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jeudi 7 janvier 2016


During the years I lived in Europe, I had to tragically witness three terrorist attacks, two of them involving mainly Jews and the last one in November 2015 of the indiscriminate assassination of innocents in Paris.
The first one, involving Jewish teachers and Jewish children hardly evoked comments. Charlie Hebdo drew widespread attention and sympathy, not only from France but from around the world. (the majority of the victims were Jewish). 
But the government responses from France and Belgium were less than adequate
I thought of the French philosopher who commented? First they came for the Jews, I did not comment...etc and when they came for me, there was no one left to comment.
As a Jewish Traveller, I feel very safe in most countries in the world I travel to, I felt completely safe on a recent trip to Marrakesh, Morocco. In Israel, you know that your brothers and sisters are looking out for you and it is much safer for a Jew to be in Israel than in France or Belgium, even though a recent stay in Brittany, it was as if Charlie Hebdo had not happened. The largest proportion of migrants to Israel last year was from France, if that serves as a social commentary.
On the taxi ride to the Brussels airport, the Brussels born taxi driver and I talked about the problems facing children of North African immigrants. In the USA, you would never even think of him as an outsider, but his question was poignant: it is difficult to integrate when the society points out to you that you are not Belgian? Israel is the prime example of a country which has integrated over 140 different nationalities into its national fibre, USA is fantastic when it comes to integration of nationalities while allowing them to maintain cultural characteristics, it being the home of the largest number of languages spoken in the Developed World!
One year later  I AM STILL  CHARLIE   JE SUIS CHARLIE and refuse to fall into the shallowness of Islamophobia and looking at a person, such as the Brussels born Moroccan origin taxi driver as an OTHER.
Bernard Lewish, the British Born Jewish Historian who is nearly 100 years old, is a beacon when it comes to explain the middle eastern history. We now use the world Assassins irreverently, but Bernard Lewis traces the history of an Ismaili sect of Muslims who used assassinations for political goals and thus the origin of the the sect, which has since died out and the origin of the word in common parlance.