Last night, when they were needed most, the synagogues of Paris were closed on the Sabbath for the first time since World War II.
Jewish neighborhoods in the Marais and on the edge of the city had been in police-ordered shutdown after a comrade of the Kouachi brothers – the Charlie Hebdo magazine killers – took hostages in a Kosher supermarket near Port de Vincennes, killing four.
But after Wednesday’s satirical magazine massacre by Islamist terrorists resulted in the death of 12, France and the world turned to the likelihood that Muslims would become scapegoats.
Media and political debate focused squarely on the risk that the terrorists’ aim of sowing hate and discord and thus isolating France’s Muslim minority – Europe’s largest with estimates of between 6 and 8 million – would come to fruition.
A backlash has begun and it is to be condemned as mosques and prayer halls are attacked and Muslims singled out in an alarming escalation of anti-Islam feeling and action.
It turns out that for all the well-founded anxiety about rising Islamophobia, France’s Jews, already under siege in their synagogues and shops and homes, were first in the frontline…
The “backlash” can’t be much — nothing has turned up in Google alerts yet.
And any Muslim prepare to show “solidarity” with Jews are obviously not the type who go around killing people anyway. It certainly won’t have any affect on the legions of Jew-hating Muslims in France.