Two Jewish cousins, Aviel and Biyamin Hadad, as well as three guards were gunned down near the Djerba Synagogue in Tunisia. The cousins were part of a large Jewish contingent which came to the synagogue as part of Lag B’Omer festivities.
The Jewish community in Tunisia is a shadow of its former self, as the Islamification of the country at its independence in 1956 made the Jews unwelcome, as they were relegated to second class “dhimmi” status. For example, from that time, all Jewish businesses were forced to take on a Muslim partner.
In 1957, the old Tunis Jewish cemetery was expropriated, and in 1960, the great Tunis synagogue was destroyed. Jews began to flee the country in 1961 as they were throughout the Muslim Arab countries. Tunisia only allowed Jews to take one dinar with them, as the country confiscated the rest of their possessions, in a massive theft as part of its ethnic cleansing.
These are plain facts. All rewritten in The New York Times telling of the horrific shootings.
According to the Times, the killer “shot indiscriminately near the synagogue”, “killing two visitors and two guards.” It then added color that there was “no motive for the shooting, in which a 42-year old French national, whom the authorities described as a French-Tunisian, and a 30-year Tunisian were killed.”
No mention that the two visitors were Jews and no mention of anti-Semitism.
Instead, the synagogue is referred to as a tourist site, which came under attack much like other tourist sites had been attacked in Tunisia. The synagogue was simply a “tourist attraction” which had also been attacked in April 2002, “killing 21 Western tourists.” The Times worried that “Tuesday’s shooting could harm the country’s crucial tourism industry,” a real problem, as the country is “in a political and economic crisis.”
In regards to the routing of the country’s Jews, the paper said that the “community shrank as Djerban Jews migrated to Israel or France,” and “in general, the Jews and Muslims of Djerba have coexisted peacefully.”
A complete disregard of the Islamic nationalism which routed the Jewish community.
As for that attack in 2002 which the Times said “militants detonated a truck bomb at the synagogue,” it is worth telling some uncomfortable truths about that event, as detailed by Aaron Zelin in his work “Fifteen Years after the Djerba Synagogue bombing.” To summarize:
- The mastermind of the April 2002 attack was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), one of the masterminds of the attacks of 9/11 and responsible for the beheading of Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl.
- The attack was conducted by a Tunisian, Nizar Nawar in conjunction with al Qaeda. While trained in Afghanistan, he received logistical support in Spain and France.
- A statement of responsibility was released after the attacks by Jaysh al-Islami Li-Tahrir al-Muqadisat (JITM, or the Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Sites, a front name for al-Qa`ida) via fax to the Arabic newspapers Al-Hayat and Al-Quds al-Arabi, “that Nawar carried the attack out in the name of Palestine against the Jews”
- Zelin noted a connection between the training and choice of targets of jihadi attacks. “Global jihadis have retained a focus on Jewish-related entities. Nawar chose to attack a Jewish synagogue in Tunisia, while more recently, Mehdi Nemmouche attacked the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels. Part of this trend is due to the continuing resonance of the Palestinian plight within the broader Muslim world, which jihadi groups co-opt to gain legitimacy, support, and new recruits.”
- “In the aftermath of the Djerba synagogue bombing, the Tunisian government was initially dismissive of any ties to terrorism, suggesting the attack was only an accident. A sense of denial about the threat contributed to a fundamental lack of understanding within Tunisia’s political establishment of jihadism.”
- “Tunisians have long been involved in international terrorism plots, attacks, and foreign fighting. This trend is likely to continue, especially as so many Tunisians have gone to train in Libya, Iraq, and Syria over the past six years. The Nizar Nawars of today are finding a melting pot of contacts and networks they can tap into, just as Nawar himself did more than 15 years ago.”
The 2002 attack was clearly an antisemitic attack by pro-Palestinian global jihadists, not a generic al Qaeda attack against tourists the way the Times portrayed. As in 2002, the Tunisian government denies the charge of antisemitism, saying “Tunisia will always remain a land of tolerance and coexistence,” and that the purpose of the attack was to “sow the seeds of discord, damage the tourist season and damage the state.”
The Global Intifada has begun, and the media will not even say that Jews died or antisemitism exists, and the Arab world is narrowly focused on the impact to their pocketbooks.
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