‘The victims were sleeping as the killer came in. The paramedics described children’s toys right next to pools of blood. It’s the worst single attack in Israel’s recent history.”
That’s Giulio Meotti, describing the slaughter last week of five members of the Fogel family on the West Bank. They were killed “while they were sleeping in their home on the Sabbath evening,” as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in denouncing the act of terrorism.
In truth, as horrific as it was, the attack was far from foreign to the lives of Israelis. As is the widespread lack of outrage internationally.
As Meotti tells me, “Those who profess to deplore violence on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian equation have remained relatively silent on the slaughtering of this Israeli family. No words of condemnation about the killing of these innocents have been heard from the human-rights groups, the same faction that is so quick to vilify Israel for defending itself from terrorist attacks, especially when Palestinian citizens lose their lives during a retaliatory foray by Israel. There is no other conclusion to draw: When the deaths of Jewish innocents go unmourned and unacknowledged, it is because Jewish lives do not count. Where’s the outrage? Why is the world silent about the beheading of a Jewish infant? The silence has been telling.”
Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist, is the author of the haunting book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism, dedicated to making sure that these victims are known and not forgotten.
Meotti does a thorough, moving job of introducing the reader to the victims of Islamic, anti-Jewish terrorism. Some of those we meet are Americans. All of them were human. And none of them deserved their fate. Reading Meotti, you come to miss every single one of them, although you probably never physically met them. Meotti talked to me this week about these people who have become victims of what he calls the New Shoah, and what their lives tell us about our own. – KJL
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Is there really a new Shoah in Israel? If that’s so, why aren’t we doing more to stop it? All of us?
GIULIO MEOTTI: The Shoah was a unique evil in human history, and I had to be very careful not to make false comparisons. Through books, museums, memorials, and cinema, the Shoah has become a universal metaphor of victimization, invoked by everyone from AIDS sufferers to African-American activists (who define slavery as the “real Holocaust”) to pro-Arab propagandists portraying Palestinians as the inheritors of Nazi-era victimization. I’d prefer to avoid using the term “Shoah,” but I didn’t find any other term as accurate in describing what is happening in Israel under the hanging sword of terrorism.
Shoah is a word that, to me at least, links the generation of the Holocaust to the Israelis being killed today in their homeland. The book describes a very specific destructive process, a slow-motion 9/11 launched against civilians day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, attack after attack. We talk about 1,600 innocent dead, murdered in cold blood, targets of a planned genocidal program, the proportional equivalent to 85,000 American victims.
I spent six years tracking down and interviewing witnesses to terrorist atrocities — including people who survived attacks and family members of those who did not. I heard about scores of young people and children, women and elderly, incinerated on buses; cafés, pizzerias, and shopping centers turned into slaughterhouses; mothers and daughters killed in front of ice-cream shops; entire families exterminated in their own beds; infants executed with a blow to the base of the skull; teens tortured and their blood smeared on the walls of a cave; fruit markets blown to pieces; nightclubs annihilated along with dozens of students; seminarians murdered during their Biblical studies; husbands and wives killed in front of their children; brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren murdered together; children murdered in their mothers’ arms.