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November 29, 2015 8:22 pm

TIME Columnist Finds it Easier to Explain Murdering Jews Than Killing Other French People

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The HyperCacher market seized by Islamist terrorist Amedy Coulibaly. Photo: Twitter

The HyperCacher market that was seized by Islamist terrorist Amedy Coulibaly. Photo: Twitter

Vivienne Walt, a TIME magazine writer, has written how difficult it is to explain the Paris terror attacks to her child.

She writes:

In January it had been relatively simple to explain to my child, who was then eight, why the cartoonists had been the target, and why a Jewish supermarket was attacked—grim as the details were. ….Answering questions over dinner on Sunday was more difficult, however. The targets this time were young people having fun on a warm Friday night; people, in fact, who were his age not all that long ago.

Really? It is easier to explain why terrorists would murder Jews than to explain why they would murder other Parisians?

I wonder how Ms. Walt explained the January attacks in a way that her son would understand. Are Jews considered natural targets in the Walt household? Or is it because of their presumed association with that shitty little country that happens to be the Jewish state? I would love to know what makes shooting Jewish shoppers relatively explainable to Vivienne Walt.

Yoav Hattab, murdered in the HyperCacher kosher supermarket attack in January, was 21, and Yohan Cohen was 22. They were pretty young. In fact, they were younger than nearly every victim of the more recent Paris attacks. But apparently that didn’t make it more difficult to explain their murders to Vivienne’s 8 year old son. Shopping for food is probably as familiar an experience to her son as sitting in a cafe or going to a concert, but clearly that didn’t make the job of explaining those murders any more difficult.

Somehow, their being Jewish made it all understandable.

So what exactly did she say so that her son would be secure in the knowledge that only attacking Jews (and cartoonists) is not something he needs to empathize with or worry about?

Grappling to find the logic in this, my son pondered the situation, and asked, “Well, why did they attack those restaurants and not other restaurants?”

It was a good question, hitting at the most terrifying aspect of all—the randomness of the attacks. Friday’s attacks impacted so many regular Parisians because they had been aimed directly at the most normal of people — the drinkers, the concert-goers, the soccer fans.

Implying, again, that the Jews going shopping are not exactly “the most normal of people,” and in a small way their murders are more logical than those of the drinkers and soccer fans.

Does Vivienne Walt harbor antisemitic feelings? If so, it is certainly deep in her subconscious. After all, she wrote an article for TIME in the wake of the HyperCacher attacks about how it affected the Jewish community. But here it is. Murdering “normal” French people is something that even adults have a hard time grappling with, but murdering French Jews is something that can be explained even to a pre-teen,

And the editors at TIME did not even think for a second that there was anything wrong with this piece.

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  • Yale

    This item would be better if it confronted Walt with the comparison made here and contained her reply. If she ends up learning something from this, it might be worth it.

  • jblog

    A fundamental flaw in this discussion — why would anyone assume that the most recent attacks in Paris were random?

    To the contrary, it would appear that the targets — a concert hall, hip trendy restaurants, etc. — were very carefully selected and the attackers knew precisely who they wanted to kill.

  • Meir Midwood

    I am not generally a reader of Ms. Walt or Time but your analysis is totally flawed. Ms. Walt explained in her earlier article that French Jews were not shocked by the attack and the Jewish community understood that the attack was not random. Indeed, that is why Jews have been leaving en masse to Israel. It should therefore be easy to explain why the earlier attacks occurred. This is not a “Kerry” justification for the attack.

    And herein lies the difference. The latest attacks in the mind of Parisians were random. This is precisely what Walt describes as most terrifying. Explaining the randomness of the ISIS attacks as opposed to the Hebdo and HyperCacher attacks which while horrific and unjustified were not random. In the context of her article “normal” means random. It does not imply that Jews or Charlie Hebdo are abnormal.

    You can accuse Walt of being myopic and not recognizing that the war against the Jews is the war against the West. But it s easier to describe this article as anti-media than it is to describe Walt as anti-Semitic.

    • Rebecca Menes

      But the attacks were not random. ISIS has been very, very specific. They are attacking the West, not just Jews.

      The attacks only felt random because so many in the West have been in denial.

    • Angela Gershenwald

      I guess normal is Christian to you. You should watch The Purpose of Life video on Youtube by Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, andd then you can understand that in the 70’s it started, the rise of Islam and the Terrorism.

  • I have very high regard for the work that Elder of Ziyon does in support of and defense of Israel and Jews, and for the standards he brings to the performance of that work, so it is with regret that I write to say he has made a grave error and performed an injustice to Vivienne Walt. Vivienne, a Jew, is a friend of mine, as his her husband, also Jewish and a journalist. I know their son.

    It is true that Viv offers no explanation for the distinction she makes about the two explanations for mass murderous hatred that she has had to offer to her young son within a year. It was a brief piece, and she may have thought the distinction obvious. I don’t know, for I haven’t discussed either matter with her. I do know what I immediately presumed when I read the piece on publication, without any thought to my knowledge of the author.

    Why was Charlie Hebdo attacked? The murderers had a grievance. As illegitimate as that grievance and method for expressing it is to sane and civilized people, it was their cause of attack on that direct object. Vile bigotry is hard enough to explain to a child, but once that foundation is laid, there is a clear cause and direct object in the case of the Hypercacher attack: the antisemitism and the Jew.

    Of course, the Paris attacks may be said to have a similar basis of cause and object, in this case, a hatred of the West and non-Muslims. Still, there was such apparent randomness in the targets. Why this restaurant and not the one next to it, across the street, two streets away. Not only French were killed, but fellow Muslims, not only French Muslims, but foreign visitors. The meaninglessness of every individual life for the murderers is so manifest – is that not a higher order of understanding, of sad knowledge to have to impart to a small boy? Perhaps some do not think so. I certainly do.

    This is what I feel confident motivated the distinction that Viv – obviously, too briefly – made. To have mistaken it for anything approaching the antisemitc was a rush to judgment, based on a presumption no less than my own, but an ungenerous one that had no foundation. It has done her a great injustice.

    • Dot

      “Still, there was such apparent randomness in the targets. Why this restaurant and not the one next to it, across the street, two streets away.”
      So how did she explain to her son why this Kosher supermarket was targeted and not others?

  • Philip Lehrer

    I write on Facebook quite a lot to ” all my anti-semitic semitic friends”.I am asked what I mean by many people. My answer is that a lot of people don’t even KNOW they’re anti-semites.Every gentile has HIS Jew. How many times have I heard ” yes but you’re different” I’m sure Ms. Walt has her own personal Jew.But she IS an anti-semites, even though she doesn’t even REALISE it.

    • TheAZCowBoy

      Better call Jewish CNN and ask them to play the Israeli ‘Operation Cast Lead’ and ‘Operation Defensive Shield’ video’s and you will find yourslf of the WRONG side of history – AGAIN! (3,000 years and counting now).

  • jay

    Listen kid, they attack anything and everything that moves, because they persecute and attack all non Muslims, because they are Islamofascists. These people are insane, and they are evil. They don’t have any freedom of speech, they have no freedom of religion, but they want everyone to be Muslim like they are, and they want to force us to think the way they think. This will never happen, because we have values, whereas they have programs, and are idiots, murderers, liars, and should NEVER be trusted because their book, the Koran, is an evil doctrine, an evil book that calls on them to persecute and attack all nonMuslims. They are similar to programmed robots, and if you ever see an Islamofascist, avoid it and call the police.

  • montlasky

    The only explanation is that (with VERY few exceptions) if you are not Jewish you are anti Semitic. Simplest explanation and accurate.

    • Mandrake

      Montlasky: I assume you must be the exception and that your simplest explanation and accurate is to be accepted by morons. Since it is accurate, there is no room for any discussion.

  • Anthony Dayton

    So targeted hatred is easy to understand and explain, but random hatred isn’t. But wait, according to some of the ISL terror planners, Paris is the city of sin, and all of its residents represent the evil that must be eliminated. So this was also targeted hatred, just more ecumenical. Simple really. Now Ms. Walt can complete the explanation to her son.

    • Mandrake

      Anthony Dayton: Excellent!

  • RC

    Time is staffed and run by Godless anti-Semite Marxist globalists. This is nothing new.

  • Naomi Weinberger

    I’ve written to TIME on this. Please post if there is a response. I will do the same 😉

  • brenrod

    I think that things will get worse for the euros until they learn the lesson that the universe is teaching them. They were given the same lesson in the 1930’s and failed to learn then also. It is strange to me that Jews keep expressing surprise and shock over the behavior of the euros… this is a 2000 year habit which does not go away in a few decades….

    In fact during this whole period since the holocaust the euros have been funding jew killing orgs and libeling Israel as their proxy for the Jews while dedicating shoah memorials. It appears as if all the enemies, the liars, the libelers… the swindlers and defamers… those who incite pogroms with libels… they are all entering a period of suffering for their crimes.

  • Bonnie Rubin

    I went back and read Vivienne Walt’s article. I did not interpret it in the same way at all. When she said that it was “easier” to explain why the Kosher market was hit, I took that to mean because anti-Semitism is so intertwined in our history; because we are a minority and hatred of minorities has been around for centuries, in much the same way racism and slavery has persisted. As a Jewish journalist aI’m perplexed how you read it so differently than me.


    In every country and civilization we have been told that we are not human; we have been socially, politically and legally classified as subhuman; and we have been murdered en masse as such, and Ms. Walt may just be following in Europe’s well-worn footsteps in continuing her delusional but historically-precedented explanation to her child as to why it is so understandable why Jews would be killed by terrorists, and why ‘normal people’ should not be. One wonders what her child thinks of his own mother who can dismiss the lives of any people so candidly and coldly. I hope to God he grows up to reject her despicable and disgusting mindset. How would she explain the opening words of our American Constitution to her son? Perhaps that the founding fathers of our country accidentally left out the phrase: ‘Except for Jews’…..

  • Dante

    That woman crossed the line to antisemitism.

  • ART

    Somehow it is always easier to explain (read accept) the murder of Jews. For some it is the ingrained charge of deicide. Plus they are used to using Jews as sacrifices in time of danger. Throw the Jews to the Lions. That is part of why since “67 they hate a strong Israel

  • Ron

    Let her write her own epitaph and fire her.