While I was considering converting to Judaism, antisemitism crept into my life in a number of ways. One was hearing about a bomb threat at my 3 year old twins’ synagogue school while sitting in my KBR, Inc. office in Houston, Texas. Another occurred while sitting in my same office months later while my kids were at their swim camp at the Jewish Community Center (JCC).
Each time I was motionless with fear, feeling helpless that while I worked my daughters could be blown to bits by some antisemitic lunatic, who knows nothing of us but hates us as a people.
If you can put yourself in my situation for just a moment, then you’ll quickly understand how horrifying it is to get two bomb threats only months apart at two different, stateside Jewish institutions. Unfortunately for the would-be antisemitic bombers, my resolve didn’t cave in due to fear. I did convert, I even wrote a book about it, and my advocacy for the Jewish state is stronger than ever.
But my personal experience makes it easy for me to understand the tremendous grief the families and friends in Toulouse, France continue to experience. Today, relatives were inconsolable as they wept at the gravesides of a rabbi and three children who most certainly did not deserve to die at the Jewish school they attended in France. The sick individual had not one but two handguns when he opened fire, killing all four in his antisemitic tirade. Today, their bodies were brought to Jerusalem for burial on Wednesday.
The shooter? A 24 year old Muslim identified as as Mohamed Merah who has ties to al-Qaeda and allegedly trained in Afghanistan.
Like me and the group I am a founder for, Act For Israel, most would have thought world leaders, especially those in the European Union, would have offered only consolable words for such a hate-filled act. This was not the case with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who has been a far more vocal supporter of Palestinians than Israelis, Jews or anything we stand for. The one thing that appears universal is most can agree unequivocally that Ashton is ill-suited for the post she holds. The EU Foreign Policy Chief must remain impartial at all times. Ashton has not.
We can’t very well change the Toulouse tragedy that was fueled by religious hatred. But we can change the future. We can call out actions that are perceived as antisemitic when we see it. When world leaders are unable to treat victims and their families with sensitivity when undergoing trauma, we have a problem. Even The Guardian, who has not always been the most supportive of Israel, has sense enough to post guidelines of how journalists should conduct themselves during times of grief and trauma. Ashton has at least three spokespersons on her staff. Don’t you think one could have adhered to these important guidelines?
Ashton has made many comments and taken many positions that question whether she is fit to hold the post of EU Foreign Policy Chief. Act For Israel now and fill out our petition to ask the European Union to consider other candidates who are more suited for Ashton’s role.