Paris attack shows France’s appeasement of Palestinians and Islamists failed…writes Stephen M. Flatow

January 9, 2015 by Stephen M.Flatow -
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Less than three months ago, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that there was a link between Islamist terrorism and frustration over the Palestinian issue. Yet despite vigorous recent attempts by the French to champion the Palestinian cause, Islamist terrorists have just struck in Paris, killing 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Where did Kerry’s theory go wrong?

From: Stephen M. Flatow/

Stephen Flatow

Stephen Flatow

At an Oct. 18, 2014 State Department event celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, Kerry presented his linkage theory. Discussing the phenomenon of young Muslims flocking to the ranks of Islamist terror groups such as the Islamic State, Kerry said that the issue of “Israel and the Palestinians” is “a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation” among Muslims worldwide.

If Kerry were correct, then one would expect the Islamist extremist groups to refrain from harming those who embrace the Palestinian cause. And France certainly has been at the forefront of pro-Palestinian activism, especially in recent weeks.

On Dec. 2, the French parliament voted overwhelmingly to demand that the French government immediately recognise the “State of Palestine.” Not after negotiations. Not with Israel’s agreement. Just do it right away, whether the Israelis like it or not. And the vote wasn’t even close—339 in favor, 151 against.

Four weeks later, the Palestinian Authority presented a resolution to the United Nations Security Council, setting a timetable for Israel to unilaterally withdraw from all of Judea, Samaria, and most of Jerusalem. That is, back to the pre-1967 armistice lines that Abba Eban said would make Israel so vulnerable that it would set the stage for another Holocaust.

That position is so extreme that even the Obama administration, which has not exactly been Israel’s warmest friend, opposed the resolution. Yet France joined with those stalwarts of reason and democracy, China and Russia, to support the resolution. France’s ambassador to the United Nations, explaining his country’s vote in favor of the resolution, said there was “an urgent need to act.”

One would think—if one subscribed to the Kerry Linkage Theory—that Islamist extremists would have appreciated France’s sense of “urgency” regarding the Palestinian issue. But evidently not.

In the meantime, there was more pro-Palestinian news from France. The city council of Aubervilliers, which is a suburb of Paris, voted to grant honorary citizenship to Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian terrorist leader who is currently service five consecutive sentences of life imprisonment for carrying out a series of terrorist attacks in Israel.

Not many Americans have heard of Aubervilliers, but those who are familiar with the history of World War II may know the name of the city’s most famous and longest-serving mayor: Pierre Laval. His 19 years as the leader of Aubervilliers was interrupted when he was called to national service—as the head of Vichy France and chief collaborator with Adolf Hitler. It was under Laval that more than 77,000 Jews were deported from France to Auschwitz and other death camps.

But why dredge up old history, when there are fresh victims to memorialize? One of the attacks that Barghouti masterminded consisted of gunning down a Greek Orthodox monk. Another was a shooting and stabbing attack on a Tel Aviv restaurant, in which three Israelis were murdered and 31 wounded.

France’s national government was not responsible for the decision of Aubervilliers to honor a mass murderer. But when combined with the French parliament’s vote on Palestinian statehood, and the French government’s vote at the U.N., one would think that this French bear-hug of the Palestinians would impress the Islamists. The massacre of journalists in Paris by killers shouting the jihadist call of “Allahu Akhbar” indicates that perhaps the linkage that Kerry imagines is nothing more than that—imaginary.

Appeasement of terrorists never works. Endorsing terrorists’ political demands—such as Palestinian statehood—never satisfies them. And blaming Israel for the rise of terrorist groups is an outrageous theory that has been repeatedly discredited by real-world events.


Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is a candidate on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.


10 Responses to “Paris attack shows France’s appeasement of Palestinians and Islamists failed…writes Stephen M. Flatow”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    You touch on a very important issue in regard to Israel’s political process when speaking of the fact that Knesset members are not representing particular geographic areas, and therefore not directly responsible to sectors of Israeli society. How difficult it is for Israel’s voters to contribute to their idea of the country’s welfare when, as you say, they can only vote for a party through the filter of general ideas and hope for the best. Also, the current system renders it more open to corruption, and a continual parade of coalitions, rendered ineffective due to the compromises made in the first place to allow their formation.

    I would have thought that the very thing that might create more unity would be the ever present threat of those who hate Israel and their supporters. I would have thought that the extraordinary history of Israel and the Jewish people (which is so extraordinary as to never pall in the imagination, mind and heart) would suffice to give Israeli politicians just a smidgeon of humility in relation to their positions and responsibility. If they cannot rise to this, they are a disgrace. It would only need a few, and a good, strong leader, to make a difference.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    I agree with everything you have said in response to me. I would be interested in your opinion as to who would be best to lead Israel in government in the way that you, and I, would like.

    The Americans are not to be trusted by anyone – they are only ever involved in anything with their own interests in mind and are full of the arrogance and insularity that taking power for granted can bring. Australians and the English have always known this. When living in Israel I was amazed at the hero-worship accorded the US by so many Israelis, so now hopefully that attitude will change, as the agenda of Obama, Kerry and ilk becomes more and more clear.

    As for Shimon Peres, his fixation on the ‘peace process’ is perhaps associated with the Nobel Peace Prize he received all those years ago, together with Rabin and Arafat (what a farcical decision that was). Maybe he is still dizzy with the grandeur of that event! and doesn’t want it marred by a non-existent peace process. Who knows.

    • Gil Solomon says:


      The only person who comes to mind is Naftali Bennett but he appears to have been sidelined by the political elites of the so called “right” for not towing the line and daring to challenge their actions, especially during the recent war in Gaza. A so called “right” which is veering left in many aspects. Nowhere is there a Menachem Begin or Yitzhak Shamir in sight and this leaves me with foreboding for the future.

      It is my view that under Netanyahu, a man who easily succumbs to pressure time and time again, who has made concession after concession time and time again, Israel in my mind is akin to a vessel on the high seas being steered into the rocks by a captain who ignores the danger signs all around him.

      Yet this is the man who will probably again be elected as Prime Minister.

      How a country will ever deal effectively with external issues without first getting its own house in order is beyond comprehension. A country with a shambolic electoral process which produces one divergent coalition after the other, where members of the same Government attack each other publicly to score political points. A political process that is a disgrace, whereby Knesset members are placed on a party ticket by the party hierarchy, where no one is accountable to a specific geographic electorate which can question him on his views before making up their mind on whom to vote for. No, in Israel one just votes for a party that generally fits into ones thought patterns and hope that someone, somehow can rise out of the political swamp to take control, someone who agrees with your point of view and possesses the required anatomical appendages.

      So in answer to your question, I hope for Bennett but think there is no chance of him somehow being elected PM.

      That being said, all I can say is God save Israel from itself because nobody else can or will.

      I pray that my forebodings prove to be unfounded.

  3. Liat Nagar says:

    Gil, I do know that the leftists in Israel’s population are more than a trouble; that that makes itself felt in all sorts of ways. However, I think it’s equally simplistic for you to ever think that international politics can be ignored. I am not defending Israel’s government for its decisions, just meaning to point out elements and complexities, which always exist in decision-making whether in personal relationships or those of nations.

    Yes, Israel needs strong and different leadership – that’s crucial. Where it will come from, I don’t know. It needs people who feel a great responsibility to and for the nation. I do call a spade a spade, however will not blind myself to seeing everything that makes up that spade for the sake of hardline simplicity. Do not assume lack of strength or clarity in me due to my airing of existing elements to a problem.

    • Gil Solomon says:


      Where did I ever say that international politics can be ignored? The issue here is Israeli leadership, where decisions should be made taking everything into consideration but ultimately, Israel must do whatever needs to be done in its own interest and in the interests of its own survival.

      The concessions and capitulations carried on in the past few years by Israel is utterly appalling. These type of actions do not breed respect but contempt and only encourage more one sided international pressure, especially by the likes of B. Hussein Obama.

  4. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Kerry, Obama, Indyk are part of the problem; not the solution.

  5. Liat Nagar says:

    Surely the ‘appeasement’ of terrorists by Israel is due to American and international pressure and threats, not anything else? So, Israel is giving way to international bullying and we all know what happens when you accede power to bullies. It will take a strong leader and government to make the right decisions, disregarding the rest of the world. Also, of course military and monetary support is needed for Israel’s continued survival. So what to do? It’s not that simple. I would support being brave enough to go it alone, however, it’s a big risk. With rapidly increasing loss of friends across the board, though, perhaps Israel needs to shock them all into reality and bite the bullet. Show them the way. Nobody seems to be aware of the fact, or want to know, that the Palestinian mentality views appeasement and any gifts along the way, including withdrawal, as weakness and an ever-increasing possibility of their total victory in all that they desire.

    Your comments are spot on, Otto. I’m actually wondering about this big march and get together, with world leaders involved. Surely such a huge response and ‘important’ involvement by big names will only stroke the egos of the Islamic terrorist members. Wow, look at what we’ve done – they’re really sitting up and taking notice now! Keep up the good work boys and girls! What’s needed is real action in the form of deportation of those who have shown desire to uphold the will of Allah by acts of terrorism (not following them around while waiting for them to do it) and real interference in the workings of mosques and religious oriented Muslim schools to ferret out any poison in the teachings.

    While I’m fine with the concept of ‘Je Suis Charlie’, it’s a pity there couldn’t have been a bit of ‘Je Suis …’ in the name of Jews who have died in France in similar acts of terror.

    • Gil Solomon says:

      Liat, I take issue with your opening statement: “Surely the ‘appeasement’ of terrorists by Israel is due to American and international pressure and threats, not anything else?”

      It is very simplistic to blame Israeli appeasement and insane decisions on Obama, Kerry & Co (who in my opinion are working for Israel’s demise). That being said, the facts of life are that the Israeli left is constantly at pains to undermine the current government by urging the Obama Administration to put even more pressure on Israel to make more concessions and capitulations. Although the two state solution should be declared dead and buried, to this day we see the spectacle of that geriatric leftist Shimon Peres still babbling on about resurrecting the so called “peace process”. If it were up to me, this man would be incarcerated for treason for what he’s done since Oslo.

      The facts are that Israel is a divided country with a significant “appeasement mentality” leftist population that is troubling in its influence.

      It is time for a strong leader to emerge, someone with a spine to take over and get Israel off its knees. It is also time for those who purport to advocate for Israel to have the courage to call a spade a spade and not defend every insane action as “pressure from the international community.”

      Finally, all the “Je Suises” and candlelit processions in the world will mean diddly squat unless newspapers, world leaders (definitely including Israeli leaders) have the courage of their purported new found convictions to write and speak without fear of political correctness. If not, it can be concluded that fear and intimidation works and this lesson will not be lost on the fanatics.
      On its own, holding up some silly placard, the usual pathetic response by an impotent western world will prove to mean nothing.

  6. Otto Waldmann says:

    Tenuous connections to say the least.
    The attack o “Charlie Hebdo” did not offer any direct association with the palestinian cause, nor did it target the French Government as such. They were after a number of journalists and cartoonists who they held responsible for offending the prophet as they specifically stated after the attack ” Mohamed has been avenged” The islamic call regarding Allah is NOT specifically a terrorist call to arms either.
    What is vividly frustrating is the image of a French President incapable to articulate rationally the causes of the current French crisis.
    A diminutive figure in all respects, Holland insists with each hand-agitated speech that the tragedies of the past few days afflicting this wonderful country “have nothing to do with islam” ( quote unquote). His calls to “unity” is as confusing as the type of unity one could possibly conjure; unity between who and who, the one between the hard to decide how many millions of muslims reside in France and those NOT YET on their side or the unity between the seemingly relentless anti Western same muslims and those who they so violently despise….!!!!
    Tomorrow’s planned massive march through Paris to which Prime Ministers from a number of countries are invited will achieve a walk through the the gorgeous boulevards of Paris after which all will repair to their barricades residences and await another installment of the “unity”, whichever way it may turn out to happen.

  7. Gil Solomon says:

    Stephen Flatow states: “Appeasement of terrorists never works. Endorsing terrorists’ political demands—such as Palestinian statehood—never satisfies them.”

    The comment implies that Jews of all people fully comprehend this message and are, from experience, in a position to lecture the world on the dangers of appeasement to terrorist demands. I wish this were true.

    The reality is the opposite as the greatest appeaser of terrorists in the world today is sadly that insane democracy called Israel.

    Which country foolishly brings to life a people who never existed in all of history, the so called “Palestinians” then enters into negotiations with them, makes concession after concession to them and never has the courage to once counter the outright lies of their fictitious narrative.

    Which country looks the other way when incitement to hatred by these same terrorists does not cease but accelerates to new heights and which country tries to continue fruitless talks with this lot on a so called “peace process” that should by now be resoundingly declared dead and buried. In short, if one were to ask which country on this planet actually indulges terrorists, the answer would have to be the Israel, a country that does not incarcerate various Arab “citizens” who are actually in the Knesset spewing treason at every opportunity.

    The list could go on and on but I’ll stop here.

    Stephen Flatow should somehow insure that the main recipients of his advice should be those incomprehensible wonders who are running Israel into the ground today.

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