While the New York Times is publishing op-eds about whether to treat Israel as a pariah state, EU Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Ashton was throwing a little extra dirt on the graves of the three students and one teacher murdered in Toulouse.
Here is Emmanuel Navon's powerful column on Ashton's comments:
There are no words to express the horror of the Toulouse shooting, but EU Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton did manage to find the words that add insult to injury. "When we think about what happened today in Toulouse,” she said, “we remember what happened in Norway last year, we know what is happening in Syria, and we see what is happening in Gaza and other places - we remember young people and children who lose their lives."
Three Jewish children lost their lives in Toulouse on Monday because a murderer intentionally shot them in their school. There are sometimes civilian casualties, including among children, when Israel targets missile launching sites in Gaza. Israel’s military operations in Gaza are always a reaction to the shooting of missiles launched from Gaza and aimed at Israeli civilians. The former is a lawful act of self-defense while the latter is a war crime. The civil casualties of Israel’s military operations in Gaza are both unintentional and unavoidable, and Hamas is ultimately responsible for those casualties.
Even though Ashton reacted to the uproar caused by her remarks by declaring that she “drew no parallel whatsoever between the circumstances of the Toulouse attack and the situation in Gaza,” the comparison she made is outrageous.
Unfortunately, however, Ashton’s comparison is not an isolated act of clumsiness or malignity. Many world leaders and international organizations have gotten used to being outrageous when talking about Israel.