PARIS – Principals and teachers at schools across France dedicated a special hour Monday to discuss the terror attacks which hit Paris on Friday night with their students.
During the hours of fear and horror after the shocking mass attacks, many parents didn’t know how to deal with the questions raised by their children, such as: “If I go out on the street, could someone shoot me?”
France must now learn to live with the threat of terror. It’s a difficult mission, but not an impossible one, as long as it avoids taking the road of denial as it has in the past.
When Jews were murdered in Paris and in Toulouse, most French people saw it as a random and slightly troublesome spillover of a distant Middle Eastern conflict into their lives – but not as a cause for concern and for general mobilization. When journalists were murdered in the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices, people explained that the reason was the fact that religious Muslim sentiments had been hurt. And even now, after terror attacks which have clarified that all of France is being targeted, many are refusing to acknowledge a simple fact: Terror is terror is terror.
The political-media discourse in France is now similar to the one which took place in Britain and Spain after the mass terror attacks in those countries a decade ago: There is no connection between the terror attacks in Europe and the terror attacks striking Israel.
The French are insisting on hanging on to their refusal to recognize the existence of a joint Israeli-French battle against a religious ideology of destruction. Commentators and politicians filling up the television and radio studios are refusing to mention Israel’s name as a country from which France can learn how to deal with a daily reality of terror, as the perception that Palestinian terror is the product of a legitimate national struggle – in other words, justified and understandable – has struck roots there.
Those creating distinctions between “legitimate terror” against Israel and “barbaric terror” against the West are singlehandedly sowing the atrocious bloody violence which is striking again and again in Paris and in all of Europe.
Islamic terror with its different names – PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, the al-Quds Brigades, ISIS, the al-Nusra Front, the Muslim Brothers – is one and has one goal: To impose Islam on the world – forcibly or through negotiations, by beheading people or through democratic elections, in the Middle East, in Europe, in Africa, in America and in Asia.
This is not a racist and paranoid conclusion. This is a quote of comments made by the spiritual leaders of the different Islamist factions. Racism is reflected in the Europeans’ chronic unwillingness to listen to what comes out of the Islamists’ mouth and accept their words literally.
When after the Paris attacks, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini tweets from the talks for an agreement in Syria that most of the countries present in the meeting suffer from terror – and willingly avoids stating that the talks are attended by many countries which uphold, fund and back Islamic terror – she is paving the way for the next terror attacks on European soil.
As long as Europe fails to understand that there is no difference between the terror striking Israel and the terror striking Europe, it will fail to find the appropriate way to deal with this horrible phenomenon.