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Anti-Semitic Violence in France Continues Unabated, as Does the Indifference of French Politicians

Feb. 23 2018

While a few particularly severe instances of vicious attacks on French Jews, almost always perpetrated by immigrants from Muslim countries and their descendants, have garnered attention in the U.S.—for instance the brutal murder of Sarah Halimi in her own home in April 2017—countless others go unremarked. Guy Millière surveys some of these incidents, and the shocking indifference with which they are met:

Friday, January 12, 2018. Sarcelles. A city in the northern suburbs of Paris. A fifteen-year-old girl returns from high school. She wears a necklace with a star of David and a Jewish school uniform. A man attacks her with a knife, slashes her face, and runs away. She will be disfigured the rest of her life. January 29, again in Sarcelles, an eight-year-old boy wearing a Jewish skullcap is kicked and punched by two teenagers. . . .

On January 18, 2018, six days after the knife attack in Sarcelles, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Montreuil, east of Paris, was tortured all night by two men who broke open a window and assaulted him as he slept. . . .

Without the Jews of France, France would no longer be France, said then-Prime Minister Manuel Valls in 2016. But he did not do anything. . . . He added [on a later occasion] that in France, for at least two decades, all attacks against Jews in which the perpetrator has been identified have come from Muslims, and that the most recent attacks were no exception.

Valls, however, quickly suffered the consequences of his candor. He was elbowed to the margins of political life. Muslim websites called him an “agent of the Jewish lobby” and a “racist.” Former leaders of his own party, such as the former foreign minister Roland Dumas, said that Valls’s wife is a Jew and hinted that he was “under the influence.” . . .

Recently, the journalist Eric Zemmour [commented] that in Muslim neighborhoods, Muslims are now living “according to their own laws” and forcing non-Muslim people to leave. He was found guilty of “incitement” and fined. . . . At anti-Israel demonstrations, [by contrast], people shout, “Death to the Jews,” but those people are never arrested for “hate speech.”

Read more at Gatestone

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

The Future of a Free Iran May Lie with a Restoration of the Shah

June 25 2018

Examining the recent waves of protest and political unrest in the Islamic Republic—from women shunning the hijab to truckers going out on strike—Sohrab Ahmari considers what would happen in the event of an actual collapse of the regime. Through an analysis of Iranian history, he concludes that the country would best be served by placing Reza Pahlavi, the son and heir of its last shah, at the head of a constitutional monarchy:

The end of Islamist rule in Iran would be a world-historical event and an unalloyed good for the country and its neighbors, marking a return to normalcy four decades after the Ayatollah Khomeini founded his regime. . . . But what exactly is that normalcy? . . .

First, Iranian political culture demands a living source of authority to embody the will of the nation and stand above a fractious and ethnically heterogenous society. Put another way, Iranians need a “shah” of some sort. They have never lived collectively without one, and their political imagination has always been directed toward a throne. The constitutionalist experiment of the early 20th century coexisted (badly) with monarchic authority, and the current Islamic Republic has a supreme leader—which is to say, a shah by another name. It is the height of utopianism to imagine that a 2,500-year-old tradition can be wiped away. The presence of a shah, [however], needn’t mean the absence of rule of law, deliberative politics, or any of the other elements of ordered liberty that the West cherishes in its own systems. . . .

Second, Iranian political culture demands a source of continuity with Persian history. The anxieties associated with modernity and centuries of historical discontinuity drove Iranians into the arms of Khomeini and his bearded minions, who promised a connection to Shiite tradition. Khomeinism turned out to be a bloody failure, but there is scant reason to imagine the thirst for continuity has been quenched. . . . Iranian nationalism . . . could be the answer, and, to judge by the nationalist tone of the current upheaval, it is the one the people have already hit upon.

When protestors chant “We Will Die to Get Iran Back,” “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My Life Only for Iran,” and “Let Syria Be, Do Something for Me,” they are expressing a positive vision of Iranian nationhood: no longer do they wish to pay the price for the regime’s Shiite hegemonic ambitions. Iranian blood should be spilled for Iran, not Gaza, which for most Iranians is little more than a geographical abstraction. It is precisely its nationalist dimension that makes the current revolt the most potent the mullahs have yet faced. Nationalism, after all, is a much stronger force and in Iran the longing for historical continuity runs much deeper than liberal-democratic aspiration. Westerners who wish to see a replay of Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 in today’s Iran will find the lessons of Iranian history hard and distasteful, but Iranians and their friends who wish to see past the Islamic Republic must pay heed.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Iran, Nationalism, Politics & Current Affairs, Shah