The series of terror attacks in Toulouse over the past two weeks have proven several truths. First, that terror is the enemy of reason, tolerance, childhood, and almost everything that allows human civilization to flourish.
It’s important to note that Al Qaeda, whom the French terrorist claims to represent, targeted Muslims and Jews in his murderous spree. That means that, contrary to the message of far-right pro-Israel supporters, it is not Islam that is the enemy, but extremism. Extremists can be adherents of any religion: Islam, Christianity or Islam. They can be citizens of any country including Norway, France, Palestine or Israel.
The heinous acts of the shooter in these attacks betrayed his cause, his religion and his country. He betrayed the values of tolerance and love inherent in all the major religions, including his own. Now in the minds of many ignorant bystanders he has brought his religion into disrepute. He has immeasurably heightened the level of hate, fear and hostility toward Islam.
There can never be justification for killing children, whether those children are French Jews or Palestinian Muslims. If we want the world to believe in the justice of our cause, whether it be Israel or Palestine, we have to denounce the murder of both.
That’s why the pro-Israel supporters who are clucking about this latest round of Islamist terror are dead wrong. They are hypocrites because they only care about children with Jewish blood in their veins. You never heard any of them cry for the two Palestinian children killed in Israelis attacks against Gaza. Nor did they cry anything but crocodile tears, if that, for the 300 children killed during Cast Lead.
Finally, there is only one way to end the worst of this mayhem: Israel and Palestine must resolve their conflict. Israel must return, or be forced to return to 1967 borders, Jerusalem must be shared, and refugees must return.
Figures as eminent as current CIA director David Petraeus have conceded that the intractability of the conflict is one of the most incendiary elements that fuels terror and radicalism in the Middle East. Israel’s most extreme supporters bristle and snarl when such comparisons are made. But if Israel continues killing Muslims (and Christian Arabs as well) at the rate it has, hate of Israel (and of Jews) will fester and burst out into similar acts of violence.
And if we care only for our own dead and shrug our shoulders at the dead of our “enemy” then we betray our humanity.
This article appeared at Tikun Olam