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


Hamas’s Dangerous Escalation in Gaza

June 22 2018

As Hamas has stepped up its attacks on communities near the Gaza Strip—using incendiary devices attached to kites and balloons—Israel has begun to retaliate more forcefully. In response, the terrorist group has begun firing rockets and mortars into Israel. Yoav Limor comments:

What made Wednesday’s rocket salvo different is that ‎unlike previous flare-ups on the border [since 2014], this time it ‎was Hamas operatives who fired at Israel, as opposed ‎to Islamic Jihad or the ‎rogue terrorist group in the coastal enclave. ‎Still, Hamas made sure the attack followed most of ‎the familiar “rules”—only [firing] at night and only at the ‎ communities in the vicinity of Gaza, and apparently while also ‎trying to minimize any casualties, to avoid further ‎escalation. ‎. . .

The first reason [for the shift in tactics] is Israel’s own change of policy ‎with regard to kite terrorism. It took Israel far ‎too long to define the incessant waves of incendiary ‎kites sent over the border as actionable acts of ‎terror, but once it did, the IDF began ‎systematically countering them, including firing ‎warning shots at terrorist kite cells and targeting ‎Hamas assets in Gaza in retaliation.‎

The second reason is Hamas’s own frustration and ‎distress in Gaza. Since the border-riot campaign was ‎launched on March 30, some 150 of its operatives ‎have been killed and the Israeli military has ‎carried out over 100 strikes on Hamas positions in ‎the coastal enclave, all while Hamas has nothing to ‎show for it. ‎In this situation, Hamas is searching for [some sort of victory] by declaring that “bombings will be ‎met with bombings,” as Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum ‎said Wednesday, in order to portray itself as defending Gaza from ‎Israel.‎ . . .

Hamas is banking on Israel opting against a military ‎campaign in Gaza at this time so as not to split its ‎focus from the [developments in Syria], but it is sorely ‎mistaken if it thinks Israel will simply contain ‎kite terrorism or shy away from action given the new ‎equation it has presented. ‎At some point, Israel’s patience will expire.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security