Steyn: Exodus and Omar Khadr

Steyn on Omar Khadr

The author and columnist sounds off on Omar Khadr, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the trial of Norwegian Anders Breivik


As far as the media were concerned, the murder of Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse and a black teenager in Florida were the same story — literally: Angry white male opens fire on “the other,” his deeply ingrained racism inflamed by the tide of toxic right-wing hate infecting our public discourse. Alas, in Florida, the angry white male turned out to be a registered Democrat and half Hispanic — or, as the New York Times put it, a “white Hispanic,” a descriptor never applied by its editors to, say, Sonia Sotomayor or Gloria Estefan or indeed any other person living or dead. And in Toulouse the angry white male turned out to be yet another Muhammad.

Oh, well. Better luck next time, although the pickings seem likely to get thinner: Pitch the Western world a decade or two down the road, riven by an ever-more-fractious tribalism between blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims, and the one surviving nonagenarian neo-Nazi white supremacist will be at the retirement home. But it’ll still all be his fault.

The Toulouse assumptions were particularly deluded. If the flow of information is really controlled by Jews, as the Reverend Jeremiah Wright assured his students at the Chicago Theological Seminary a year or two back, you’d think they’d be a little better at making their media minions aware of one of the bleakest stories of the early 21st century: the extinguishing of what’s left of Jewish life in Europe. It would seem to me that the first reaction, upon hearing of a Jewish school shooting, would be to put it in the context of the other targeted schools, synagogues, community centers, and cemeteries. And yet liberal American Jews seem barely aware of this grim roll call. Even if you put to one side the public school in Denmark that says it can no longer take Jewish children because of the security situation, and the five children of the chief rabbi of Amsterdam who’ve decided to emigrate, and the Swedish Jews fleeing the most famously tolerant nation in Europe because of its pervasive anti-Semitism; even if you put all that to the side and consider only the situation in France… No, wait, forget the Villiers-le-Bel schoolgirl brutally beaten by a gang jeering, “Jews must die”; and the Paris disc-jockey who had his throat slit, his eyes gouged out, and his face ripped off by a neighbor who crowed, “I have killed my Jew”; and the young Frenchman tortured to death over three weeks, while his family listened via phone to his howls of agony as his captors chanted from the Koran… No, put all that to one side, too, and consider only the city of Toulouse. In recent years, in this one city, a synagogue has been firebombed, another set alight when two burning cars were driven into it, a third burgled and “Dirty Jews” scrawled on the ark housing the Torah, a kosher butcher’s strafed with gunfire, a Jewish sports association attacked with Molotov cocktails…

Here’s Toulouse rabbi Jonathan Guez speaking to the Jewish news agency JTA in 2009: “Guez said Jews would now be ‘more discreet’ about displaying their religion publicly and careful about avoiding troubled neighborhoods. … The synagogue will be heavily secured with cameras and patrol units for the first time.”

This is what it means to be a Jew living in one of the most beautiful parts of France in the 21st century.

Well, you say, why are those Jewish kids going to a Jewish school? Why don’t they go to the regular French school like normal French kids? Because, as the education ministry’s admirably straightforward 2004 Obin Report explained, “En France les enfants juifs — et ils sont les seuls dans ce cas — ne peuvent plus de nos jours être scolarisés dans n’importe quel établissement”: “In France, Jewish children, uniquely, cannot nowadays be provided with an education at any institution.” At some schools, they’re separated from the rest of the class. At others, only the principal is informed of their Jewishness, and he assures parents he will be discreet and vigilant. But, as the report’s authors note, “le patronyme des élèves ne le permet pas toujours”: “The pupil’s surname does not always allow” for such “discretion.”

Metropolitan Toulouse has a population of 900,000 or so, about the size of Jacksonville, Fla. Imagine if, in Jacksonville, synagogues were firebombed, and kosher butchers shot up, and Jewish schoolkids gunned down, and, in the dull, placid months between the spasms of front-page attention, the cold, ongoing Jew-hate were so routine that it was no longer safe for a Jew to walk his own city with any identifying mark of his faith, or for his child to reveal his Jewishness at school.

In Toulouse, much of the Jewish community arrived after the religio-ethnic cleansing of French North Africa in the Sixties and Seventies. What they fled has followed them to the Midi-Pyrénées, and now it’s time to move on again — as it is elsewhere in Europe. “Jews with a conscience should leave Holland, where they and their children have no future, leave for the U.S. or Israel,” advised Frits Bolkestein, the former EU commissioner and head of the Dutch Liberal party. “Anti-Semitism will continue to exist, because the Moroccan and Turkish youngsters don’t care about efforts for reconciliation.”

Thus, posterity’s jest. Pre-war Europeans would never have entertained for a moment the construction of mosques from Malmö to Marseilles. But post-war Holocaust guilt, and the revulsion against nationalism and the embrace of multiculturalism and mass immigration, enabled the Islamization of Europe. The principal beneficiaries of the Continent’s penance for the great moral stain of the 20th century turned out to be the Muslims — with the Jews on the receiving end, yet again.

It won’t stop there. Mijnheer Bolkestein is not (yet) asking what else those “youngsters” don’t care for, but like many other secular Continentals with no interest in Jews one way or the other he’ll soon find out.