Uri Avnery: Waving in the first Row

ParisdemoBibiJanuary 17, 2015

THE THREE Islamic terrorists could have been very proud of themselves, if they had lived to see it.

By committing two attacks (quite ordinary ones by Israeli standards) they spread panic throughout France, brought millions of people onto the streets, gathered more than 40 heads of states in Paris. They changed the landscape of the French capital and other French cities by mobilizing thousands of soldiers and police officers to guard Jewish and other potential targets. For several days they dominated the news throughout the world.

Three terrorists, probably acting alone. Three!!!

FOR OTHER potential Islamic terrorists throughout Europe and America, this must look like a huge achievement. It is an invitation for individuals and tiny groups to do the same again, everywhere.

Terrorism means striking fear. The three in Paris certainly succeeded in doing that. They terrorized the French population. And if three youngsters without any qualifications can do that, imagine what 30 could do, or 300!

Frankly, I did not like the huge demonstration. I have been in many demonstrations in my time, maybe more than 500, but always against the powers that be. I have never participated in a demonstration called by the government, even when the purpose was good. They remind me too much of the late Soviet Union, Fascist Italy and worse. Not for me, thank you.

But this particular demonstration was also counterproductive. Not only did it prove that terrorism is effective, not only did it invite copycat attacks, but it also hurt the real fight against the fanatics.

To conduct an effective fight, one has to put oneself first into the shoes of the fanatics and try to understand the dynamic that pushes young local-born Muslims to commit such acts. Who are they? What do they think?  What are their feelings? In what circumstances did they grow up? What can be done to change them?

After decades of neglect, that is hard work. It takes time and effort, with results uncertain. Much easier for politicians to march in the street in front of the cameras.

AND WHO marched in the first row, beaming like a victor?

Our own and only Bibi.

How did he get there? The facts came out within record time. Seems he was not invited at all. On the contrary, President Francois Hollande sent explicit messages: please, please don’t come. It would turn the demo into a show of solidarity with the Jews, instead of a public outcry for the freedom of the press and other “republican values”. Netanyahu came nevertheless, with two extreme rightist ministers in tow.

Placed in the second row, he did what Israelis do: he shoved aside a black African president in front of him and placed himself in the front row.

Once there, he began waving to the people on the balconies along the way. He was beaming, like a Roman general in his triumphal parade. One can only guess the feelings of Hollande and the other heads of state – who tried to look appropriately solemn and mournful – at this display of Chutzpah.

Netanyahu went to Paris as part of his election campaign. As a veteran campaigner, he knew that three days in Paris, visiting synagogues and making proud Jewish speeches, were worth more than three weeks at home, slinging mud.

THE BLOOD of the four Jews murdered in the kosher supermarket was not yet dry, when Israeli leaders called upon the Jews in France to pack up and come to Israel. Israel, as everybody knows, is the safest place on earth.

This was an almost automatic Zionist gut reaction. Jews are in danger. Their only safe haven is Israel. Make haste and come. The next day Israeli papers reported joyfully that in 2015 more than 10,000 French Jews were about to come to live here, driven by growing anti-Semitism.

Apparently, there is a lot of anti-Semitism in France and other European countries, though probably far less than Islamophobia. But the fight between Jews and Arabs on French soil has little to do with anti-Semitism. It is a struggle imported from North Africa.

When the Algerian war of liberation broke out in 1954, the Jews there had to choose sides. Almost all decided to support the colonial power, France, against the Algerian people.

That had a historical background. In 1870, the French minister of justice, Adolphe Cremieux, who happened to be a Jew, conferred French citizenship on all Algerian Jews, separating them from their Muslim neighbors.

The Algerian Liberation Front (FLN) tried very hard to draw the local Jews to their side. I know because I was somewhat involved. Their underground organization in France asked me to set up an Israeli support group, in order to convince our Algerian co-religionists. I founded the “Israeli Committee For A Free Algeria” and published material which was used by the FLN in their effort to win over the Jews.

In vain. The local Jews, proud of their French citizenship, staunchly supported the colonists. In the end, the Jews were prominent in the OAS, the extreme French underground which conducted a bloody struggle against the freedom fighters. The result was that practically all the Jews fled Algeria together with the French when the day of reckoning arrived. They did not go to Israel. Almost all of them went to France. (Unlike the Moroccan and Tunisian Jews, many of whom came to Israel. Generally, the poorer and less educated chose Israel, while the French-educated elite went to France and Canada.)

What we see now is the continuation of this war between Algerian Muslims and Jews on French soil. All the four “French” Jews killed in the attack had North African names and were buried in Israel.

Not without trouble. The Israeli government put great pressure on the four families to bury their sons here. They wanted to bury them in France, near their homes. After a lot of haggling about the price of the graves, the families finally agreed.

It has been said that Israelis love immigration and don’t love the immigrants. That certainly applies to the new “French” immigrants. In recent years, “French” tourists have been coming here in large numbers. They were often disliked. Especially when they started to buy up apartments on the Tel Aviv sea front and left them empty, as a kind of insurance, while young local people could neither find nor afford apartments in the metropolitan area. Practically all these “French” tourists and immigrants are of North African origin.

WHEN ASKED what drives them to Israel, their unanimous answer is: anti-Semitism. That is not a new phenomenon. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of Israelis, they or their parents or grandparents, were driven here by anti-Semitism.

The two terms – anti-Semitism and Zionism – were born at almost the same time, towards the end of the 19th century. Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, conceived his idea when he was working in France as a foreign correspondence of a Viennese newspaper during the Dreyfus affair, when virulent anti-Semitism in France reached new heights.  (Anti-Semitism is, of course, a misnomer. Arabs are Semites, too. But the term is generally used to mean only Jew-haters.)

Later, Herzl wooed outspoken anti-Semitic leaders in Russia and elsewhere, asking for their help and promising to take the Jews off their hands. So did his successors. In 1939, the Irgun underground planned an armed invasion of Palestine with the help of the profoundly anti-Semitic generals of the Polish army. One may wonder if the State of Israel would have come into being in 1948 if there had not been the Holocaust. Recently, a million and a half Russian Jews were driven to Israel by anti-Semitism.

ZIONISM WAS born at the end of the 19th century as a direct answer to the challenge of anti-Semitism. After the French revolution, the new national idea took hold of all European nations, big and small, and all of the national movements were more or less anti-Semitic.

The basic belief of Zionism is that Jews cannot live anywhere except in the Jewish State, because the victory of anti-Semitism is inevitable everywhere. Let the Jews of America rejoice in their freedom and prosperity – sooner or later that will come to an end. They are doomed like Jews everywhere outside Israel.

The new outrage in Paris only confirms this basic belief. There was very little real commiseration in Israel. Rather, a secret sense of triumph. The gut reaction of ordinary Israelis is: “We told you so!” and also: “Come quickly, before it is too late!”

I HAVE often tried to explain to my Arab friends: the anti-Semites are the greatest enemy of the Palestinian people. The anti-Semites have helped drive the Jews to Palestine, and now they are doing so again. And some of the new immigrants will certainly settle beyond the Green Line in the occupied Palestinian territories on stolen Arab land.

The fact that Israel benefits from the Paris attack has led some Arab media to believe that the whole affair is really a “false flag” operation. Ergo, in this case, the Arab perpetrators were really manipulated by the Israeli Mossad.

After a crime, the first question is “cui bono”, who benefits? Obviously, the only winner from this outrage is Israel. But to draw the conclusion that Israel is hiding behind the Jihadists is utter nonsense.

The simple fact is that all Islamic Jihadism on European soil hurts only the Muslims. Fanatics of all stripes generally help their worst enemies. The three Muslim men who committed the outrages in Paris certainly did Binyamin Netanyahu a great favor.

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1 Response

  1. Poo says:

    Hard as it is for me to believe, Avnery, known far and wide as a narcissist, hypocrite and a poseur has at long last outdone himself. He has jumped off the bridge of reality and merrily free-fallen into outright deceit, envy and full on lies of omission. At its best, this is most commonly known as fibbing, at its worse it is lying. I have long suspected that his case, be it fibbing or lying, is more the product of his own deluded sense of self-worth. What else can it be? Does he drink? Do drugs?

    He has a phenomenal sense for stating the obvious while ignoring the facts. Admittedly, not everyone can do this. Even the most talented writer of fiction has difficulty walking such a thin line; much like genius and insanity, it is often difficult to tell the difference.

    I’m sure all of France is embarrassed by their over-reaction to the terrorist attacks, “quite ordinary ones by Israeli standards.” Oh excuse them. Maybe they can do better. Odd he fails to mention that “Israeli standards” are regular rocket barrages from his friends in Palestine, the world recognized terrorist group Hamas.

    Terrorists do love to spread fear, panic and terror. And yes, they are happy when they succeed. They’re terrorists! Who doesn’t get this?

    “Imagine what 30 could do, or 300!”

    Now there is an idea. I wonder if they thought of it. Maybe Avnery could send a plan either directly or through his terrorist friends in Hamas.

    “Three youngsters without any qualifications,” he says.

    Well true, if you don’t count at least one going to Yemen and who knows who else they knew or even where. It’s a mere bagatelle to Avnery.

    Avnery claims to have been in “maybe more than 500” demonstrations. By the photos I’ve seen, the front row, surrounded by cameras was his preferred spot. Me, I do not like demonstrations of any kind and have never participated in one. Nor will I ever. I speak for myself and have no need of a mob.

    “To conduct an effective fight, one has to put oneself first into the shoes of the fanatics and try to understand the dynamic that pushes young local-born Muslims to commit such acts. Who are they? What do they think? What are their feelings? In what circumstances did they grow up? What can be done to change them?”

    Gosh yes, let’s spend our time and our money looking at root causes of people whose 7th century version of Islam mandates that they detest us. There’s a fresh thought. Not so fresh now that I think of it and useless too. Some innocent just died while I typed it.

    Avnery’s biggest and sole complaint seems to be in not having his picture taken in the front row while his sworn enemy, Netanyahu was. True, Hollande didn’t want Bibi there. But he didn’t want Abbas either. It wasn’t about “Jewish solidarity” but rather French concerns that the unity march against terror could get entangled in what they viewed as side line issues such as the Jewish-Muslim divide or the Israel-Palestinian conflict or even the poisonous Netenyahu-Abbas relationship. The French government wanted to keep both Netanyahu and Abbas out of the solidarity show. Avnery fails to tell you that Abbas, terrorist partner, embezzler of hundreds of millions, owner of vast estates and planes and other such humble accoutrements of unelected but self-extended office, was not invited either. Of course, Abbas learned his trade at the feet of the Great Embezzler, Yasser Arafat, so I guess that makes it all right. I am embarrassed to say that my own government has contributed much of this stolen money, some $650 million, to the Palestinian Authority since it was created in 1993. One assumes the “aid” became cement, tunneling equipment, rockets and other arms. We’re so proud!

    Avnery also fails to point out that among the honest millions of Parisians were some 40 world “leaders” many of whom fell well short of the values of the republic. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry are well known for restricting the media freedoms in their own countries, likewise Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Do they even know who Charlie Hebdo is? Meanwhile, the “leaders” of the free world marched amongst other predators of press freedom, journalist jailers, despots, lashers, beheaders, supporters of terrorism and out and out publicity seekers. Arm in arm they marched and sang while the cameras rolled. The scene was ripe for cartoons.

    Canada was represented by our Minister of Public Safety, Steven Blaney. Our Prime Minister should have been there but was committed to the 200th Birthday party in honour of Canada’s 1st Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald. That is held in great esteem by Conservatives here and Harper’s attendance would have been duly noted, terror march or no. I still think he should have marched in Paris but Blaney, while not known to the masses, is well known to security services in the Western world. Obama failed to show as he prefers crowds where he is the centre of attention. VP Joe Biden and Socialite of State, John Kerry, were also otherwise occupied. The worst Attorney General in American history, Eric Holder, was in Paris and appeared on TV a lot but was unable to march. Instead, the United States was represented by U.S. Ambassador to France, Democratic Party hack and big Obama fund raiser, Jane Hartley. Oh well.

    Avnery claims that Netanyahu shoved his way to the front line. Gee, how did the uninvited Abbas get there? And Bibi waved. He was not alone. It was, after all, a march not a funeral procession. Apparently this celebration of the values of the republic and freedom in general required a look “appropriately solemn and mournful.” Someone should have told the survivors and family members of the victims of Charlie Hebdo, one of whom was a Muslim copy-editor. They came out determined never to stop laughing. French President Francois Hollande did his best to contribute to their merriment. At Place Léon Blum, as he approached to shake their hands, a pigeon crapped on his shoulder. It may long be remembered as Hollande’s finest act while President.

    “Netanyahu went to Paris as part of his election campaign.” For the record, David Cameron has an election this year too. Obama doesn’t. Maybe that explains his absence but then again Harper does have an election but he didn’t show either. Avnery couldn’t care less. His focus is Bibi. I guess Avnery really did want to be Prime Minister.

    As for calling for worried or frightened Jews to relocate in Israel, where is the news there? Calls have been put out from the U.S., Canada and Britain. Canada may be a better answer than Israel according to Washington-based Shmuel Herzfeld, a prominent American Rabbi. So it’s not just Bibi but Avnery won’t tell you that either.
    According to Avnery, all was well between “Jews and Arabs on French soil” until the struggle was “imported from North Africa.” Yeah, right. Prior to 1870, the relationship had been what we in the 60s called a “Love-In.” Does the Temple Mount ring any bells? Or how about the year 641 AD when Muhammad’s successor, Caliph ‘Umar, decreed that Jews and Christians should be removed from all but the southern and eastern fringes of Arabia. The Prophet himself said, “Let there not be two religions in Arabia”. Sounds friendly enough, in North Africa was he? True, there is an Algerian connection but it falls into the category of modern history. Avnery only mentions it because he was “somewhat involved.” Well of course, wasn’t he always? Is there anything that happens in that part of the world that does not revolve around him?

    “It has been said that Israelis love immigration and don’t love the immigrants.”

    Again, isn’t this the same everywhere?Newcomers throughout history struggle. They are resented at first. Their language and their customs are different. Often they look different too. It is the nature of immigration. Zionism, anti-Semitism, whatever, most immigrants suffer at least for a time. But time changes. New York, Montreal and Toronto all have large, vibrant Jewish communities. All 3 have enjoyed Jewish mayors. Connecticut and Florida have Muslim mayors. So too does Calgary, Alberta. Things happen over time with assimilation and positive attitudes. As an example, the Muslim population of Calgary makes up for only 5.2% of the total.

    Avnery paints a poor picture of his countrymen. For him and his acolytes, the terrorist slaughter in Paris engendered “a secret sense of triumph.” A “We told you so! Come quickly, before it is too late!” Are we even sure he is Jewish?

    As for the “false flag operation”, I am happy to see he dismisses it as “utter nonsense.” I would go further but, this is a family Blog.

    As to the “benefit to Israel,” Avnery should be ashamed of himself. He won’t be, of course. Ego-maniacs know no shame. I’m surprised he did not add, “follow the money” to his police blotter canard, “who benefits?”

    “The simple fact is,” people who terrorize and slaughter innocent people do no one “a great favor.” The violent death of innocents begets no favors. As usual, in his myopic, gilt edged mirror all that reflects back to Avnery is HIMSELF and his loathing for those who dare disagree with him.

    I am honored to be in complete opposition to him and all the hate, innuendo and outright lies that he stands for. But I must confess, I have been wrong in one thing about him. He does not lie by omission. He does it on purpose.

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