The final solution, a reminder from Toulouse
The solution to the Jewish question should only be achieved through independence and force, through sovereignty and threat strategy. In a world with neo-Nazis and radical Islam, from an Israeli perspective there is nothing new under the sun.
We see the shooting attack in Toulouse as part of a historical chain of events, part of a political program, one of three into which enlightened Europe rolled Christian hatred for Jews and though which it sought a "final solution" to the Jewish question.
The first program, which began in the mid-19th century, was linked to the development of socialism. It was Karl Marx who proposed solving the Jewish question by eliminating their god of money - that is, capitalism. Eliminate the gods of capitalism and the Jews will disappear, he wrote. Marx's logic may have missed a thing or two when it came to economics, but Soviet communism, which was based on his doctrine, among other things, waged war against the USSR's Jewish elites.
The second program for solving the Jewish problem was fascist. Almost 100 years after Marx, Hitler proposed a different solution to this so-European of questions - a well-oiled death machine that killed six million Jews in Europe.
The third response to the Jewish question offered a real alternative. the Zionist political solution was born next door to Marx's Germany, in Austria. The only way to resolve the Jewish question, Theodor Herzl said, was to build a national homeland for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.
After examining the programs Europe had enacted with regard to the Jews, Herzl realized that the only solution for the Jews of Europe was to leave because, as Dov Navon put it in the enduring Hahamishia Hakamerit skit, Europe has "either alte-Nazis or neo-Nazis."
Indeed, Israelis understand the attack in Toulouse through this prism - the alte-Nazis or the neo-Nazis. Everyone in Europe is anti-Semitic, Israelis think, and gather all the evidence that proves Europeans have no sorrow or regret. When the perpetrator turns out to be an Al-Qaida terrorist or just some Jew-hating Algerian the Israelis do not change their minds, because to them Islamic terror falls into the classic rubric of European hatred of Jews.
The attack in Toulouse reminds Israelis and Europeans of the complicated link between the Jews and the birthplace of enlightenment. One reminder is that the Jewish problem - even when swathed in layers of political correctness - is still stuck like a bone in the throat, the esophagus, deep in the dark belly of the Europeans. Even if they are not shooting, they are no in consensus over the response.
The second reminder is that there are still people in Europe who seek to resolve the Jewish question with weapons. For Israelis, Toulouse is the echo to the calls for Israel's destruction issued by Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Their efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, which like the Nazis they sought to aim at the "Jewish or the Zionist germ" prove to Israelis that there really are "only alte-Nazis or neo-Nazis." In Europe and beyond.
In the face of this, for Israelis the Toulouse attack underscores the importance of the third program. To them, there is only one political solution to the Jewish question: Herzl's Zionist solution - the final solution to the Jewish question, and the final - and only - response to the Holocaust and to future attacks.
Thus, Israelis see in the terror attack in Toulouse a justification of the path and of the place. The solution to the Jewish question, they say to the enlightened world, should only be achieved through independence and force, through sovereignty and threat strategy. Because in a world with alte-Nazis, neo-Nazis and radical Islam, from an Israeli perspective there is nothing new under the sun.
The writer teaches in the sociology and anthropology department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.