Sir, – Heartfelt and sincere condolences to the families of the French caricaturists who were massacred (“12 killed in Paris terrorist attack on satirical magazine,” January 8), to the French nation, and also to the families of the Jews who were slaughtered in the kosher grocery store simply because they were Jewish (“4 Jewish hostages killed in Paris grocery attack,” January 11).
I am not a leftist and never will be. I am a secular Jew. I despise Muslim extremists. I find it outrageous that moderate Muslims adopt a hypocritical posture by hardly ever speaking out publicly to condemn the brutal and senseless murders the extremists commit, and by praising suicide bombers.
There can never, ever be the slightest justification for the atrocities in Paris.
However, to be fair, I would suggest that each Western country adopt a law making it illegal and punishable to publicly mock, belittle or slander any religion; the satirists and caricaturists should concentrate on politicians, business leaders, society leaders, celebs, etc.
Adopting such a law should not be seen as giving in to Muslim extremists, rather as an attempt to respect others’ beliefs, no matter how much you disagree with them.
Sir, – Don’t believe it when some tell you they are fighting radical Islam. Don’t believe the statesmen because they are afraid. Let them say once and for all that the world’s Muslim leaders, like King Abdullah of Jordan, Bashar Assad of Syria, the king of Morocco and the presidents of Algeria and Tunisia, should have the courage of the president of Egypt.
Those leaders should denounce their own people who have done such irreparable harm to everyone in the West and say they will hunt them down because they do not want to aid and abet them. They should say they want this world free of terror and terrorists, and that they will not hide them but expose them, not call them martyrs but the murderers of innocent people.
Until US President Barack Obama says he will do more than just stand by France, until he hunts down America’s Islamists, until all these things happen, don’t believe people who say they are against Islamic terrorists.
Words are easy but it is actions that count.
Until they, like Winston Churchill, say: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,” everyone in the world will be subject to terror. We will never be free unless the world does what it has to do.
Sir, – The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called upon imams to denounce all violent acts of terror committed in the name of Islam.
“As we told President [François] Hollande during our meeting at the Élysée Palace this past June,” the center stated in a press release last week, “the only way such horrendous acts will cease in France is when the 6,000 imams in France publicly condemn such acts as well as the ideology and theology behind them and when they deliver this message consistently in every mosque in France.”
This made me wonder why American rabbis are not similarly calling upon all American Muslim clerics and leaders to stand up and condemn this horror, and also to stand up and condemn anti-Semitism, violence against Jews and Jewish institutions. Silence is complicity.
Rabbis have a moral duty to stand up and ask the Muslim community to be heard loudly and clearly in order to stop the slaughter, rape and killing in the name of their religion.
When we Jews do one small thing that is wrong, our entire community becomes very vocal and loud in public condemnation.
So why shouldn’t rabbis be calling upon the community of Muslims to do what is right and moral, especially when Jews are being slaughtered and threatened all over the world by those who have signed on for this violent form of Islam? GINETTE WEINER Scottsdale, Arizona Sir, – I didn’t know whether to laugh or despair when reading “Hamas condemns ‘Charlie Hebdo’ terror attack” (January 11). Perhaps Hamas realizes that these guys went too far, stating that “differences of opinion and thought cannot justify murder.”
Is this a change of heart? No, I guess Hamas is still Hamas, as it did not condemn the Jewish deaths at the Hyper Cacher grocery.
I hope and pray the world somehow notices.
Sir, – It is remarkable how quickly the media embraced the comprehensible narrative of free press instead of the inscrutable attack on western civilization by Muslim fanaticism.
Politicos are pleased to boil down an existential threat to a shallow motto that mobilizes masses for a hollow demonstration instead of facing real implications.
How readily the least common denominator came to include such paragons of freedom as Turkey, Russia and even Hamas and Abbas. All that’s missing is for North Korea to weigh in.
The official Jewish community has to be politically correct, but the handwriting on the supermarket wall is clear: Jews who have not blocked out our recent history and want to continue living have to watch their own backs, because from everyone else you can only expect pious platitudes about freedom.
HAYIM GRANOT Petah Tikva Sir, – France now stands at a crossroad. She must decide if she will join forces with the Americans and help with a worldwide crackdown on Islamic terrorists or limit her response to the terrible tragedy that unfolded in Paris.
The only possible way to uproot the scourge of terrorism is a global assault that prevents the terrorists from having a safe place to recruit and train their followers. Israel should use this unfortunate crime to impress upon the French how important it is to recognize the fact that Hamas is no different from Islamic State or al-Qaida.
France is willing to support the assault of terrorism on Israel by not denouncing Hamas, but she cries for help when she herself comes under attack by terrorists.
A two-faced policy is doomed to failure.
Sir, – There is one small ray of light in the Charlie Hebdo tragedy: The perpetrators are aware of and fear the power of the pen! In other words, there is the possibility that words still have power, while weapons, brutality and thuggery can be overpowered by humor, rationality and thoughtful expression.
Look at the heartfelt reaction of the people braving the cold to show solidarity with a smallish magazine with which not all French people agree, in order to protect their freedom of expression.
A brilliant political cartoon shows two upright pencils about to be crashed into by a jet, equating this tragic event with 9/11, when America’s fundamental values were attacked.
T.S. Eliot, in Ash Wednesday (V), wrote: “Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence....” Perhaps this is a moment when there will be a small silence, when we in our horrendous hubbub will take pause and exchange bombs, guns and atrocities for words, humor and sanity and really start to listen to one another! Let us deal with the insanity of our world using words and not violence, as a tribute to the journalists of Charlie Hebdo.