The murderous rampage of Mohammed Merah has been weighing on my mind.
It has been widely reported (for example, here) that Merah, the young Islamist terrorist who killed three French soldiers two weeks ago, and four Jews (including three children) at the Otzar HaTorah school in Toulouse this week, murdered Jews “to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children.”
But NPR went one even better, reporting — in the words of “All Things Considered” host Robert Siegel — that “the gunman told officials that he killed his victims in part to avenge slain Palestinian children.”
As far as I can tell, there is no direct quotation available from the terrorist (not ‘gunman’), or even a second-hand report that included an equivalent statement. NPR’s correspondent on the scene, Eleanor Beardsley, said (in the same segment) that
He’s been speaking to police and he told police that he’s angry about children in Palestine, he’s angry at France being in Afghanistan, he’s obviously angry at Jews, he’s angry at fellow Muslims who would wear the French uniform…
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, who should know what Merah told the police, said that he
wanted to avenge Palestinian children and take revenge on the French army because of its foreign interventions.
Some time after the attack and 24 hours before the police raid in which he was killed, Merah called the newsroom of French TV station France 24, where he spoke to News Editor Ebba Kalondo (video in English here). He gave his reasons for his actions, a litany of Muslim complaints against France, particularly including the ban on Islamic veils. With regard to the Otzar HaTorah murders, she said,
As for the attack on the Jewish School, he was adamant that it was revenge, for the killings of what he termed “my little brothers and sisters, in Palestine.”
In the absence of a direct quotation from Merah, NPR host Siegel could have quoted Kalondo or Gueant — or used a more neutral paraphrase. The phrase “slain Palestinian children” is more than journalistic exuberance: it implies that there is an equivalent, deliberate and vicious, action on the Israeli side to avenge. It suggests the narrative that “both sides are engaged in tit-for-tat violence” that NPR is always at pains to promote.
Although it is a staple of anti-Israel propaganda that Israel deliberately kills Arab children, the proposition is a blood libel and a case of reality inversion, given the long list of Israeli children targeted by Palestinian Arab terrorists. NPR shouldn’t help it along.
Of course, there is also the incredible craziness of the idea of ‘avenging’ the actions of France or Israel by grabbing an 8-year old girl by the hair and shooting her through the temple. The various news reports seem to accept this as expected in the world of Islamist terrorism.
Our administration seems to think that only al-Qaeda shares the ideology that works this way. But what is the ideology behind the random launching of rockets into Israel, a staple of Hamas, Hizballah and other Arab terror groups? What was the ideology of the terrorists that slaughtered the Fogel family, including 4-month old Hadas?
If we are not already numb, there’s this:
Merah, born in Toulouse of Algerian parents, told police negotiators he had murdered three small Jewish children, and a teacher, outside a school on Monday to “revenge Palestinian children”. However, he also, chillingly, told police that he had attacked the school in a random act of frustration after he failed to locate a soldier to continue his series of street killings of off-duty paratroopers.
So we have an ideology in which it makes sense to murder little children to ‘avenge’ actions by other people with whom they share an ethnicity, and the selection of Jews as the default murder victims when the preferred ones are not at hand.
Think about being the default murder victims when you wonder if the government of Israel is paranoid about Iran, for example.
Finally, there is the technocratic Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, so moderate that Hamas would not have him in a unity government, who made this statement on the murders:
It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life.
Either he is a hypocrite or entirely non-representative of his movement, because the official media of his own Palestinian authority this very month found it appropriate to honor terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who murdered 37 Israelis, including 13 children.
Perhaps the real Palestinian leadership should pay attention to his words.