Citizens on their balcony watch solidarity march in Paris.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In the immortal words of comedian Jimmy Durante, everybody wants to get into the act.
Nowhere was that more on display than in the reaction to the brutal murders in Paris last week at a satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket by Islamic terrorists.
Where most of the world saw tragedy in the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the Hyper Cacher supermarket killings, others saw opportunity to advance their own agendas.
Hamas and Hezbollah, two bona fide terrorist groups that boast of their records for slaughtering innocent civilians, especially Jews, denounced the Paris murderers and expressed sympathy for the group’s non-Jewish victims. Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Islamic extremists who behead and slaughter people harm Islam more than satirical cartoons. He should know. Hamas, which wantonly fires missiles at Jewish civilians, condemned the killings at Charlie Hebdo but not the Hyper Cacher.
Anti-Semitic and anti-Israel conspiracy theorists and groups like the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement quickly took to the blogosphere to proclaim it was a “Zionist false flag” operation by the Mossad in the Jewish war to discredit Islam. Greta Berlin, a spokesperson for Free Gaza, posted on Facebook that the attack was intended to “damage the accord between Palestine and France.”
Paul Craig Roberts, a Treasury official in the Reagan administration, suggests it was a “false flag” operation by the CIA, FBI or NSA to frame innocent Muslims and “pull France firmly back under Washington’s thumb.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French Jews: You’re not safe here, move “home” to Israel.
Many are already doing so and more probably will, but there is a time and place for that message, and this wasn’t it. “France and other countries in Europe... are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism” and a warm welcome awaits you in Israel, the prime minister told French Jews. There’s nothing wrong with Israeli leader making a pitch for aliya, but his insensitivity and timing only show why French President Francois Hollande was so miffed with the Israeli leader.
The Forward headline was damning and helps explain why Netanyahu has such strained relations with so many world leaders: “How Bibi Tried To Make Paris All About Him.” There were several reports that he literally elbowed his way to the front of the line and the cameras. Netanyahu succeeded in being the object of resentment and ridicule.
While other world leaders looked somber, cameras showed a smiling Netanyahu waving to the crowds.
US President Barack Obama may have been among the first to call his French counterpart to offer condolences, but he was the most conspicuous no-show at Sunday’s solidarity march. The president was at the White House all day but his press secretary didn’t know what he was doing or why he didn’t go to Paris. He apparently wasn’t at the golf course, either. He didn’t even send Joe Biden. Isn’t that what vice presidents are for? Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris but too busy to bother attending the march. The White House press secretary admitted it was a mistake not to have a “higher profile” figure show of support for America’s oldest ally. Whose fault is that? I nominate Barack Obama.
Leaders around the world sent condolences to the French people and expressed their sympathies. Only one used the event to lecture the rest of the world that he knows more about terrorism than they do and they should listen to him and support him.
Netanyahu tried to shift focus from France to Israel by saying the attacks in Paris were just more of what Israel experiences all the time from “the very same forces.”
Iran, a leading state sponsor of global terrorism and patron to Hamas and Hezbollah, called to attack “reprehensible” and said such acts “provoke Islamophobia.”
That from a regime which still has an active fatwa out ordering the murder of author Salmon Rushdie for the “crime” of mocking Islam in his The Satanic Verses.
As we’ve seen too often in past tragedies, some groups exploit such occasions to raise money. Within hours of the news breaking and before terrorists assaulted the Hyper Cacher supermarket, the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center attached fundraising appeals to their denunciations of the attacks. I’m sure they’re not the only ones, just the first I received; no doubt there will be more.
Saudi Arabia, that ever-righteous member of the UN Human Rights Council, source of 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers and financier of so many of the violent Islamic extremists, piously condemned the Paris attack while at the same time flogging a blogger in Jeddah for “insulting Islam.” Egypt also condemned the Paris attacks while back home it was jailing hundreds of journalists, bloggers and others who had the temerity to criticize the regime.
Congressional Republicans are looking at using the Paris killings as pretext to oppose Obama’s immigration policies and threatening to block funds for the Department of Homeland Security unless the president rescinds his executive order on immigration. They’re also citing the terror attacks as reasons to block changes in the Patriot Act to rein in the National Security Agency’s controversial information gathering practices.
But nothing can surpass Rep. Randy Weber’s (R-Texas) most offensive and tasteless tweet: “Even Adolph Hitler thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris.” One of his colleagues aptly called it “an unacceptable and ignorant way to try and score political points.”
President Hollande asked Netanyahu not to come to Paris for Sunday’s march because he wanted to keep the focus on solidarity with France and not let it be used for another round in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or to have Netanyahu exploit the event for his own reelection campaign, as he had done before.
Once he learned political rivals Avigdor Liberman and Naftali Bennett planned to attend, Netanyahu decided he had to go anyway. That meant Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was also excluded, would be invited, too, and given a prominent – and undeserved – place in the front row with world leaders.