A year after the Toulouse school slaughter, the hatred that drove it still thrives
By Liam Hoare
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE ONLINE
March 14, 2013
In the easterly part of Toulouse, where the detached houses range from washed white to poached salmon and burnt peach, sits the Ohr Torah school. Set within a formidable compound, gated behind walls flanked by security cameras, it has been this way for a long time, for the safety and security of the children. Since last March, however, the walls have become a little higher, the front gate a little sturdier, the security cameras more numerous.
For it was at this Jewish day school, then called Ozar Hatorah, that on March 19 2012, Mohammed Merah gunned down Jonathan Sandler, a rabbi, and his two sons Aryeh, six, and Gabriel, three. Rabbi Sandler was shot as he tried to save his sons, while one of his boys was killed as he attempted to crawl away to safety.
Myriam Monsonego, aged eight, the daughter of the headmaster, Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego, was also murdered. …
But the problem in Toulouse — and in France generally — runs deeper. As Nicole Yardéni, President of Crif Midi-Pyrénées (a regional section of the French Jewish umbrella body) points out, the statistics for 2012 come after 12 years of heightened antisemitism, beginning in 2000 after the Camp David talks collapsed and the Second Intifada began. In 2004, there were almost 1,000 recorded hate crimes, and in 2009 — the year of Operation Cast Lead — there were 832.
I have to disagree some with what this article posits as the roots of the current problems: the lack of a reasonable and “charismatic” Muslim leader; the lack of a satisfactory path for Muslims to become integrated within French society. IMO, two of the roots of the current problem are found within Muslim culture: long contemned in Muslim countries, bitter, hot, hatred for Jews has become the norm; many Muslims have eschewed the path common among immigrant populations of working both to preserve their native cultures and work to become integrated into the society of their new homes and rejected integration as a goal. A third root - I’m stepping on lots of toes! - IMO, lies in French culture. The Dreyfus Affair was a key event in the birth of Zionism. Seven decades later, the French were among the more compliant and cooperative non-Germans during the Holocaust. After the Six Day War (in which Israel forestalled a planned coordinated multi-front attack), the French refused to honor contracts to supply Israel with modern Mirage fighters. Call it what you like - hatred, bigotry, antisemitism, baguette - the French seem to have many among its citizens and in its government who really do not like Jews. A key element in this 2012 attack and the antisemitic incidents of the past decade and more is that the French government (locally, especially) isn’t all that eager to protect its Jewish citizens.