In marmur

By Rabbi Dow Marmur.

The obvious and undeniable culprit of the Paris massacre is the Islamic State; the evidence abounds. But that’s not enough for “people who know better.” Thus the Swedish foreign minister says that it’s the plight of the Palestinians that caused the terror attacks. In other words, it’s the Jews’ fault. It reminds one of the Middle Ages when Jews were usually blamed for the Black Death and all other disasters, natural and human.

An op-ed piece in a leading Palestinian newspaper is even more specific: the Paris massacre was caused by the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad. There’s even a cartoon that shows an Islamic militant sitting next to Prime Minister Netanyahu on a balcony in Paris and shooting people down below. The two are enjoying the spectacle.

But anti-Semitism and hostility to Israel aren’t the only “reasons” offered for the Paris tragedy, as in the two cases cited above. According to Rabbi Dov Lior of Israel, a known extremist, what happened in Paris the other day is God’s retribution for European complicity in the Holocaust.

He doesn’t say anything about the earlier attacks in the city that targeted Jews. Had they been known Reform Jews or Zionists he may have concluded that this, too, was God’s punishment for the Holocaust, because, of course, the Zionists and the Reform Jews brought it about; the Germans (and now apparently also other Europeans) only executed it.

Evil not only kills and maims, as it did in Paris and as it’s doing in countless places every day, but it also poisons the minds of bystanders. Whether or not the Swedish foreign minister, the Palestinian writer and the Israeli rabbi actually believe in what they say, they did it in the knowledge that their adherents would accept it. Sensible people may be outraged or laugh it off in bitterness, but they aren’t in the majority, alas.

The three affirm the canard that Jews aren’t human. For the Nazis they were subhuman, “vermin.” For this trio they’re superhuman: what they do to the Palestinians determines world affairs; the intelligence service of the Jewish state controls the world: God has singled out Jews for special treatment both by punishing them by allowing the Germans to send them to the gas chambers and by punishing the perpetrators, this time the neighbours of the Germans.

Evil mutates with no limits. The three instances brought here each show how it violates truth and abuses language. In addition, they also illustrate warped statecraft in the guise of championing human rights by the Swedish politician; ostensibly authoritative analysis by the Palestinian pundit; and – perhaps the most embarrassing for us Jews – knowledge of the ways of God by the influential rabbi.

If they survive, the perpetrators of evil who use guns, knives and stones are punished according to the laws of the land. The others go free. Evidence of their evil tongues and pens will make little difference. Yet we’re bidden not to despair. The only way we know how to do it is to articulate sanity and fairness in dealing with the Palestinians; judging matters according to available evidence not sick mythology; not turning God into the mastermind of terrorists.

It’s part of the liberal agenda. The fact that it’s not very popular at present doesn’t make it less needed or less relevant.

Jerusalem 17.11.15

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