In sum, France’s flaccid and morally retrograde response to the emergence of the “new” anti-Semitism in the early 2000s does not merely form a backstory to the escalating violence that was to come; it was a causal factor in that violence. It taught the terrorists that they could develop their networks and carry out their attacks with almost total impunity. This in turn encouraged them to take on ever more ambitious targets and shift from attacking only Jews to attacking soldiers, cartoonists, and eventually, as at the Bataclan theater in Paris and more recently in Nice, crowds at public events. By covering up the reality of anti-Jewish violence, by blaming it on the far right or on the Jews themselves, and by symbolically separating Jews from society, the French government and media only confirmed the message: nothing to worry about here. Most perniciously, by accepting and propagating the anti-Zionist argument, they helped bring Islamism into the mainstream.
The results can be seen today in leaders who now appear to believe their own politically correct rationalizations. While the murderers and their inciters continue to speak of themselves as soldiers in a religious and civilizational war against the West, their designated targets speak foggily in terms of abstractions like “radicalization,” “terrorism,” or even “barbarity,” and then incoherently proclaim that “life must go on” as if there were nothing seriously amiss. No wonder the public is by turns bewildered, apathetic, frightened, and angry. The average Frenchman may have no real or deep understanding of what has brought his society to this pass, but he has certainly learned what attentive Jews have known for a decade and more: the French governing class is incapable of confronting the problem at hand and appears to be sinking slowly into morbidity.Update: It's happening in Sweden, too.