by Dr. Theresa Newell, Chairman of CMJ-USA Board of Directors
Among the 12 who were murdered this week at the satirist magazine office in Paris was Jewish caricaturist Georges Wolinski, 80. Wolinski came to France from Tunisia as a teen. The editor of the magazine and many on his staff were also killed in the attack by masked men yelling Islamist slogans.
According to Le Monde, the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices is the bloodiest to have taken place in France since 1835. It was also noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed article (“France and the New Charismatic Jihad,” January 8, 2015, A11) that France has “more policemen and security officers per capita than any other Western country.” Can they contain, monitor and check Islamic activity in their own country? (the writer asks).
And how does such terrorist activity affect the European Jewish community? Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, writes in the op-ed cited above that there is a clear connection between the two. He contends that the rise of European anti-Semitism has been allowed to continue unchecked and “is practiced by both Muslim and non-Muslim Europeans... Western anti-Semitism, traditional Islamic suspicion of Jews, and anti-Zionism have congealed.”
As a proof of Gerecht’s contention, a news report on the same day stated that the Palestinians had been granted membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC) of the United Nations –- even though Palestine is not a sovereign state! Neither the US nor Israel –- both sovereign states and full members of the UN -- are members of the ICC. Palestinian membership on the ICC would begin April 1, but the court’s registrar said on January 7 that jurisdiction would date back to June 13, 2014. Palestinians have stated that they plan to bring criminal charges against Israel for its actions during the Hamas/Israeli fighting last summer once they are members of the ICC.
Editorial cartoons indicated that this assassination of the editors of Charlie Hebdo magazine was an assassination of a free press, a principal value of any democracy and of western civilization. The WSJ shows a coffin with a writing pen inside, draped with the blue, white and red flag of France.
Cartoon by David Gothard, Wall Street Journal, 7 January 2015
A Pittsburgh, PA paper’s editorial cartoon expressed a similar theme:
Cartoon by Randy Bish of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 7 January 2015
The people of France are outraged. Will they make the connection between this barbaric assassination at Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris and the unchecked rise of anti-Semitism and violence against European Jews?
And will we pray and raise our voices at such a time as this to stand with the Jewish people?