Je Suis Juif
Here’s a piece of rare double good news from Gaza. First, the Egyptian army is in the process of razing Rafah, the Egyptian border town,that borders Gaza, in order to create a security zone around the Gaza Strip. The Egyptians seek to prevent the smuggling of arms and terrorists between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai, where a number of deadly attacks have recently been launched at the Egyptian military. Over two thousand families have been displaced by the Egyptian action, though Egypt has promised to rebuild shelter for them elsewhere.
The second piece of good news is that few readers have likely heard of Rafah’s fate. Had Israel conducted the same operation, as has often been proposed and rejected, the hue and cry around the world would have been deafening. But since Egypt is doing the razing no one cares apart from the displaced families. Similarly, Israel is always described as maintaining an embargo on the Gaza Strip, which is both untrue and impossible. Israel controls only one point of entry to Gaza; the Egyptians control the other. And under Gen. Al-Sisi, Egypt has been every bit as zealous about regulating the flow of potential military material into Gaza as Israel.
For once, then, the double standard universally applied to Israel has worked out in Israel’s favor. For its own reasons, Egypt shares Israel’s interest in cutting off smuggling of arms and material with a military use into Gaza, and can act with impunity.
Elliott Abrams points out that the double standard applied to Jews (not just Israel) was also on display last week in Paris. Along with all the signs, “Je suis Charlie” on display, he would like to have seen a few more signs, “Je suis Juif.”
As horrific as the attack on Charlie Hebdo was, it was no more so than the slaying of four Jews (including a father and his two sons) in a Jewish school in Toulouse two years ago. The staff of Charlie Hebdo knew very well that they were courting danger by sticking their fingers deep into the eyes of Muslim fanatics. But the Jewish victims in Toulouse or the four Jews murdered in a kosher supermarket in Paris two days after the attack on Charlie Hebdo made no choices. Their only “sin” was to be Jewish.
As Mark Steyn wrote in his 2008 book America Alone, from the start of the new millennia, French Muslims “have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers and Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They’re losing that battle.”
Several million Frenchmen were right to march in protest against an attempt by radical French Muslims to prove at gunpoint that the French tradition of free speech, including a healthy dose of anti-clericalism, does not apply to speech that offends them. But, at the same time, no healthy democracy can allow a group of its citizens – in this case the third largest Jewish community in the world – to become sitting ducks in a shooting gallery. That too should have merited a huge protest.