Yesterday we reported on the three French soldiers who were stabbed by a terrorist while guarding a Jewish community center. Today, Dr. Daniel Pipes writes of the larger problem of Islamist violence and deeper and longer-range solutions that are needed:
Another Islamist immigrant from Mali named Coulibaly has attacked another Jewish institution in France. The first one, Amedy Coulibaly, murdered four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris on Jan. 9; this second one injured three soldiers on Tuesday as they protected a Jewish community center in Nice.
Police say Moussa Coulibaly, about 30 years old, with a record of theft and violence, and apparently not related to Amedy, pulled a knife about 8 inches long out of a bag, injuring one soldier in the chin, one in the cheek, and one in the forearm.
Coincidentally, I left Nice about four hours before this attack and had passed by that Jewish center a few days earlier, in the course of a tour of Muslim-majority areas in 10 cities across France and Belgium. Those travels brought me repeatedly in proximity to the heavily armed soldiers who protect Jewish institutions and prompted several skeptical conclusions on my part about their presence:
- They are soldiers, not police, and so not trained to be alert to street problems.
- They tend to get distracted by their smartphones or pretty girls passing by.
- They clutch their assault rifles across their bodies, which leaves them vulnerable to someone driving by and shooting at them.
- As confirmed by today’s attack, the ostensible protection they offer actually provokes Islamists and other anti-Semites.
- They are only posted temporarily to the Jewish institutions in the aftermath of the Hyper Cacher attack a month ago and before long will leave.
- They protect only the institutions themselves, not the people who come and go to them, who remain as vulnerable as ever.
In short, the soldiers are sitting ducks whose deployment does little to protect the Jewish community or solve the larger problem of Islamist violence. But it does offer another instance of emotionally satisfying ”security theater” which temporarily gives everyone a constructive sense of doing something.
A real solution will require much deeper and longer-range steps that concern national identity, immigration policy, integration efforts, and effective policing.