The murderer who gunned down children and teachers on their way to school at Ozar Hatorah in the French city of Toulouse this morning was acting from “no clear motive,” according to the New York Times. Gil Taieb, a vice president of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France, was only one of many who knew a lie when he heard one. “For someone to locate this school in a place like Toulouse means he knew what he was doing,” Taieb told the Jerusalem Post. “He went there to kill Jews.”
So far four have died in the attack: Yonathan Sandler, a 30-year-old teacher at the school who had recently emigrated from Jerusalem, along with his two children, six-year-old Aryeh and three-year-old Gavriel, and Miriam Monstango, the eight-year-old daughter of Ozar Hatorah’s principal. “At some point, the shooter entered the school and began firing inside,” a witness told Haaretz. A 17-year-old boy was also seriously wounded, and is said to be hovering between life and death. After the attack, the gunman hopped on a motorbike and sped away. French police and anti-terrorism forces have launched an all-out search for the killer, but so far he has not been found.
Nor have his ethnicity and affiliations (if any) been established. That did not stop commentators on the Washington Post’s story from issuing the standard “Israelis kill innocent children too” equivalencies. This much can be said for certain, however: the shooting at a Jewish religious school had nothing to do with Israel, except in as far as all Jews are identified with Israel, for better or worse. The gunman could not have singled out Rabbi Sandler and his two children, since according to witnesses, he “shot at everything he could see.” As Jonathan said, he simply wanted to kill as many Jews as possible.
But the fact that commentators were quick to draw a connection to Israel — Arab commentators on the Jerusalem Post story did the same — reveals an undeniable truth: Anti-Zionism is indistinguishable from anti-Semitism, precisely because all Jews are identified with Israel, for better or worse.
And there is another connection between this morning’s shooting and the Jewish state as well. If the innocent dead and wounded at Ozar Hatorah were targeted only because they are Jews, there is one place on earth where they will be protected, only because they are Jews. Perhaps there is no better justification than that for the state of Israel.