Published on the 6th of November 2017 in The Jerusalem Post under the title Above the fold: Je suis New York, je suis Israel
Je suis New York.
When Islamic terrorism struck Paris on January 6, 2015, targeting the staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and simultaneously a kosher supermarket, the world was caught off guard. 9/11 had, by then, become more of a mantra than a memory. Terrorism happened elsewhere, in the Middle East, in particular in Israel – it just wasn’t done on the streets or in the offices of cosmopolitan Europe. As people around the world struggled to come to terms with the new reality, the expression “je suis Charlie” was born. That succinct phrase connected the world to the people of France as they grieved and struggled to pick up the pieces of their lives.
On Tuesday October 31, 2017, New York City, once again, came under Islamic extremist attack. In mowing down and murdering eight innocent people along a bike path in Lower Manhattan, Suyfullo Saipov gave the world a “je suis New York” moment. Despite his intention, most of those murdered by Saipov were not New Yorkers, they were tourists – but that, as we know, is just so very New York.
New York City is a magnet. It is a tourist magnet, a culture magnet, a financial magnet. Like Disney World, it is a place everyone wants to visit at least once in their life, a place some of us are privileged to live in. Even people who have never visited New York City have a link, a connection to the world’s most exciting city being attacked. In the now-classic movie Casablanca, with a storyline that dates back 1942, there is a scene that encapsulates the power New York City has on us all.
When Major Strasser, played by Conrad Veidt, asks Rick, played by the incomparable Humphrey Bogart, “Are you one of those people who cannot imagine the Germans in their beloved Paris?” Rick replies “It’s not particularly my beloved Paris.” When Major Strasser asks, “How about New York?” Rick quips, “Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.”
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