Shemot: Satirists and Terrorists


Tragedy Meets Comedy

They say that there is a thin line between tragedy and comedy, but no one was prepared for the tragic slaughter of a team of lampoonists by Muslim terrorists.

Beyond the horror of the cold-blooded killings — and without minimizing them in any way — there is something very ironic and chilling about a group of three virulent Muslims wielding an arsenal of weapons, entering into a weekly editorial meeting of cartoonists and editors of a satirical newspaper, and murdering them all because of their mockery of their prophets and leaders.

It’s one thing to wage a crusade against religious enemies following the rules of engagement. That too is reprehensible. But it takes on a completely other dimension when gunmen, in a totally premeditated move, storm an editorial office shooting to death defenseless people — all in the name of their faith.

But in a world of indiscriminate beheadings why should we be surprised? Yet, these killings strike us more due to the juxtaposition of media — albeit, of the cynical genre — jokers — and assassins.

Not every day brings a head-on collision between irreverence and zealotry, strident non-conformists and rigid radicals, strongly anti-religious, left-wing voices and religious right-wing fanatics.

Indeed, comedy met tragedy face-to-face — with deeply tragic — nothing at all comical about it — results.

Some suggest that France is now getting its due after its recent escalating muggings of Israel and tolerating Muslim atrocities against Jews. Like the miners’ canary: Whenever Jews are attacked first, rest assured, everybody else comes next (see Game Plan).

Others go as far as to argue that Europe overall is getting its payback after what it did — or did not do (in the form of silent accomplices) — to the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Imagine what Europe would look like today had the six million Jews survived and went on to build families, communities and businesses; how that would have transformed that continent.

But alas, that was not meant to be. So after years of appeasement, Europe — with France at the forefront — seems destined to becoming a Muslim continent in the next few decades or less. Churchill said it best: An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

We should be loathe to suggest that France deserved this atrocity, that this was a punishment for France’s behavior. No one deserves to be executed, no less in this fashion by Muslim terrorists. But at the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that a climate of compromise and pandering if not groveling — whether it is in France, Israel or anywhere else — does not bode well in a surging sea of predators.

And then there is the issue of Islam and terrorism. Some are bending over backwards, for one reason or another, to emphasize that these attacks have nothing to do with Islam. They even go so far as saying that all religions have their radicals — as if there is equivalence between Muslim terrorist attacks of our era and other radical movements. While it’s true that not all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists today are Muslims. You have to wonder why.

What is it about Islam — its leaders, its message and its education — that creates such a fertile breeding ground for terrorism?!

Don’t get me wrong. No doubt that the majority of Muslims and Arabs could, and may want to, be peace-loving. But one could argue the same for the majority of Germans during World War II. Yet, we hold them collectively responsible for allowing the Nazis to come to power. In face of the genocide and atrocities taking place under their eyes even their silence was a crime. In addition to the fact, that the Nazis were not some foreign import; they were the children and products of German society.

The Middle East is a breeding ground – a platform – for terrorism, for genocide. The schools are educating the children with certain ideas that are allowing for mass terror as a viable option to be exercised – or tolerated – in order to advance a cause. That simply is unacceptable. (See How Far are We Away from Sinai?).

Even more alarming: Why is the world not clamoring for and demanding an answer to this question?!

Instead, Israel is vilified.

If would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic — another instance of comedy meeting tragedy — that so much credibility is given to the Palestinians joining the Hague to prosecute Israel — the mist humane military in history — for war crimes, when Hamas, ISIS and so many other Muslim militant groups are violating human rights on an ongoing basis in the most atrocious ways!

No one can predict the future. But one thing is clear: As long as we choose to ignore the imminent dangers of unchecked toxins being fed to the young impressionable minds of the next generation of Muslims, until we don’t face up to the realities on the ground, we will be vulnerable to their distorted and obscene passions.

Half the cure to any problem is: awareness.

If nothing else, perhaps this is the sad lesson learned from the merciless killings of the comics at Charlie Hebdo.

Time to wake up.


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Shmuel Goldsmith
9 years ago

[A]ll terrorists today are Muslims. This is a demonstrably false statement, and you know it. What purpose is served by such hyperbole?

9 years ago

As I was outraged for all the hatred against Israel last summer, on a lecture by our Rab on erev Yo Kippur, he mentioned something that made me less angry, but not less concerned. He mentioned that the World expects the jewish people to do good things and expect muslim extremists to do horrible things. So every time Israel does something a bit wrong all the world will say something. But when events like those of Charlie Hebdo happen, no one will be surprised thus allowing it to continue…
Sad but true I believe.
It can be seen as a compliment, nonetheless it still feels unfair in every way. As you said it in your own words: It is ok for Hamas to fire rockets to civilians and commit countless acts of terror, but not ok for Israel to defend its right to exist!
I wouldnt be surprised if the ICC would find guilty Israel. Unfortunately nothing surprises me anymore in this twisted World.
Thank you for all your insights.
From Mexico, Shabat Shalom to all.

Richard R
9 years ago

You, as usual, are spot on. But you have limited it to Europe. The West faces a plague of cognitive dissonance. To recognize the truth has consequences and those consequences involve a responsibility and commitment that we are not ready or willing to undertake. Our culture has been in the decline for decades because we refuse to recognize so many of our liberal leanings, while well meaning, have been a failure. Like our appeasement of Hitler, Stalin, etc. we wont deal with it until it reach global crisis proportions. Why our species has been created this way is the real question.

Benjamin Walter
9 years ago

Mr. Jacobsons position is historically informed and right on target. Fearless. Unafraid to look at current dangers with a clear and discerning eye.

Carol Walter
9 years ago

If only your clear, sharp and accurate column could be printed in the NY Times! Everyone seems so afraid of antagonizing Muslims, but theirs is a religion that does not value life or freedom. The West must change its cringing attitude or we will all descend into a new version of the Dark Ages.

9 years ago

PLEASE send this article to Hannity on CNN.
Rabbi you have been calling for a revolution.
It is time to take center stage.

9 years ago

Concerning our external observations and the related model of the world about us, the article is completely accurate and makes its point well. But as Jews, we know that Ein Od Mlvado–There is none but Him, and that everything in the world happens because of us–that the world has no freewill regarding us, etc.

Do we learn the lesson of this past weeks parsha. Do we still teem into the theaters and every beckoning ism away from our mission. Does it drive us to in-fighting, to condemning each other to the world about us. Do we have mutual responsibility, guarantee, love above hatred. Do we know that not doing what is hateful to us to our friend is the whole of the Torah–is this what we emphasize? Do we know that loving our neighbor as ourselves is the general principle of the Torah–is this what we emphasize? Do we have mutual responsibility and guarantee? Do we have love over hatred of difference? Do we represent the Unity we proclaim the G-d of Israel to be. Do the nations have cause to think that we were supposed to bring them some greater good than hi-tech innovations. Are we the promised Light to the Nations? Or do we leave them with darkness and then complain about that great demon of darkness, Antisemitism, born of it?

The irony pointed out of the accusations against Israel in the context of external realities is indeed surreal–a complete theater of the absurd. And indeed, and imaginary reality of cause and effect is such.

We best awaken as soon as possible–we must. For our sakes, and the sakes of the nations of the world. For they are our charges. Like it or not, by the covenant of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov–by what we took on at Mount Sinai–by Divine decree–those nations our charges. We must do right by G-d and these nations that we are sworn to connect. And until then, this horror show continues–projected out onto the screen of this world by our own national soul…

9 years ago

PLEASE. …share. What non-muslim terrorist attacks have there been in the last decade.

Hunter ORourke
9 years ago

Biran:– studyshows more non-muslim terrorists among us

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