Europe

Belgian Justice Minister: Terror No Longer Limited to “Synagogues and the Jewish Museums”

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens remarked that terrorism in Europe was no longer limited to Jews and law enforcement officials, but now affects targets of a different profile, including the general public, The Guardian reported on Sunday.

Geens, the justice minister, said that the Paris attacks had shown that the profile of potential targets had changed. “It’s no longer synagogues or the Jewish museums or police stations, it’s mass gatherings and public places,” he said.

Geens’ insinuation that terrorist attacks against Jews and police officers are of a different nature than those that target the general public echoes a recent controversial statement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said last week that “There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for.”

Geens’ statement was similar to that made by French Prime Minister Raymond Barre following the bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980 that left four people dead. In a critique of Kerry’s remarks, Elliott Abrams quoted Barre, who said, “This odious bombing wanted to strike Jews who were going to the synagogue and it hit innocent French people who crossed Rue Copernic.”

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