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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

Why a Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Is Unlikely

Feb. 16 2018

High-ranking figures in the IDF, along with some Israeli and foreign officials, have been warning that economic troubles combined with severely deficient public works could lead to an outbreak of starvation or epidemic in the Gaza Strip; their warnings have been taken up and amplified in sensationalist stories in Western media. Hillel Frisch is skeptical:

The most important factor behind real humanitarian crises—mass hunger and contagious disease—is first and foremost the breakdown of law and order, and violence between warring militias and gangs. This is what occurred in Darfur, Somalia, and the Central African Republic. In such situations, the first to leave are the relief agencies. Then local medical staffs evacuate, along with local government officials and anyone professional who can make it out of the bedlam. The destitute are left to fend for themselves. Hospitals, dispensaries, schools, and local government offices are soon abandoned or become scenes of grisly shootouts and reprisals.

Nothing could be farther from such a reality than Gaza. Hamas, which is the main source of [misleading reports] of an imminent humanitarian crisis, rules Gaza with an iron fist. Few developed democracies in the world can boast the low homicide rates prevailing in the Strip. Nor have there been reports of any closings of hospitals, municipal governments, schools, universities, colleges, or dispensaries. . . .

Nor have there been news items announcing the departure of any foreign relief agencies or the closure of any human-rights organizations in the area. Nor is there any evidence that the World Health Organization (WHO), which rigorously monitors the world to prevent the outbreak of contagious disease, is seriously looking at Gaza. And that is for good reason. The WHO knows, as do hundreds of medical personnel in Israeli hospitals who liaise with their colleagues in Gaza, that the hospital system in Gaza is of a high caliber, certainly by the standards of the developing world. . . .

Hamas, [of course], wants more trucks entering Gaza to increase tax revenues to pay for its 30,000-strong militia and public security force, and to increase the prospects of smuggling arms for the benefit of its missile stockpiles and tunnel-building efforts. How Israel should react is equally obvious. You want more humanitarian aid? . . . Free the two mentally disabled Israelis who found their way into Gaza and are imprisoned by Hamas.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian economy