It Was Only a Detail That They Forgot -- The Detail Was Jewish Victims
says a great deal, unfortunately, about what is going
on between Islam, France and the Jews.
Ne pas parler des victimes juives de l'islamisme
en dit long hélas sur ce qui se joue entre l'islam,
la France et les juifs.
David Isaac Haziza, La Regle du jeu
On 31 July 2016, a group of about fifty French Muslims prominent in various secular fields, the academic world, business, medicine, arts & entertainment, journalism, engineering, education, and including a philosopher, high state functionaries, politicians, one of them a former government minister, and so on, signed their names to an ostensibly frank and sincere open letter to the people of France, terribly shocked by the murder of a helpless priest during his worship service. This atrocity came after several years of mass murder terrorism in France perpetrated by Muslims. These Muslims prominent in secular society stressed the need to "finally conduct a cultural battle against radical Islamism" [mener enfin la bataille culturelle contre l'islamisme radical]. But there was something in their open letter or manifesto that did not ring true. Or rather there were certain things missing from it that cast a dark shadow of insincerity over what was stated. No atrocities specifically aimed at Jews were mentioned. Let's look at the first paragraph of their statement:
After the murder of caricaturists [Charlie Hebdo], after the murder of young people listening to music [Bataclan], after the murder of a couple of police officers [Magnanville], after the murder of children, women and men attending the celebration of the [French] national holiday [in Nice 14 July 2016], today [7-31-2016] the murder of a priest celebrating the mass. . . The horror, ever more horror and the now very clear desire to set the French one against the other. [ici et ici]
« Après l’assassinat de caricaturistes, après l’assassinat de jeunes écoutant de la musique, après l’assassinat d’un couple de policiers, après l’assassinat d’enfants, de femmes et d’hommes assistant à la célébration de la fête nationale, aujourd’hui l’assassinat d’un prêtre célébrant la messe… L’horreur, toujours plus d’horreur et la volonté très claire maintenant de dresser les Français les uns contre les autres. » [ici]Where is Ilan Halimi in this statement drawn up by people with very high social status in France? Where is the Sellam young man, a disc jockey, killed in the 2000s? How about the Jewish children in Toulouse and their teacher, the father of two of them? And Hypercacher, which came just two days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre? How can the victims, the Jewish victims of those atrocities be forgotten? But they were. How can we explain that? Simple forgetfulness? Really!! Weren't French Jews the first victims of Arab and Islamist terrorist in France, starting in late 2000, after the Muhammad ad-Durah hoax was broadcast repeatedly on France2 state TV?
To be sure, when various critics publicly pointed to the forgotten Jewish victims, these socially prominent and moderate Muslims added a post-script to their original manifesto. The Algiers-born Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levi weighed in on the obviously dissembling original document [ici].
Others in other places might observe that Jewish lives count --matter-- less than others apparently.
D’autres, sous d’autres latitudes, observeraient que les vies juives comptent –matter– apparemment moins que les autres.Levi also alluded to the fundamentally racist, Judeophobic nature of the omission --and of the document-- by hinting at a connection with the slick Judeophobe, the "right-wing" Jean-Marie LePen, in the title of his own critique [L’Hyper Cacher, un « détail » ?]. In the late 1980s, LePen notoriously argued in France that the Shoah was a mere "detail" of history, not an epochal or alpine event, as Dr Franklin Littell had called it. Levi asked if the murder of four Jews at the Hypercacher supermarket was a mere "detail" for the signatories of the manifesto. Levi went on:
. . . you cannot denounce the hangmen by sorting out their victims [with some to be remembered and some not]. And you cannot, above all, claim to get out of an "intolerable situation" . . . . while hiding an antisemitism that is, like it or not, one of the marks and, perhaps, one of the sources of what Abdelwahab Meddeb called the "illness of Islam."
. . . on ne peut pas dénoncer des bourreaux en faisant le tri parmi leurs victimes. Et on ne peut pas, surtout, prétendre sortir d’une «situation intolérable » où le déni nourrit l’amalgame et où la confusion sème, à son tour, les germes de la division et, un jour, à Dieu ne plaise, de la guerre de tous contre tous – et occulter un antisémitisme qui est, qu’on le veuille ou non, l’une des marques et, peut-être, l’une des sources de ce qu’Abdelwahab Meddeb appelait la «maladie de l’islam».One of the implications of the manifesto is that the moderate Muslim signatories exclude the Jews thereby from the French national community. Or one might say that they dehumanize the Jews, saying, as the omission implies--as Levi pointed out-- that Jewish lives do not matter. That this shocking omission came from ostensibly moderate Muslims opposed to radical Islamism, people successful in their careers in French society --presumably the last ones you would think might be bare-faced bigots-- is shocking in itself. It needs to be seen as a warning as to who can be trusted to deal fairly with Jews. If these people are prominent and influential in France, what future can there be for relations between Israel and France? For Jews in France?
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Post-Script or Addendum added by the moderate Muslims to their manifesto:
We French people and Muslims deem it necessary to say with the greatest clarity that we do not make any distinction among the victims of the blind terrorism that has been striking at our nation [presumably France here] for many months. Jewish pupils in Toulouse or customers of Hyper Casher murdered because they were Jews, a Catholic priest martyred in his church [already mentioned in the original document], a Muslim soldier or policeman killed on duty . . . . the list of victims is terribly long and so diverse, in the image of our nation [presumably France] in all its components . . .
Nous Français et musulmans tenons a dire avec la plus grande clarté que nous ne faisons aucune différence entre les victimes du terrorisme aveugle qui frappe notre nation depuis de nombreux mois.This statement or clafication later added on --after criticism was expressed-- sounds good. But how is it that they forgot in the first place about Jewish children in Toulouse or Ilan Halimi, who is not mentioned or alluded to even in the post-script?
Elèves juifs de Toulouse ou clients de l’Hyper Casher assassinés parce qu’ils étaient juifs, prêtre catholique martyrisé en son église, soldat ou policier musulman abattus en service…la liste des victimes est terriblement longue et si diverse, à l’image de notre nation dans toutes ses composantes, qu’il nous faut affronter l’adversité ensemble. C’est bien tous ensemble – juifs, chrétiens, musulmans, agnostiques et non croyants –, que nous aurons à mener ce combat, il nous faudra toutes nos forces.[at bottom of web page, ici].
For further reading: Bernard Henri-Levi ici. David Isaac Haziza ici.