There’s indication and reports that the French government did everything it could to try and dissuade Israeli PM Netanyahu from visiting France and participating in their unity march, and when that failed, they insulted him with political snubs.
Security may sound like valid concern for not wanting Netanyahu there, but with 40 other world leaders present, that excuse sounds feeble.
The bottom line is that Hollande didn’t want Netanyahu raining on France’s parade.
Because France is different. France’s terrorism is not like Israel’s terrorism.
France’s terrorism is against liberté and equality and fraternity.
While in France’s eyes, as the French media pointed out, Israel’s terrorism stems from a political dispute.
And if France wasn’t sure Israel understood that message, if Bibi dared show up, France would condescendingly invite the head of the PLO to march next to Bibi just to make that point absolutely clear.
But to their dismay Netanyahu showed up, and he didn’t let them keep him in the second row, or put him on the second bus, and he didn’t stand next to the Munich Massacre financier Abu Mazen either.
And it was incredibly important that Netanyahu did all that.
Because while numerous countries around the world are dealing with Islamic terrorism, it is Israel that has faced it from the beginning, and has fought it, often quite alone, not just for Israel’s sake, but for the entire world’s.
Over the past few years so, the Jewish communities of France have been subject to terrorism and violent anti-Semitism. Terrorism because they were Jewish, not because they were French or drew some offensive cartoons.
The Islamic terrorist attacks in France last week were the natural evolution of those attacks on the Jewish people.
But when the Islamic terrorists murdered Ilan Halimi and the Jewish children in Toulouse, they weren’t just attacking some Jews, like the French perhaps thought. They were attacking France itself and the values it stands for. The Jews were just first in line.
Netanyahu’s participation at the front of the march, on the first bus, and in the Paris Synagogue were messages that France and Hollande need to hear – that Israel and the Jewish people are one, we stand together, and we lead the fight against Islamic terrorism for us and for you.
The terrorism that France faces is the same exact terrorism that Israel fights, and when that terrorism in France was primarily directed at Jews, when the French didn’t yet comprehend that it was also directed at them and at their liberté and democracy, we in Israel, we the Jewish people understood it completely.
Upon entering the Paris synagogue, Netanyahu was greeted with cheers and song, not because he is the Prime Minister of Israel, but because he is viewed as the Prime Minister of the Jewish people.
By snubbing Netanyahu, France wasn’t just snubbing Israel, it was snubbing France’s own Jewish citizens, it was belittling the previous terror attacks against France’s Jewish communities, and showing that France doesn’t yet fully comprehend the magnitude of its latest encounter with Islamic terror.
One hopes that Hollande and France will understand Netanyahu’s message, and realize that France must unconditionally stand with Israel against Islamic terror, just as Israel and the Jewish people stand with France in their hour of need, at the front of the line.