Je ne suis pas Charlie!

“I am not, and I cannot be, Charlie.” This is what a good friend of ours explained. She is a citizen of France living in Tel Aviv. She explained that she grew up learning how to read with the Charlie Hebdo magazine. She developed her political thought reading Charlie Hebdo. All this was when Charlie Hebdo had integrity; all this was before Charlie Hebdo transitioned into an Islamaphobic rag (my words, not hers). I trust my friend because she was in Paris when the killings at Charlie Hebdo happened; she is French; she is Jewish; she is Arab; most importantly, she is thoughtful.

French and Israeli flags at Paris Square, Jerusalem
French and Israeli flags at Paris Square, Jerusalem

Of course my friend’s reasons for not being Charlie were much different than my own. I did not grow up in France, I had never heard of the magazine until the killings flooded the news.

A few days have passed, and with the exception of my initial reaction, ‘here goes Israel again, trying to . . ‘. I am not sure what they were trying to do other than attach Israel to Paris. This seemed to me to be a somewhat schizophrenic behavior given that a couple of weeks earlier, Israel had summoned the French ambassador to chastise France for supporting a resolution calling for an eventual end to the occupation. Then Paris happens and we have French flags flying with Israeli flags and Jerusalem flags all over the place. The streets are lined with coloured cloth waving in the wind. I wonder if this would have happened had there not been any Jewish victims. I wonder if Israel would even have noticed. I do remember when the attacks in Ottawa occurred, there were no Canadian flags in the streets of Jerusalem. There was a mention in the local press, but no flags. And the Canadian government being such unwavering, unquestioning supporters. But that’s all another post.

As it turns out Israel did notice when Jewish blood became part of it all. Liberman ran off to Paris to be there to share in the grief of the French mourners; followed closely by Bennett and then Benjamin Netanyahu himself.

Bibi managing to elbow aside Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the president of Mali, and as it would happen, a Muslim. He did this elbowing to gain the front of the procession. It was in the front so that he, Bibi, the leader of the Jewish world, could wave to his adoring fans. This despite being asked to stay at home by none other than the president of France, François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande. President Hollande had expressed a desire to keep this tragedy focused on Europe, and not Israel. A request that Bibi could not comprehend, there having been Jewish victims first and foremost.

So Bibi was there, railing against terror; wanting the world to identify with him; with Israel, victims forever. He was but one of 40 world leader mentioned in news stories around the world as having united to march against “terror”. Though these same news outlets did not bother discussing the amount of terror inflicted around the world by many of these same 40 leaders. I remember that just below one of these headlines, there was another declaring the number of bombs dropped on “ISIL” targets by the US coalition; with the possibility that there was collateral damage; that innocent civilians may have been killed. Though this was all under investigation by those dropping the bombs. Other than the dry ink of the headlines on the paper, there was a failure to make any connection. Much like the world’s inability to connect the misery the Israelis inflict upon the Palestinians; and Palestinians’ refusal to rollover and accept this brutality.

Mount of Olives cemetery
Mount of Olives cemetery

Meanwhile, back in Israel, the bodies of the Jewish victims had been brought “home” and were slated for a honored burial on the Mount of Olives. This honor, it was pointed out by an Israeli friend, was not even given to Israeli citizens, who died in Israel as a result of an act of retaliatory violence to the evils of the occupation. For example this honor was not bestowed upon the rabbis who were killed while praying in 2014.

After all the fanfare, it turns out that the families were being asked to pay exorbitant fees for the burials. It turns out the families had been pressured into allowing the bodies to be flown to Israel instead of being buried in France, their true home. Not until the headlines screamed out enough indignation and outrage, did the Israeli government step forward and assure all concerned that the State of Israel would pay for the burials.

And so it is that my rant comes to an end but Bibi carries on, a short while ago he warned of a ‘wave of Islamisation’ sweeping across Europe. It is now that I realized that we who oppose him and his ilk sommes tous Mohamed.

2 thoughts on “Nous sommes tous Mohamed”
  1. Thanks as always for your report. While the Ottawa attack did not result in Canadian flags being flown in Tel Aviv (perhaps as you say due to the absence of Jewish victims), that event was nonetheless fully instrumentalized by the Harper Conservatives-Netanyahu/Likud love-in. The parliamentary sergeant at arms was flown there and treated as a hero by the Knesset, giving Bibi yet another opportunity to reinforce his Islamophobic framing of events: (for once the online comments seem not too bad…).

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