Yesterday evening’s Copenhagen synagogue shooting is yet another attack on Jews as Jews -- just as we have witnessed such attacks at the Toulouse Jewish primary school, the Brussels Jewish museum, the Paris kosher supermarket, the firebombing of the synagogue in the German city of Wuppertal, and at many other places in recent years, from the Jewish communal centres in Mumbai and Casablanca, to the ancient synagogues in Istanbul and Jerba.
Yet only last week President Obama and his spokespeople were suggesting that it was just some kind of “random” accident that Jews were being killed.
The Obama team has consistently demonstrated a willful lack of understanding about the nature of Islamism, about anti-Semitism, and about the intentions of the Islamic revolutionary government in Iran. They seem more interested in disparaging the prime minister of America’s ally Israel than in preventing the regime in Tehran going nuclear – a regime which has already de facto taken control of large swathes of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. Its terrorist actions outside the Middle East spread to, among other places, Thailand, Bulgaria (where Jewish tourists were blown up in 2012) and Argentina, where 85 people were murdered at the AMIA Jewish centre in Buenos Aires. Only last month an Iranian diplomat in Montevideo was expelled from Uruguay for planting a bomb designed to kill Jews. (This foiled attack was barely reported on outside the Uruguayan and Israeli media.)
As Middle East scholar Bassam Tawil wrote last week: “Does Obama really want his legacy to be, ‘The president who was an even bigger fool than Neville Chamberlain’?”
Part of the Obama team’s attitude, it seems to me, is derived from the misreporting of the New York Times, a paper whose claim to be “the paper of record,” they presumably take seriously.
At the present time, over a dozen hours after other media (such as The Guardian) reported prominently on the specifically anti-Semitic nature of yesterday’s attack in Copenhagen and on the fact there was a Bat Mitzvah going on in the synagogue while it was being attacked (with over 80 people including many children inside), the lengthy report on the New York Times website on the Copenhagen shootings doesn’t mention the word “anti-Semitism” once. Instead New York Times correspondent Steven Erlanger writes in his piece “anti-Muslim sentiment is rising in Europe.”
Nor does the New York Times mention the bat mitzvah. There are not so many Jews in Denmark and not many bat mitzvahs -- it seems the terrorist had done his research carefully. Yet the New York Times website home page says, at the time of writing, that the shooting was “near a synagogue”. It wasn’t near a synagogue. It was at a synagogue. The synagogue was the target. Which is why a Jew guarding the synagogue was shot dead. With the New York Times’ reporting one starts to understand how Obama and his spokespeople could say the kosher attack in Paris was “random” even though the perpetrator – interviewed live on French radio during the attack – proudly boasted that he had come all the way across Paris in order to kill Jews gathering before the sabbath.
(None of this is new, of course. Even during the Holocaust, the New York Times did all it could to avoid mentioning that those being deported to Auschwitz and other camps were being deported because they were Jews.)
One can only imagine how many children might have died had the gunman managed to enter the bat mitzvah celebration yesterday.
The Copenhagen attack is not exactly a surprise. Only last month, AP reported that Denmark’s small Jewish community had asked their government for greater protection.
As Maajid Nawaz, a brave British Muslim who has dared to speak out against the extremists, said this morning regarding the Copenhagen attacks: “So, if the appeasers of jihadism ask people not to offend terrorists by drawing cartoons, what should Jews do not to offend? Cease to exist?”
And as for the Obama administration, the fact that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that it sent to Congress last week, omitted naming Jews as an ethnic group specifically threatened by ISIS (when in fact they may well be its prime targets) reveals all one needs to know about how seriously they take anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is never just about Jews. Fascists target Jews first, but they will surely come for others later.
Tom Gross is an international affairs commentator.