusalem Post.