Who Won’t Republish Charlie’s Cartoons? Ctd

A reader makes a good point:

In general, I completely agree with the notion that the offending cartoons are newsworthy and should be published (I recently changed my Facebook photo to the “kissing a Muslim man” Charlie Hebdo cartoon precisely to make that point). But I do want to call attention to one major difference about out about the various media outlets that Christopher Massie refers to. “Legacy” organizations have journalists working on the ground throughout the world while newer digital outlets generally don’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if the primary factor in the decision not to publish those cartoons was protecting the safety of  reporters and safeguarding their ability to continue reporting from around the globe.

If BuzzFeed and Slate had journalists and photographers on their payroll working in Riyadh, Jakarta, or Damascus, I’m not convinced those organization would be so quick to reprint the offending images. It’s a heck of a lot easier to post a cartoon of a crying Mohammed when you’re in Manhattan than if you’re working for a news bureau in Cairo.

Update from a Dutch reader:

I have to call bullshit on that. Here are some Dutch front-pages from the day after:


And Flemish front-pages:


So plenty of Dutch and Flemish newspapers had Charlie cartoons on their front-pages, and all had them inside. And from Germany:


And here’s a slideshow of other front-pages from around the world. You think those papers have no international correspondents?

Not publishing insulting religious cartoons is a typical American problem. I read a comment somewhere in the Dutch or Flemish media that suggested that since America is so much more religious than Europe, mockery of religion in general is a no-go area in the US. And that’s true. There is no serious mockery of religion in the US. Bill Maher may be the exception to that rule, and see how much crap he gets for it. The sharpest criticism of religion comes from Stephen Colbert, a devout Catholic himself.

Remember the mess when South Park wanted to show Muhammed in an episode? No-go, said Comedy Central.

Though Matt and Trey were able to get away with this crap-fest in lieu of Muhammed:

Another reader points to a notable exception in the US:

I hate to burst the first reader’s bubble about legacy new orgs, but Bloomberg News has reporters all over the world and in the places the reader mentioned, and it published every one of the “offensive” cartoons. Here’s the main one I’m thinking of, and other images have run with various stories Bloomberg writers have covered on different aspects of what’s going on.

And as we noted earlier, the WaPo did in fact publish a Charlie cover featuring Muhammed, in the opinion section. Money quote from Fred Hiatt:

I think seeing the cover will help readers understand what this is all about.


Nous Sommes Charlie, But Do We Really Want To Be? Ctd


Update from a reader on the above image:

That cartoon looks bad, but if you understand the French, the meaning seems to me to be actually anti-racist. “La GPA” is “la gestation pour autrui,” or in English “surrogate motherhood.”  The point of the cartoon is that when wealthy white couples pay poor women of color to be their surrogates, they are exploiting them. The point is somewhat bluntly and crudely made, but not at all offensive to my sensibilities. Others may differ, I suppose.

Jordan Weissmann urges us not to be afraid to criticize Charlie Hebdo‘s over-the-top (and often lame) humor even as we stand in solidarity with the victims of Wednesday’s terror attack:

So what should we do? We have to condemn obvious racism as loudly as we defend the right to engage in it. We have to point out when an “edgy” cartoon is just a crappy Islamophobic jab. We shouldn’t pretend that every magazine cover with a picture of Mohammed is a second coming of The Satanic Verses.

Making those distinctions isn’t going to placate the sorts of militants who are already apt to tote a machine gun into a magazine office. But it is a way to show good faith to the rest of a marginalized community, to show that free speech isn’t just about mocking their religion. It’s hard to talk about these things today, when so many families, a country, and a profession are rightfully in mourning. But it’s also necessary.

In Arthur Chu’s viewCharlie often violated satire’s unspoken rule to “punch up, not down”:

I mean, Muslims in France right now aren’t doing so great. The scars of the riots nine years ago are still fresh for many people, Muslims make up 60 to 70 percent of the prison population despite being less than 20 percent of the population overall, and France’s law against “religious symbols in public spaces” is specifically enforced to target Muslim women who choose to wear hijab—ironic considering we’re now touting Charlie Hebdo as a symbol of France’s staunch commitment to civil liberties.

Muslims in France are clearly worse off overall than, say, Jean Sarkozy (the son of former president Nicholas Sarkozy) and his wife Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, but Charlie Hebdo saw fit to apologize for an anti-Semitic caricature of Ms. Sebaoun-Darty and fire longtime cartoonist Siné over the incident while staunchly standing fast on their right to troll Muslims by showing Muhammad naked and bending over—which tells you something about the brand of satire they practice and, when push comes to shove, that they’d rather be aiming downward than upward.

The firing of Siné indeed showed a shameful double standard. Jonathan Laurence’s concern is that the chorus of “je suis Charlie” will play into the hands of the far right and normalize nastiness toward Muslims:

When the shock and sadness recede, it will become apparent that despite hashtags to the contrary, not all French “are Charlie Hebdo.” Numerous Catholic and Muslim groups offended by their cartoonists regularly filed lawsuits for incitement of racial or religious hatred against the newspaper—including after they republished the Danish prophet cartoons. Despite the understandable temptation to enter into a clear-cut opposition of “us versus them,” we can only hope that other political leaders will emerge to urge caution and respect while rejecting the murderers with every fiber of their being. It would be an unfortunate irony, and a distortion of these satirists’ legacy, if “politically incorrect” became the new politically correct.

Dreher asks whether Americans would be so quick to say “je suis” if the victims were from an organization we were more familiar with:

I can’t speak for French sensibilities, obviously, but here in America, it’s easy for us on both the Left and the Right to join the Je suis Charlie mob, because it costs us exactly nothing. Nobody here knows what Charlie Hebdo stands for; all we know is that its staff were the victims of Islamist mass murder, of the sort with which we are all familiar. We know that this murder strikes at one of the basic freedoms we take for granted: freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. Feelings of solidarity with those murdered souls are natural, and even laudable.

But what makes it kitschy is that we love thinking of ourselves standing in solidarity with the brave journalists against the Islamist killers. When the principle of standing up for free speech might cost us something far, far less than our lives, most of us would fold. You didn’t see liberals wearing “I Am Brendan Eich” slogans; many on the Left think he got what he deserved, because blasphemers like him don’t deserve a place in public life. Nor did you see conservatives brandishing “I Am Brendan Eich” slogans, because they feared they might be next.

Hear hear. Beutler, for his part, doesn’t think we need to praise Charlie in order to stand against terrorism:

The massacre in Paris has awakened a liberal tendency to valorize all objects of illiberal enmity. If an Islamist kills a westerner for a particular blasphemy, then the blasphemy itself must be embraced. We saw something similar just last month when countless Americans, rightly aggrieved by the extortion of a U.S.-based movie company, became determined to find reason to praise a satirical film they would’ve otherwise panned. This is clearly not always the correct reaction to terrorism or extortion. Here, liberals can learn a lesson from Second Amendment absolutists who nevertheless condemn open-carry demonstrations in fast food restaurants.

Likewise, Drum objects to the Dish’s framing of decisions by the WaPo and other news outlets not to republish Charlie’s cartoons as “capitulations”:

Anyone who wishes to publish offensive cartoons should be free to do so. Likewise, anyone who wants to reprint the Charlie Hebdo cartoons as a demonstration of solidarity is free to do so. I hardly need to belabor the fact that there are excellent arguments in favor of doing this as a way of showing that we won’t allow terrorists to intimidate us. But that works in the other direction too. If you normally wouldn’t publish cartoons like these because you consider them needlessly offensive, you shouldn’t be intimidated into doing so just because there’s been a terrorist attack. Maintaining your normal policies even in the face of a terrorist attack is not “capitulation.” It’s just the opposite.

But the WaPo is a news organization, and these cartoons are at the heart of the news story of the Western world right now. News outlets can post the Charlie cartoons simply to show what all the fuss is about, without endorsing the images in the slightest. But as Dan Savage rightly asserts, they refuse to do so out of fear – the kind of fear that terrorists thrive on. The Dish, as it happens, has never posted anything from Charlie Hebdo outside the context of Islamists threatening or attacking them, mostly because their satire isn’t terribly good. Several years ago we posted a few cartoons from Carlos LaTuff before discovering that he’s a vile anti-Semite and that many of his cartoons reflect that (though not the two we posted), so we have since refused to feature any of his work. But if LaTuff became part of a news story like Charlie Hebdo has, we would certainly post his offending cartoons – like we did earlier this afternoon. Stephen Carter gets it right:

Many news organizations, in reporting on the Paris attacks, have made the decision not to show the cartoons that evidently motivated the attackers. This choice is sensibly prudent — who wants to wind up on a hit list? — but from the point of view of the terrorist, it furnishes evidence for the rationality of the action itself. Killing can be a useful weapon if it gets the killer more of what he wants. Terror seeks to raise the price of the policy to which terrorists object. In that sense it’s like a tax on a particular activity. In general, more taxes mean less of the activity. If you don’t want people to smoke, you make smoking more expensive. If you don’t want people to mock the Prophet Muhammad, you kill them for it. The logic is ugly and evil, but it’s still logic. …

The terrorist knows what scares us. He believes he also knows what will break us. Our short-run task is to prove rather than assert him wrong. In the long run, however, the only true means of deterrence is the creation of a new history, in which the terrorist is always tracked to his lair, and never gets what he wants.

Where Death For Blasphemy Is The Norm

The staff of Charlie Hebdo were not the only people killed on Wednesday for blaspheming Islam. In Pakistan, 52-year-old Aabid Mehmood, a mentally disturbed man who had served two years in jail for claiming he was a prophet, was kidnapped and murdered – a sadly common occurrence in a country where blasphemy is a capital crime:

Mehmood was spared a death sentence, but he spent more than two years in prison. He was released several months ago because of his medical condition, said Muhammad Ayub, a local police official. On Wednesday, according to Ayub, unknown gunmen took Mehmood from his home and shot him in the head and chest before dumping his body. …

Thirty-eight people in Pakistan are serving life sentences or are on death row after being accused of blasphemy, according to Knox Thames, director of policy and research at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Five of them were convicted in 2014, the same year that a high court upheld the death sentence for a Christian woman accused of defaming Muhammad during a 2010 argument with co-workers. For many blasphemy suspects, however, the real death sentence all too often comes at the hands of enraged mobs.

And just today, a liberal blogger in Saudi Arabia was publicly flogged for “insulting Islam”:

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 1.32.07 AM[Raif] Badawi, 30, was arrested in June 2012 and charged with offenses ranging from cyber crime to disobeying his father and apostasy, or abandoning his faith. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals ($266,666) and 1,000 lashes last year after prosecutors challenged an earlier sentence of seven years and 600 lashes as being too lenient. Witnesses said that Badawi was flogged after the weekly Friday prayers near Al-Jafali mosque as a crowd of worshipers looked on.

Badawi got off easy, in the sense that Saudi Arabia also considers apostasy a capital crime. So as bad as France’s blasphemy laws are, they’re nothing compared to many in the Muslim world. In the search for some constructive response to the Charlie massacre, Tomasky suggests we focus our ire on the latter laws:

[S]urely at least part of the reason that terrorists think it’s okay to kill people who blaspheme the Prophet is that too many Arab or Muslim states say it’s okay. It would be nice to see a concerted international effort to change these laws grow out of this week’s calamity.

At least Western governments like Ireland and Canada are getting that message:

Blasphemy laws are harshest and most common in the Muslim world, but aren’t exclusive to it. In the wake of Pussy Riot’s church performance, Russia’s parliament passed a new law mandating jail terms for insults to religion. Nearly a quarter of the world’s countries have blasphemy laws on their books, according to Pew, and one out of 10 bans apostasy. The Charlie Hebdo killings have already prompted some Western governments, notably Ireland and Canada, to announce that they will reconsider the blasphemy laws on their books. But in much of the world, governments, not terrorists, will continue to be the biggest threat to freedom of and from religion.

(Image of Badawi via a GlobalPost tweet)

Faces Of The Day

Police Storm Kosher Deli To End Hostage Situation

Residents return to their homes following the hostage situation at a kosher deli in Port de Vincennes in Paris, France on January 9, 2015. By Dan Kitwood/Getty Images. From a summary of today’s events on the Guardian live-blog:

• Two separate police raids in Paris and Dammartin-en-Goële killed the Charlie Hebdo gunmen and a third man, ending a three-day manhunt. Police found Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, wanted for murdering 12 people in Paris on Wednesday, and cornered them in a printworks office. … One hostage escaped unharmed in Dammartin-en-Goële.

Four hostages were killed and four wounded in the supermarket in Paris, where Amedy Coulibaly held civilians captive. Authorities believe Coulibaly and an accomplice killed a policewoman Thursday in southern France, naming her as Hayat Boumeddienne, and described her as “armed and dangerous” and at large.

In an interview before he was killed, Cherif Kouachi claimed that he was sent by al-Qaida in Yemen, as a defender of the prophet. In a separate interview, Coulibaly said that his attack had been ‘synchronized’ with the Kouachis’ Charlie Hebdo attack.

Never Forget The Muslim Victims Of Islamic Terrorism

Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo has already inspired a backlash against France’s Muslim community, with several incidents targeting mosques, businesses, and even individuals:

Three grenades hit a mosque in Le Mans, in the early hours of Thursday while in Aude, southern France, two gunshots were fired at an empty prayer room. A Muslim family in their car in Vaucluse came briefly under fire but escaped unharmed, and a mosque in Poitiers was daubed with graffitti saying “Death to Arabs”. In Villefranche-sur-Saône, an explosion blew out the windows of a kebab shop next door to the town mosque. …

Nourredine, a taxi driver, said the cold-blooded attack on Wednesday at Charlie Hebdo had left him very saddened and angry. It had reminded him of his home country, Algeria, in the 60s and 70s, he said, where “journalists were often the first to be targeted” by extremists. “But you know, we will become victims of this atrocity,” he said. “There is real stigmatisation in France. I love this country, really I do, but this stigmatisation, this amalgamation, this tarring all Muslims with the same brush – all it does is feed the extremists. It helps the Front National, the people who hate and fear Islam.”

This tweet says it better than anything else:


H.A. Hellyer is dismayed that French Muslims are being called upon to condemn an act that, in the long run, stands to hurt them as much as anyone else:

While the attackers may claim to have killed in the name of the Prophet’s honor, they killed someone with the Prophet’s name in the process: a French policeman called Ahmed Merabet.

As a Frenchman, he was targeted by extremists; as a Muslim, his community is targeted by extremists worldwide; and as a French Muslim, his local community stands at risk of an anti-Muslim backlash. Muslim terrorists kill far more Muslims than non-Muslims, and far more Muslims than non-Muslims are fighting these extremists. The day of the Charlie Hebdo attack, several dozen Muslims were killed by radical extremists in Yemen. Many others die every day in Iraq and Syria. …

The disgraceful attacks on Charlie Hebdo may have further consequences, such as entrenching the false notion that Muslims and non-Muslims simply cannot coexist, or that civil liberties need to be rethought, with yet more powers given to the state, diminishing the commitment to human rights. That is merely giving the attackers a further victory, rather than honoring the loss of life that took place.

Merabet is being held up as a hero on Twitter with the hashtag #JeSuisAhmed:

“The story of Merabet’s confrontation with the Paris terrorists,” Jim Edwards writes, ” is turning out to be one of the most poignant in the whole affair”:

And it’s proof, if further proof were needed, that Muslims are much more frequently the victims of Islamic terrorism than Westerners are. According to the Global Terrorism Index, 80% of all the deaths from terrorism in 2013 were in Muslim-majority countries Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria. Since 2000, only 5% of all deaths from terrorism have been in developed countries — although they have been among the deadliest. …

Merabet is the officer seen in the heartbreaking video of the shooters’ attack on the Charlie Hebdo office, as seen through a mobile phone from across the street. The worst part of the video — aside from the moment in which the gunmen finish him off with a shot to the head — is where Merabet, lying injured on the pavement, tries to raise his arms in surrender. He is clearly no threat to the gunmen. And they kill him anyway.

This is why, in John Cassidy’s opinion, the “clash of civilizations” narrative that some are trying to superimpose on this tragedy misses the point entirely:

But to interpret things in such black-and-white terms is to distort reality. Although Islam largely missed out on the Reformation and the Enlightenment, a point frequently made by its critics, it is far from a monolithic religion. And many ordinary Muslims, rather than being on the side of the jihadis, are taking up arms against them, and sometimes paying with their lives. In Iraq, the Iraqi, Kurdish, and Iranian soldiers battling ISIS are mostly Muslims. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the government forces fighting jihadis are also almost all Muslims.

On top of this, most of the victims of jihadi atrocities are Muslims. In Iraq last month, more than eleven hundred people were killed in acts of terrorism and violence, including nearly seven hundred civilians. It’s fair to assume that almost all of them belonged to the Islamic faith.

The Muslim Heroes Of The Paris Attacks

You already know about Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim cop who died confronting the killers outside the Charlie Hebdo offices. But now there’s another Muslim hero to emerge from the mayhem this week:

A Muslim employee of a kosher grocery store in Paris is being hailed as a hero for hiding several customers in a walk-in freezer to save them from a violent gunman. Lassana Bathily, 24, led the others into the basement of his workplace, Hyper Cacher, when Amedy Coulibaly opened fire on Friday, according to French media. … “I opened the door, and several people came in with me. I turned off the lights, I turned off the freezer, and they got into the freezer,” Bathily told local station BFMTV.  “I told them to calm down, to not make noise. If he knows we’re here, he can come down and kill us.” …

The people he saved expressed profound gratitude after the violence was over, he said. “When they got out, they congratulated me,” Bathily told the station. “They said, ‘Honestly, thank you for having thought of that,’ and I said, ‘You’re welcome. It’s nothing, that’s life.

“Overlook Their Annoying Talk”

Harris Zafar reminds us that, whether dealing with specific insults or with the freedom of speech more generally, Muhammad’s teachings fly in the face of what modern-day Islamists purport to believe:

Islam does not support people who violently censor free speech. Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the MuhammadQur’an both through direct instruction as well as recalling how Muhammad was insulted to his face and never retaliated. The Qur’an records that he was called crazy, a victim of deception, a liar, and a fraud. Through this all, the Prophet Muhammad never retaliated or called for these people to be attacked, seized, or executed. This is because the Qur’an says to “overlook their annoying talk” and to “bear patiently what they say.” It instructs us to avoid the company of those who continue their derogatory attacks against Islam. There simply is no room in Islam for responding to mockery or blasphemy with violence.

But perhaps most pointedly, the Qur’an tells believers not to be provoked by those who seem to attack Islam, stating very clearly “let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice.” This is supported by the actions of the Prophet Muhammad himself. When he was once returning from an expedition, an antagonist used insulting words against him. Although a companion suggested that the culprit be killed, the Prophet Muhammad did not permit anyone to do so and, instead, instructed they leave him alone.

Readers on Friday underscored that incident and the same overall point – which can’t be reiterated enough. So where did the practice of not depicting Muhammad come from? Amanda Taub voxplains:

According to [scholar Reza] Aslan, the Koran does not explicitly prohibit depicting the Prophet Mohammed, and there have been images of Mohammed, his family, and other prophets throughout history. “The history of Islam teems with images of the Prophet Mohammed. You see this in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.”

Still, the idea that depictions of Mohammed are disallowed didn’t come out of nowhere. Islam, Aslan explained, like Judaism, is an iconoclastic religion that does not permit God to be anthropomorphized — that is, portrayed as a human being — and prizes textual scripture instead.

Over time, Islamic scholars extended that tradition to cover Mohammed and the other major prophets as well, and discouraged artists from depicting them in images. That has created a strong cultural norm against images of Mohammed, even in the absence of a religious law against them.

Back in 2010, Omid Safi passed along the above image, “one of the classic images of the Prophet Muhammad’s Heavenly Ascension”:

In my recent biography of the Prophet, I have taken care to produce about 20 of the pietistic and sacred images produced by Muslim artists over the centuries. These are as far from the Danish cartoon images as one can get: they are works of devotion, illuminated by faith, and imbued with a deep sense of love. There are other options available to Muslims than either accepting the Danish Cartoonist caricatures of the Prophet or responding in pure anger and hatred. One such answer is a return to the rich pietistic Islamic tradition of depicting the Prophet who was sent, according to the Qur’an, as a mercy to all the Universe.


Noah Rayman discusses how last week’s attack on the Hyper Cacher supermarket is affecting Jewish communities in France:

The assault on the Kosher supermarket shook the Jewish community in France and abroad. As dual hostage situations unfolded, police ordered the closure of all shops in the tourist-filled Jewish neighborhood in central Paris, far from the supermarket under siege in the city’s east, according to the Associated Press. And ahead of the Sabbath Friday evening, the iconic Grand Synagogue of Paris was closed, USA Today reported.

The Jewish community in France, numbering more than 400,000, had already been on guard after an uptick in anti-Semitic violence in recent years, including the shooting of four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in May 2014, allegedly by a French Muslim man. After the attack on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, Jewish institutions were on maximum alert, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. Volunteers joined police deployed by the French authorities to secure schools and religious sites.

Elliot Abrams wonders why there isn’t more sympathy for the Jewish victims:

Terrorism against French Jews is not new. In 2012 a terrorist murdered three schoolchildren and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse. There was no million-citizen march.

And suppose that last week’s terror attack in Paris had not aimed at Charlie Hebdo, but “only” killed four Jews–or eight or twelve, for that matter. Does anyone believe a million French citizens would be marching in Paris, with scores of world leaders joining them?

One is reminded of the synagogue bombing on Rue Copernic in Paris in 1980, after which Prime Minister Raymond Barre publicly declared that “A bomb set for Jews killed four innocent Frenchmen.” That shocking lack of solidarity– that definition of Frenchmen to exclude the Jews – does not seem to have been cured, and the French today appear to feel more solidarity with the journalists who were killed than with the Jews who were killed.

But Jeffrey Goldberg observes that the current French leadership has been taking the issue of anti-semitism seriously:

[French Prime Minister Manuel] Valls, who on Saturday declared that France was now at war with radical Islam, has become a hero to his country’s besieged Jews for speaking bluntly about the threat of Islamist anti-Semitism, a subject often discussed in euphemistic terms by the country’s political and intellectual elite. His fight, as interior minister, to ban performances of the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne (the innovator of the inverted Nazi salute known as the quenelle) endeared him to the country’s Jewish leadership, and he is almost alone on the European left in calling anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism.

“There is a new anti-Semitism in France,” he told me. “We have the old anti-Semitism, and I’m obviously not downplaying it, that comes from the extreme right, but this new anti-Semitism comes from the difficult neighborhoods, from immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, who have turned anger about Gaza into something very dangerous. Israel and Palestine are just a pretext. There is something far more profound taking place now.”

And Adam Taylor holds out the #JeSuisJuif solidarity campaign on Twitter as evidence that the world isn’t ignoring those victims, though anti-semitism remains a real problem in France:

#JeSuisJuif began to trend after news spread about hostages being taken at the grocery store, which is called Hyper Cacher, or Hyper Kosher, in Porte de Vincennes. The attack took place at the start of the Jewish Sabbath, when the store was busy, and there were fears that other Jewish businesses in the area could be targets. Later, French President Francois Hollande described the hostage taking as an “anti-Semitic attack”

The attack comes at a fraught time for France’s Jewish community. Many French Jews have perceived a rise in anti-Semitism in the country in recent years. Reports of violence against Jews skyrocketed at the start of 2014, and things became worse over summer as a conflict in Gaza prompted anti-Israel protests that blurred the line with anti-Semitism. One survey by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League estimated that 37 percent of French people openly held anti-Semitic views – the highest number in Europe.

Terror Unites, Divides France

France responded to last week’s terrorist rampage with a massive manif in the streets of Paris yesterday, drawing the largest crowds of any demonstration in the country’s post-WWII history. But Robert Zaretsky doesn’t buy the show of unity, arguing that it masks divisions in French society that the terror attacks are ripping open even further:

[O]nlookers this afternoon in Paris saw not just leaders from across the globe joining the march, but nearly all the religious and political leaders in France. With one exception, though: Le Pen marched in the southern town of Beaucaire, a Front National fief. In a brief speech at the town’s city hall, she hailed about 1,000 supporters for “reminding the world of the values of liberty.” It was here, in le pays réel, or real France, and not in the international parade in Paris that such values are rooted.

In spite of Hollande’s declaration after the attacks that “Our best weapon is unity,” French politics—and the French people—appear as divided as ever. The lines are being drawn, and they will not be erased by any number of republican marches. This is where French society in the aftermath of these recent acts of terror is, in some ways, on shakier ground than American society was after the September 11 attacks.

A fair amount of hypocrisy was on at the Paris march as well; Daniel Wickham identifies nearly two dozen countries represented there that have their own ugly records of arresting, intimidating, assaulting, or murdering journalists, including some major offenders like Turkey, Russia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. True to form, the Charlie Hebdo staffers who attended the rally came away wishing they had called out these hypocrites:

They said their biggest regret was that they couldn’t have paraded caricatures from the past pages of Charlie Hebdo of the various heads of state who joined the rally– Benyamin Netanyahu, King Abdallah II of Jordan, of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, of Russian Foreign Minister Sergueï Lavrov, of Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and of all the authoritarian heads of state they had lampooned over the years. (Many of the world leaders in the rally would have at the least jailed the Chralie Hebdo if they had been operating in those countries). Oh, well, said Luz, a cartoonist. You can’t think of everything.

But Tim Murphy attended the rally and was moved by its somber – not angry – tone:

[A]mid the sheer size of the crowds, I was struck, yet again, by how quiet people were overall, in contrast to the steroidal, rah-rah racket of an American rally. There were no drum circles and little chanting; occasionally “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem, was sung, but certainly not by everyone; and though the French flag dotted the crowds, it wasn’t ubiquitous in the way that the American flag was post-9/11.

What was ubiquitous was the simple black-and-white “Je Suis Charlie” sign, which emerged today with all sorts of variations: “I am Charlie” plus “I am Jewish,” or “I am Muslim,” or “I am a Journalist,” or “I am a Secularist.” I saw no Islam-baiting signs unless you want to count those that bore some of the Charlie Hebdo images that courted so much controversy in the first place, including one of Mohammed gnashing his teeth over fundamentalists and another of a Muslim man and a male cartoonist making out that reads “Love is Stronger Than Hate.”

Bershidsky previews another wave of marches coming soon to a European city near you – and these won’t be about “unity” either:

Xenophobes elsewhere in Europe will also take this chance to assert themselves. Tonight, in Dresden, Germany, the anti-Islamic group Pegida intends to hold what will probably be its biggest rally yet. Since the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Pegida’s Faceook page has added about 20,000 supporters. German Justice minister Heiko Maas called on Pegida to cancel the gathering, denouncing the group as “hypocrites” who have protested against the “lying press” and are suddenly full of sympathy for its fallen representatives. The Pegida page’s only response has been, “What can one say???”

Marches like Pegida’s are more ideologically consistent than those held in Paris yesterday. They are also, of course, much smaller. But as the Charlie Hebdo massacre showed, it takes only two people to shed blood and frame the agenda as war.

Josh Rogin, meanwhile, wants to know why no major US officials were in attendance:

A senior administration official told me that the security requirements needed if Obama or Biden were to have attended the Paris rally could have interfered with the event itself, and the White House didn’t want the focus to be on the U.S. rather than on the French. The official noted that Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas were in Paris for related meetings, although neither attended the rally. But back in Washington, almost no senior administration officials participated in the much smaller rally and march that took place Sunday afternoon only blocks from the White House. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland was the only official representative.

Eugene Volokh shares that puzzlement:

The U.S. was represented by our Ambassador to France, normally a logical choice but rather an odd one, I think, when dozens of world leaders — including leaders of many of our main allies — were present. And this is especially so when the march is about protecting values that are so important to us as Americans, as well as to the French, the English, and others. … Am I missing something here? Is there some particularly good “smart diplomacy” reason why we would be absent when so many others were present?

Will The Paris Attacks Accelerate The Jewish Exodus?

Tributes And Reaction To Paris Terror Attacks After Gunmen Kill 17 People

Jamie Kirchick remembers “an evening last September when I was strolling through the Marais’ windy and narrow streets”:

I came across the Notre Dame de Nazareth synagogue, a grand, 19th century building constructed in the Moorish revival style that serves the city’s Sephardic Jews, those who come from North Africa. The rabbi happened to be walking out of the synagogue with his wife. After dispensing with the facts of my Jewish background and American citizenship, I promptly asked, “What’s the situation?” Our shared patrimony obviated any need for further elaboration; as a European Jew addressing an American one, he knew exactly at what I was aiming. “There is no future for Jews in France,” he said. If the Rabbi is right, and I fear he is, than it means that there is no future for Jews in Europe. For France is home to the continent’s largest Jewish community, numbered at over half a million. But it is declining rapidly.

Josh Marshall also worries about the future of Jews in France:

When these events [last week] began to unfold I immediately thought of this article I saw [last] Monday. Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky (the same 70s and 80s era Soviet refusnik, Anatoly Sharansky) said that in 2014 some 50,000 French Jews asked the Jewish Agency (the primary agency organizing and facilitating Jewish immigration to Israel) for information about immigrating to Israel.

It’s important to note that Jewish immigration into and emigration out of Israel is a highly politicized and emotive issue within Israel – it goes to the essence of the Zionist project. So these numbers should be seen through that prism. But there’s something very real happening. To expand on those numbers, in 2012 about 2000 French Jews left for Israel. In 2013 it was a bit over 3000. 2014 apparently hit over 6000.

Joshua Keating points to a string of anti-semitic attacks in recent years that have motivated that exodus:

Tensions reached a high point during last summer’s war in Gaza, when demonstrations turned violent with pro-Palestinian youths attacking Jewish businesses in a neighborhood known for its large Jewish population. Several synagogues were also firebombed. Demonstrators at some rallies chanted slogans like “death to the Jews” and “slaughter the Jews.” These incidents followed an attack in May on the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels, where a French former ISIS fighter killed four people.

These attacks have added to the growing unease of a community still reeling from the 2012 shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, which killed three children and a teacher, as well as the grisly torture and murder of  a young Jewish man named Ilan Halimi in 2006. While these dramatic incidents have garnered the most international attention, smaller anti-Semitic crimes have become depressingly commonplace. On New Year’s Day of this year, for instance, a fire was started and a swastika drawn on the wall of a synagogue in a Paris suburb.

The Jewish Agency, which helps Jews make aliyah, was on the scene in Paris this week and seemed to be harnessing French Jews’ fear to advocate for more emigration:

In what now has become a strange coincidence, the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Immigration Absorption held an Aliyah Fair in central Paris on Sunday that was scheduled before any of the attacks took place. The fair was designed to inform French Jews and returning citizens above the age of 50 on how to start the process of relocating their lives to Israel. The fair had increased its security to make sure families felt safe as they came to the fair to weigh the option of immigrating to Israel.

Chemi Shalev is disheartened to see Israeli leaders, especially on the country’s right wing, pushing “emigration to Israel as a Zionist antidote for the anti-Semitism and atmosphere of fear”:

[T]his instinctive reaction – perhaps Pavlovian is a better word – should give reason for pause and discomfort, even among the most ardent of Zionists. Because whether French Jews answer these calls by emigrating to Israel or whether they simply take the advice in principle and go somewhere else, in some ways this campaign is no more than blatant capitulation to terror. It gives its instigators a prize they could never have dreamed of: a frenzied flight of Jews, at best, or the complete elimination of Jewish presence in France, at worst. … Such a surrender, as Netanyahu regularly lectures the West, can only invigorate the Jihadists and spur them to adopt similar tactics in other European countries.

Likewise, Brent Sasley argues that “the calls by many on the political right for French Jews to return ‘home‘ to Israel indicates a lack of interest in recognizing that the conditions that led to the emergence of Zionism have changed” – i.e., that 2015 is not 1933, and that the challenges Jews in Europe face today do not compare to the existential threats of the past:

At its emergence, Zionism was perceived by its leaders and adherents as a movement of no or little choice. Anti-Semitic persecution required a safe haven. At the same time, the belief that the Jews could never be a normal people so long as they lived among host societies and didn’t have their own state meant that national redemption was a necessary process, not an optional one. An effective conversation about Zionism can only begin if participants recognize that things have changed over time. While the events in France reinforce for some the notion that they haven’t, this is a misunderstanding of world, Jewish, and Israeli history.

Aliza Luft detects a different historical parallel, between the French Jews of the past and French Muslims today:

French protestors in the 1930s blamed Jews for their supposed capitalistic tendencies, for stealing jobs, for forcing French civilians out of the economy. Today, Muslims are stereotyped in France as stealing jobs and welfare, living off state benefits, and bringing down the country’s economy. French citizens who consider Muslims not really French see them as threatening to their material goods; as scapegoats for the country’s current economic woes.

(Photo: Children wave French flags from a window as French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve visits the Jewish school in the Jewish quarter of the Marais district of Paris on January 12, 2015. Mr. Cazeneuve visited the area to inspect the deployment of thousands of troops and police to bolster security at “sensitive” sites including Jewish schools. By Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.)