Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu came to Paris, France in January 2015 to show his support for free speech and to confront anti-Semitism in the wake of terror attacks at the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket. He addressed a large Jewish audience at the Grand Synagogue where he invited the Jews to make aliyah – to move to Israel.
“Any Jew who chooses to come to Israel will be greeted with open arms and an open heart, it is not a foreign nation, and hopefully they and you will one day come to Israel.”
Many people criticized his statement including, not surprisingly, his Israeli political opponents during an election season. The French were also unhappy with the call to move to Israel. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that “if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”
French President Francois Hollande made a similar statement a few days later: “French people of the Jewish faith, your place is here, in your home. France is your country.“
It is right and proper that the leaders of France seek to assure the country’s Jewish citizens that France is their home and they should not flee the country from fear. But to berate Netanyahu for his remarks does not take into account the climate in which the invitation to move to the Jewish State was made.
Consider that Netanyahu did not come to France and invite the French Jews after attacks targeting their community in 2012 or 2006. But he felt that the situation for Jews in Europe had deteriorated significantly throughout 2014 which compelled him to invite the largest Jewish population in Europe, with an estimated 500,000 people, to move to Israel:
- January 2014: The European Union made clear it will blame Israel for a failure in the US-led 2013-4 peace talks
- April 2014: The ADL published a report on anti-Semitism in the world. It found that Palestinians were by far the most anti-Semitic people in the world, with almost everyone (93%) being classified as an anti-Semite. Eastern and Western Europe were the next most anti-Semitic regions, after the Middle East/North Africa.
- April 2014: Fatah announces a unity move with terrorist party Hamas which the USA only described as “disappointing” and Europe issued no comment at all
- May 2014: A Muslim man opened fire at the Jewish Museum in Brussels killing four.
- May 2014: EU bans poultry and eggs from the Israeli-administered West Bank of the Jordan River.
- June 2014: Several European countries and the European Union criticized Israel over settlements claiming that they were “illegal” and threatened potential economic measures against entities in those areas.
- June 2014: Three Israeli teenagers were abducted and murdered by Palestinians. European Union took five days to issue statement.
- June 2014: riots in France called for “death to the Jews“
- July 2014: riots in Germany included firebombing a synagogue and imam calling “destroy the Zionist Jews … Count them and kill them, to the very last one.”
- July 2014: Store in Belgium posted sign “No Jews Allowed“
- August 2014: George Galloway, a member of the British parliament called his hometown of Bradford “an Israel-free zone“
- August 2014: The large Spanish department store, Zara, with branches throughout Europe, designed and began to sell “Holocaust dresses” complete with prison uniform stripes and a yellow Jewish star
- October 2014: Sweden decided to recognize Palestine as a state, despite the PA acting President being a Holocaust denier, and the leading party in parliament being Hamas whose charter explicitly calls for killing Jews
- October 2014: The United Kingdom passed a non-binding resolution to recognize Palestine as a state
- October 2014 Sears Department store decided to sell rings with swastikas
- December 2014 The European Union voted to declassify Hamas as terrorist organization. Hamas’s charter is a combination of Hitler’s Mein Kamf, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and a jihad manifesto (which mentions “jihad” 11 times in the charter).
- December 2014: Ireland recognized Palestine
- December 2014: France and Luxembourg are among 8 countries that vote in favor of a Palestinian resolution at the United Nations to force a timeline for a Palestinian state, regardless of actions by the Palestinians (motion fails).
- January 2015: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said PA to join International Criminal Court
In summary, the year before the Paris shootings was a cascade of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activities in Europe. The year 2014 began with Netanyahu releasing terrorists to push forward a peace initiative (of which he was very skeptical) at the urging of the USA and Europe. It proved meaningless to the peace process and world opinion; Israel and Jews in Europe were attacked throughout the year, first by Palestinians and then by Europeans.
For Netanyahu, the prior twelve months had:
- Israel release prisoners, including Palestinian murderers of Israeli civilians, at the direct urging of allies
- Their Palestinian counter-party break peace talks by joining with Hamas and international organizations
- A summer in which: three teenagers were abducted and murdered; Israel located an extensive Hamas tunnel network from Gaza into Israel to launch attacks; Israel combated thousands of incoming missiles from Gaza. Yet Israel was still criticized by Europe and the global community for defensive actions
- European cities launch multiple riots against Jews
- European countries reward the Palestinians with admission to more world bodies and votes of endorsement
- The European Union remove Hamas from its terrorist list
For Netanyahu – and many Jews – the year in Europe echoed back 75 years to a period in which the continent nearly annihilated its Jewish citizens. It was bad enough that Israelis contend with Palestinian Arabs that are more extreme than the Nazis of the 1930s. But that Europeans embraced this ideaology was truly frightening, particularly as it stood in contrast to values they claimed to support.
In 1939, at the early stages of the Holocaust, Britain drafted the White Paper at the behest of Arabs in the Middle East, which limited Jewish immigration to Palestine at the outset of the Holocaust – a move which likely killed over 100,000 Jews – despite the specific mandate to facilitate the immigration of Jews to their homeland.
In 2015, the Prime Minister of Israel heard the calls to kill Jews, and made clear that a world with an established Jewish State will not allow a repeat of the European Holocaust.
Related First One Through articles:
Europe hurting the peace process: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/failing-negotiation-102-europe/
Europe penalizing Israel even though Palestinians are the reluctant peace partner: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/european-narrative-over-facts/
Jews continue to move out of Europe to Israel and the US music video (Diana Ross): https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/the-loss-of-jews-in-europe-continues/
Ignoring Jihad only when it comes to Israel: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/radical-jihadists-in-europe-and-dislocated-and-alienated-palestinians-in-Israel/