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July 20, 2016 4:09 am

Telegraph Pretends Murder of Jewish Children Never Happened (UPDATE)

avatar by Adam Levick

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The scene of the Nice attack. Photo: Twitter/UN Human Rights.

The scene of the Nice attack. Photo: Twitter/UN Human Rights.

Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon penned an op-ed (Now they have come for families, July 16) on the Nice terror attack, suggesting that the truck-ramming assault that claimed at least 84 lives represented the first time in the West that jihadists have targeted children.

In noting that at least 10 children were killed by the Tunisian-born terrorist, named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, Gordon makes the following point:

There is nothing more innocent than a child. Nothing. That is not to say that the deaths at the Bataclan or in Brussels were any less tragic than those that occurred on Bastille Day; or that the 84 adults who were killed on Thursday night in Nice should be grieved less than the ten children who found their lives cut short just as the holidays were beginning. It is not at all. It is simply to say that the attack in Nice has shown that nothing is sacred any more. Nothing. Men, women, children… to fanatics like Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel,  we are no more than human bowling pins.

This September, it will be 15 years since we entered the murky world of modern terrorism: suicide bombers with scant regard for their own lives let alone anybody else’s. First they came for the businessmen and women. Then eventually they came for the young, carefree concert goers.

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Now they have come for the families. For the children. Perhaps this should not be a surprise given they have been doing it for years in Syria and Iraq. But in the western world, it is a monstrous first.

However, even if we were to ignore attacks on children in Israel, Nice did not represent a monstrous “first” in the West.

In 2012, three Jewish children and one adult were murdered by a jihadist named Mohammed Merah in an attack on a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse.

Here’s the Telegraph’s chilling account of the attack:

The dark motor scooter pulled up and a man described as “determined and athletic” dismounted. Without removing his helmet or saying a word, he opened fire.

Witnesses described how the gunman aimed at whoever was in his path, first shooting Jonathan Sandler, 30, a rabbi and teacher, along with his two sons, Aryeh, six, and Gavriel, three, as they waited for a minibus to take them to their nursery. All three are dead.

Then, when his 9mm weapon jammed, the killer switched to a .45-calibre gun, entered the school gates and chased children as they fled for cover.

He shot a 17-year-old pupil, who is now fighting for his life in hospital, and then cornered eight-year old Miriam, the daughter of the school principal, Yaacov Monsonego. He put the gun to her head and shot her.

It’s hard to imagine how, when writing her op-ed, Gordon could have forgotten about the Jewish children targeted in Toulouse, an attack accurately characterized as the “worst antisemitic atrocity on French soil in decades.”


Quite admirably, Ms. Gordon responded by acknowledging the error and apologizing in two tweets.

We also contacted Telegraph editors asking for a correction.

They responded by acknowledging the error and revising the passage in question. The sentence “But in the western world, it is a monstrous first” has been removed from the op-ed.

We commend both Ms. Gordon and the Telegraph for the apology and correction.

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  • Rivka Bond

    I sent the following letter to the Telegraph, but they did not publish it:

    On 16 July Bryony Gordon wrote,

    ‘First they came for the businessmen and women. Then eventually they came for the young, carefree concert goers.

    Now they have come for the families. For the children. Perhaps this should not be a surprise given they have been doing it for years in Syria and Iraq. But in the western world, it is a monstrous first.’

    No, Ms. Gordon, it is not a first. They came for the children when a terrorist attacked a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, murdering three children and a teacher. It was Pastor Martin Niemöller who first coined that turn of phrase, when he wrote:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Your article makes it abundantly clear that when they came for the Jews, you chose not to speak out. Perhaps you didn’t even notice.

    In 1980 the French Prime Minister Raymond Barre commented with equal insensitivity on the terrorist attack on the Rue Copernic synagogue– an attack that killed four people and injured 40. He said that the attack was one that ‘sought to target Jews who were in this synagogue and that struck innocent Frenchmen who were crossing Rue Copernic.’

    It seems that even as Jews do not count as ‘innocent Frenchmen’, Jewish children do not count as ‘Western children’.

    Quelle suprise.

    Dr. Rivka Bond

  • Serge

    In an 1980 attack in Antwerp (Belgium) a group of kids was targeted by a palestinian terrorist. One 15 years old boy died.

  • Franklin Delano Paskutnik

    Well done Telegraph! You have set a commendable example.If only the Guardian and Independent would consider the error of their ways and correct the many falsehoods and distortions in their continual anti-Israel crusade(yes,the word “crusade” is consciously used!).Immediately after the Nice terrorist atrocity the Independent published a major article claiming that many of the victims of the attack were Muslims,as if to exonerate the Muslim perpetrator of his evil deed – as is usual with the Far Left media who(like Obama)do not consider Muslim terrorists to be “real” Muslims;in fact they are usually not regarded as Muslim at all!Islam,after all,is considered a “religion of peace” so these terrorists cannot be Muslim.Such perverse logic is the hallmark of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish publications like the Guardian and the Independent.And remember that anti-Zionism is the modern face of anti-semitism,whatever the enemies of the Jewish people may claim to the contrary.

  • nat cheiman

    There is a problem with Islam. Europe will not acknowledge it.
    Israel, does and is leading the way

  • stevenl

    Bryony position is the definition of ignorance/ineptitude or antisemitism or BOTH!

  • Myron Slater

    The only answer to antisemitic terrorism, is to do the same to them. Go after them in their own countries and kill them the same way! Force is the only thing that they know!

  • Lia

    Perhaps she’s so young that 2012 is a lifetime ago for this lady? Perhaps the editor who allowed her slipshod reporting is also too young for the job? Perhaps they do not have a newspaper morgue?

  • Jack Tucker

    When I think about the Maalot massacre where so many children were held hostage by the PFLP, and so many children (and adults, some Arabs as well as Jews) were ruthlessly exterminated, I seethe and realize that there is no peace with such people.

    No,Nice was not the first time children were targeted.