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French Jews Face the Hatred That Can’t Be Named

April 3 2018

In Paris, two Muslim men, one of them yelling “Allahu Akbar,” recently murdered the eighty-five-year-old, wheelchair-bound Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll. Noting that this is hardly an isolated incident, Bari Weiss scrutinizes the official French response:

Parisian authorities are investigating the murder as being motivated by the “membership, real or supposed, of the victim of a particular religion.” But euphemisms should have no place in describing the nature of Mireille Knoll’s death. She was murdered by men apparently animated by the same hatred that drove Hitler. . . .

[Knoll’s] neighborhood . . . has already borne witness to a nearly identical crime. Almost exactly a year ago, a sixty-five-year-old Jewish widow named Sarah Halimi was murdered by her neighbor, twenty-seven-year-old Kobili Traoré. Other neighbors said they heard Traoré scream “Allahu Akbar” as he beat Halimi, a retired doctor, to near death in the early hours of April 4, 2017. He then threw her body into the courtyard below. It took months for Halimi’s murder to be categorized as an anti-Jewish hate crime. . . . This time, French authorities have been quick to call the crime by its proper name. . . . But the people actually killing Jews in France these days are not members of the National Front. They are Islamists. . . .

Here are some facts that are very hard to talk about: Jews represent less than 1 percent of the population in France, yet in 2014, 51 percent of all racist attacks were carried out against them, according to the French Interior Ministry. A survey from that year of about 1,000 French respondents with unknown religious affiliation and 575 self-identified Muslims . . . found that the Muslim respondents were two or three times more likely to have anti-Jewish sentiments than those from the random French group. Nineteen percent of all respondents felt that Jews had “too much” political power. Among Muslims, the number was 51 percent. As for the idea that Zionism “is an international organization that aims to influence the world and society in favor of the Jews,” 44 percent of Muslims surveyed approved of this statement. . . .

Whatever else the investigation of Knoll’s murder might reveal, this much we know for certain: the men who are accused of killing her were living in a culture in which Jews are reviled on the far right and, increasingly, on the far left; in which [supposed] sensitivity toward cultural differences has driven too many for too long to ignore the spread of an ancient hatred in a vicious new form; in which attacks on Jews have been explained away as politically motivated by events in the Middle East. In such a culture, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some would come to the conclusion that Jewish blood is cheap.

Read more at New York Times

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

 

What U.S. Success in Syria Should Look Like

April 26 2018

Surveying the history of the Syrian civil war, Jack Keane and Danielle Pletka explain that Bashar al-Assad’s brutal rule and vicious tactics have led to the presence in his country of both Shiite terrorists, led by Hizballah and backed by Iran and Russia, and Sunni jihadist groups like Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda. Any American strategy, they argue, must bear this in mind:

The best option is a Syria without Assad, committed to a future without Iranian or Russian influence. This is not a Pollyanna-like prescription; there are substantial obstacles in the way, not least those we have encountered in Iraq. . . . [But] only such a Syria can guarantee an end to Iranian interference, to the transshipment of weapons for Hizballah, and to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction of the kind we saw used at Douma. (Iran has been instrumental in Syria’s chemical-weapons program for many years.) And, most importantly, only such a Syria can disenfranchise the al-Qaeda and IS affiliates that have found a foothold by exploiting the Syrian people’s desperation.

How do we get there? The United States must first consolidate and strengthen its position in eastern Syria from the Euphrates river to the eastern Syrian border. This involves clearing out the remnants of Islamic State, some several thousand, and ultimately eliminating pockets controlled by the Assad regime and Iranian forces in northeastern Syria. This would enable the creation of a control zone in the eastern part of the country as a base from which to build a credible and capable partner that is not subordinate to the Kurdish chain of command, while effectively shutting down Iran’s strategic land bridge from Iran to the Mediterranean. A regional Arab force, reportedly suggested by President Trump’s new national-security adviser, would be a welcome addition. But we should seriously doubt [the Arabs] will participate without American ground leadership and air support.

In western Syria, the United States should rebuild a Syrian opposition force with advisers, weapons, and air power while upping the pressure on Assad and his cronies to select a pathway to a negotiated peace. Pursuing a settlement in Geneva without such leverage over the Assad regime is pure fantasy. Finally, the United States and other Western powers must impede Iran’s and Russia’s ability to be resupplied. Syria’s airfields must be destroyed, and Syria’s airspace must remain clear.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Hizballah, Iran, ISIS, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy