Christie Blatchford: Love isn’t the only response to the Paris attacks. Toughness is too

The morning after the Paris attacks, a store around the corner from my house put out a little sign on the sidewalk: “L’amour est la réponse,” it read.

It sounds mushy-headed but you know, probably love is part of the answer, and if not love, then at least the resolve to remain tolerant.

For instance, I think should still keep open its doors to desperate Syrian refugees, though it might be nice if the new Liberal government walked back its plan to process 25,000 of them before the end of the year.

Given that one of the Paris attackers might have been using a Syrian passport, real or faked, to get into Europe via Greece, given that the thousands on the move every day provide wonderful cover for ISIL sympathizers and operatives, a little security vetting – it would surely be imperfect but still – is in order.

Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian PressSean Kilpatrick / Canadian PressPrime Minister takes part in a moment of silence, to remember the victims of Friday's Paris attacks, at the start of a plenary session at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey on Sunday.

I also wish that ordinary Muslims didn’t have to wear this latest outrage carried out in the name of their faith, though I expect they may, or may feel they are.

But love, or a commitment to tolerance, isn’t the only response. Toughness is too.

Canada can’t honestly claim, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did in his first statement the night of the attacks, to have offered France “all of our help and support” when his first order of business, even before formally taking office, was to announce that the six lousy jets which have been Canada’s contribution to the U.S.-led coalition, bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq and , will be coming home.

That contribution was both real — the jets made 180 bombing raids in about a year – and symbolic, and said in unmistakable terms that in times of trouble, Canada sticks with her friends. Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals campaigned on ending Canada’s participation in the air war, but now would be a fine time to say — look folks, things have changed, and we see now that we should stay in.

DNDDNDA CF-18 Hornet fighter jet taxis out to the arm/disarm area in preparation for their next mission at Camp Patrice Vincent, Kuwait during Operation IMPACT in January 2015.

As I’ve watched the last two days unfold — the vigils, the panic on Paris streets, the sorrow, the vows of defiance, all of it by now terribly familiar — I confess that my overriding thought was that the West could take on almost every level a lesson from .

I was there in 1991 during the first Gulf War when, you may remember, Iraq hit with Scud missiles — and that at the time, there were reports that some would have chemical warheads.

Thus, when I checked in at my Tel Aviv hotel, I was handed a gas mask and told that in the event of a siren, I had two shelters from which to choose — one sealed against chemicals, one regular bomb shelter.

At the wail of the first siren, I tried putting on the gas mask but gave up after ripping out half my hair, and as I recall, was on my way, heart thumping, to the regular shelter when I ran into Matthew Fisher, the veteran correspondent who now writes for Postmedia. He was on his way to the front lawn, outside our hotel, to watch the scuds, so I went with him.

BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty ImagesBORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty ImagesPeople gather on November 15, 2015 at a makeshift memorial in the “Vieux port” of Marseille, for the victims of November 13 attacks in Paris.

It felt very defiant to do it, though I couldn’t carry the jockstrap of the average Israeli: The citizens of that tiny country live 24-7 with the sort of tension and threat now enveloping Paris, and do it with a raucous and tough-as-nails sensibility. And if ever there was a country which has fought terrorism as fairly and carefully as it is possible to do, it is Israel.

The last time, just earlier this year, that Paris was the scene of terrorist attacks, they were against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had dared to include the Prophet in its exhaustive list of non-sacred targets, and, a couple of days later, a Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket.

Now, it appears there is no Jewish connection, yet it may be that the rise of anti-Semitism in France, in particular during the summer of 2014, was the predictor of all this, of what happened at a soccer stadium, a music club and various bars and cafes on Friday night.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a friend sent me a long piece which appeared in Vanity Fair this August.

It began with this sentence: “How can anyone be allowed to paint a swastika on the statue of Marianne, the goddess of French liberty, in the very center of the Place de la Republique?”

Written by the great American journalist Marie Brenner, the story describes the riot which happened there on Saturday, July 26, 2014, when a pro-Palestinian demonstration (complete with some black and white ISIL banners and the Marianne defacer) culminated with thousands of protesters chanting “Mort aux Juifs! Mort aux Juifs!,” or death to the Jews.

RelatedMichael Den Tandt: Justin Trudeau’s reaction to the Paris attacks has been oddly tone-deaf‘A horror’: French president vows ‘pitiless’ counterattack after terrorists kill 120 in ParisTrudeau plans to follow through with plan to withdraw warplanes and resettle 25k Syrian refugees

The story was about much more, of course, but its central theme was that this riot, or one of the others in what Brenner called the summer of hate, was the tipping point for so many French Jews and sent record numbers leaving the country for Israel.

Maybe there’s something there that Canadian officials can use in screening prospective refugees: How do you feel about Israel? How would you like to live among Jews? Ever chanted mort aux juifs?

Jews are the canaries in the coal mine for humankind. If l’amour est la réponse, then loving Jews is one of the unshakable conditions.

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