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How Not to Combat Jihadism: Scenes from a French Courtroom

Nov. 15 2017

French judges, after a five-week trial, recently sentenced Abdelkader Merah to twenty years in prison for “criminal terrorist conspiracy.” The crimes in question were committed by Abdelkader’s brother Mohammed who, over the course of three separate incidents in 2012, murdered three French paratroopers as well as a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren. Reporting on the trial, Marc Weitzmann exposes the failures of the French authorities, who were able to connect the dots between the shootings of the paratroopers but ignored evidence that could have led them to Merah. “Because the victims were of Maghrébin [i.e., North African] origin,” Weitzmann explains, the central authorities “ordered [local police] to investigate neo-fascists instead.” After Mohammed Merah was killed by police, the director of French domestic intelligence publicly insisted that he was a “lone wolf,” ignoring the copious evidence of his connection to an Islamist terrorist network.

In a second article, Weitzmann delves into the dysfunction of the Merah family, where beatings, neglect, bigotry against Jews and “the French,” and Islamism were all common. He then turns to the families of the victims—two of whom were Muslims proudly serving in their country’s armed forces—and their “loneliness”:

As [the paratroopers’ family members] testified, it became clear . . . that they were utterly alone, alienated from the bizarre and murderous radicalism of their son’s killer, a radicalism that sprang from the communities to which they were said to belong by birth or faith, yet rejected by the official agents of French society as a whole in whose name their sons had fought and then been murdered. . . .

All of them—all of them—mentioned the same racist attitude from the cops who broke the news of the killings by addressing them first as suspects, due to their Arab names and their looks.

The other reason for that loneliness, and not the least, was the lack of Muslim support. Not one representative of the Muslim organizations in France came in solidarity to console the Muslim families of the Muslim victims. Not one attended the trial or made the slightest public gesture or utterance on their behalf.

The contrast with the Jewish families couldn’t have been more striking. The former head of the official Jewish community of Toulouse, Nicole Yardeni, made the trip with a whole delegation to hear Samuel Sandler, who lost his son and two grandsons in the massacre, [testify]. She came with Jonathan Chetrit, . . . who successfully improvised the sheltering and protection of the children in the Ozar Hatorah school during the shooting, and Sharon Benitah, now fifteen, who witnessed the death of her friend Myriam Monsonego. . . .

No, the Jews, who are so lonely today in French society, were not alone in the courtroom. But the Muslim families—these Muslims so much at the center of the national public debate today—were. No imam showed up in the courtroom. None of the left-wingers who are so eager to stand against “Islamophobia” and to point to the evils of racism and social discrimination wrote a single word of support to the Ibn Ziaten and Lagouen families.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, France, French Jewry, Jihadism, Mohamed Merah, Politics & Current Affairs

In Pursuing Peace with Saudi Arabia, Israel Must Demand Reciprocity and Keep the Palestinian Question off the Table

Nov. 22 2017

The recent, unprecedented interview given by the IDF chief of staff to a major Arabic news outlet has fed the growing enthusiasm in Israel about the prospects of a peace treaty and mutual recognition between Jerusalem and Riyadh. Mordechai Kedar urges level heads and caution, and puts forward ten principles that should guide any negotiations. Most importantly, he argues that the two countries normalize relations before coming to any agreements about the Palestinians. To this he adds:

The most basic rule in dealing with the Saudis and their friends is that Israel must not feel that it has to pay anything for peace. . . . If the Saudis want to live in peace with us, we will stretch out our hands to offer them peace in return. But that is all they will get. Israel [has] been a state for 70 years without peace with Saudi Arabia and can continue being a state for another 7,000 years without it. Any desire for a quick peace (as expressed in the disastrous slogan “Peace Now”) will raise the price of that peace. . . .

[As part of any agreement], Israel will recognize the House of Saud’s rule in Mecca and Medina—even though the family does not originate from the Hejaz [where the holy cities are located] but from the Najd highland—in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel’s right to Jerusalem as its historic and eternal capital city. Israel will recognize Saudi Arabia as an Islamic state in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel as the Jewish state or a state belonging to the Jewish people. . . .

Israel will not allow incitement against Saudi Arabia in its media. In return, the Saudis will not allow anti-Israel incitement in Saudi media. . . .

It is important to keep the Americans and Europeans away from the negotiating table, since they will not be party to the agreement and will not have to suffer the results of its not being honored—and since their interests are not necessarily those of Israel, especially when it comes to the speed at which the negotiations move forward. The Americans want to cut a deal, even a bad deal, and if they are allowed into the negotiation rooms, they will pressure Israel to give in, mainly on the Palestinian issue.

Read more at Israel National News

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia