To Fight Anti-Semitic Violence in France, It’s Necessary to Identify Its Islamist Roots

Seventeen years ago, a Parisian gang calling itself “the Barbarians” lured a twenty-three-year-old cell-phone salesman named Ilan Halimi onto its turf, tortured him for three weeks while reciting Quranic verses, and then left him to die by the roadside. Halimi’s murder is often seen as the beginning of the current era of anti-Semitic violence in France. Eleanor Krasne comments on the repeated failure of the French government, and even of Jewish leaders, to confront the sources of such violence:

The French authorities initially neglected to explore the anti-Semitic nature of the crime, but after a three-week search, they finally caught the gang’s leader, Youssef Fofana. When the case went to trial, Fofana wore a t-shirt that said “Allahu Akbar,” and when asked to state his identity said, “My name is Arab, armed African rebellion Salafist barbarian army, and I was born on February 13, 2006 in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois.” In other words, Fofana boasted of his allegiance to Salafism, a political-religious movement within Islam that seeks to establish a global caliphate. . . . Fofana was also saying that he was “born” the moment Ilan Halimi died.

Muslims are not solely responsible for French anti-Semitism, nor is every Muslim an anti-Semite. However, radical Islam’s role in French anti-Semitism must not be overlooked. Yet . . . French and American organizations that . . . advocate for Jews seem to shy away from confronting the radical Islamic theology behind these attacks, particularly when commemorating Ilan Halimi’s murder.

Confronting modern-day anti-Semitism in France means confronting the ideology behind it. France is home to 450,000 Jews and a growing community of over three million Muslims. Simone Rodan Benzaquen, the American Jewish Committee’s director in France, wrote in 2017 that Islamic anti-Semitism in France is a result of a variety of factors, “including manipulation of the Palestinian cause, failure of integration into French society, radical preachers and the funding of mosques, and satellite television stations broadcasting a steady stream of anti-Semitic discourse.”

Unfortunately, Benzaquen is correct, and other organizations must join her in facing the reality of Islamic anti-Semitism in France.

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, France, French Jewry, Radical Islam


Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University