In France, Anti-Semitism Is a Hatred That Cannot Be Named

A few months ago in Paris, an immigrant from Mali beat and murdered his neighbor Sarah Halimi, a sixty-six-year-old Jewish widow. Halimi’s killer, Kobili Traore, had a history of yelling anti-Semitic epithets at her and her family, and everything about the murder suggests he was motivated by his own religious beliefs. Yet the French government, in collusion with the French press, has refused to acknowledge that anti-Semitism had anything to do with this crime, and French television has declined to air a documentary on anti-Semitism because of the attention it pays to Muslim anti-Semites. Ben Cohen and Benjamin Weinthal write:

[A]fter dozens of attacks on Jews ranging from street violence to kidnapping to a terrorist massacre at an elementary school, much of France, on the right and left, still [denies] that the country has a problem with anti-Semitism. That’s particularly true when it comes to the approximately seven-million Muslims living there. . . .

Traore has no record of mental illness. He is known to have harassed Halimi and her relatives. His killing of Halimi bore all the fervor of a jihadist attack. And yet this monstrous attack is not being treated as a hate crime. As of now, if Traore goes on trial, it will be on a charge of voluntary manslaughter, mitigated by the mental-health problems from which his lawyers claim he suffers.

There was no public outcry for many reasons, but perhaps the most important one is that Halimi was tortured and murdered at a rather inconvenient time: the climax of the French presidential elections and the widespread fear in much of the French media that Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front would emerge victorious. . . .

[I]f France is finally to overcome its unsettling silence around anti-Semitism—broken occasionally by . . . denials that there is a meaningful problem in the first place—it has first to accept that many of its leaders and opinion-formers are responsible for maintaining it.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, French Jewry, Jewish World, Marine Le Pen

Yasir Arafat’s Decades-Long Alliance with Iran and Its Consequences for Both Palestinians and Iranians

Jan. 18 2019

In 2002—at the height of the second intifada—the Israeli navy intercepted the Karina A, a Lebanese vessel carrying 50 tons of Iranian arms to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But Yasir Arafat’s relationship with the Islamic Republic goes much farther back, to before its founding in 1979. The terrorist leader had forged ties with followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that grew especially strong in the years when Lebanon became a base of operations both for Iranian opponents of the shah and for the PLO itself. Tony Badran writes:

The relationship between the Iranian revolutionary factions and the Palestinians began in the late 1960s, in parallel with Arafat’s own rise in preeminence within the PLO. . . . [D]uring the 1970s, Lebanon became the site where the major part of the Iranian revolutionaries’ encounter with the Palestinians played out. . . .

The number of guerrillas that trained in Lebanon with the Palestinians was not particularly large. But the Iranian cadres in Lebanon learned useful skills and procured weapons and equipment, which they smuggled back into Iran. . . . The PLO established close working ties with the Khomeinist faction. . . . [W]orking [especially] closely with the PLO [was] Mohammad Montazeri, son of the senior cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and a militant who had a leading role in developing the idea of establishing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) once the revolution was won.

The Lebanese terrorist and PLO operative Anis Naccache, who coordinated with [the] Iranian revolutionaries, . . . takes personal credit for the idea. Naccache claims that Jalaleddin Farsi, [a leading Iranian revolutionary]. approached him specifically and asked him directly to draft the plan to form the main pillar of the Khomeinist regime. The formation of the IRGC may well be the greatest single contribution that the PLO made to the Iranian revolution. . . .

Arafat’s fantasy of pulling the strings and balancing the Iranians and the Arabs in a grand anti-Israel camp of regional states never stood much of a chance. However, his wish to see Iran back the Palestinian armed struggle is now a fact, as Tehran has effectively become the principal, if not the only, sponsor of the Palestinian military option though its direct sponsorship of Islamic Jihad and its sustaining strategic and organizational ties with Hamas. By forging ties with the Khomeinists, Arafat unwittingly helped to achieve the very opposite of his dream. Iran has turned [two] Palestinian factions into its proxies, and the PLO has been relegated to the regional sidelines.

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More about: Hamas, History & Ideas, Iran, Lebanon, PLO, Yasir Arafat