It makes no sense to us, why someone would blow up a concert-hall full of children and teenagers. Yet it makes perfect sense to someone whose aim is to inflict terror. Choose the moment when, as people leave, chaos and panic are most easily choreographed. Choose the time when parents are outside waiting for their sons and daughters. Choose the period when security have their toughest job, shepherding hundreds of spirited youngsters out of a tight space.
It appears that nobody from the Jewish community was killed or injured in the Manchester attack, for which we are thankful. But that realisation does nothing to lessen our hurt, knowing the same cannot be said for dozens of other families. Bombs at concerts are indiscriminate. They target no faiths and all.
The reaction – of anger, solidarity, defiance, silence – is becoming familiar. What we had years ago from Irish republicans, we now have from Islamist extremists, twisted by their hatred of the West and all it stands for. Kids at a concert are, in their eyes, fair game. They are revenge for a state’s military action thousands of miles away. Their bombs, at concerts in Manchester and Paris, in turn lead to more military action thousands of miles away. It is a self-reinforcing cycle, and plays into the hands of those who would divide us.
That is why, in the aftermath of terror, of hatred, it is important that Jewish voices say we tackle this not with hate but with love, not with less tolerance but more. Because the breeding ground of today’s terror is a fanatical ideology that will never win if a free and tolerant people determine to stay free and tolerant, in spite of provocation.
And we are proud that Jewish voices lead the way in saying so.