In order to Discuss Islam and Anti-Semitism Candidly, France May Need a First Amendment

Jan. 31 2017

France, unlike the U.S., offers no formal guarantees of its citizens’ right to freedom of speech, in part because this right is deeply ingrained in French politics and culture. But, argues Michel Gurfinkiel, two recent instances in which Jewish intellectuals were sued for writing about Islam suggests that this needs to change. Take, for example, the case of Georges Bensoussan:

Bensoussan, sixty-four, is a French academic of Moroccan-Jewish origin, specializing in the history of modern Judaism, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust, and the author of several seminal books on these issues. . . . During a debate aired on France-Culture (France’s cultural government-run radio station) on October 15, 2015, Bensoussan remarked that anti-Semitism was deeply rooted in the family culture of French Muslims. [Paraphrasing the work of] an Algerian sociologist, Smaïn Laacher, . . . Bensoussan . . . used a colloquial French expression: “in Arab families, . . . anti-Semitism is being ingested with the mother’s milk.”

Many politically correct intellectuals or organizations charged Bensoussan of using “biological,” meaning inherently “racist,” vocabulary. Interestingly enough, no Muslim, North African, or anti-racist group formally sued Bensoussan in court. Chances are that lawyers warned about the paucity of the charges. However, one group, the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), “signaled” the matter to the public prosecutor’s office at the very last moment. And it is the public prosecutor’s office—which, under French law, belongs to the government’s judiciary branch—that resolved to prosecute Bensoussan. . . .

Bensoussan’s trial started on January 25. [The] French League for the Rights of Man, a venerable human-rights advocacy group that evolved over the years into a left-wing group, decided to join CCIF against Bensoussan. So did SOS Racisme, an anti-racist organization with strong ties to the French Socialist party founded in 1984. . . [M]aybe a French First Amendment will be a necessity after all.

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Read more at PJ Media

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, France, Freedom of Speech, Politics & Current Affairs

 

The Attempted Murder of Salman Rushdie Should Render the New Iran Deal Dead in the Water

Aug. 15 2022

On Friday, the Indian-born, Anglo-American novelist Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed and severely wounded while giving a public lecture in western New York. Reports have since emerged—although as yet unverified—that the would-be assassin had been in contact with agents of Iran, whose supreme leaders have repeatedly called on Muslims to murder Rushdie. Meanwhile U.S. and European diplomats are trying to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Stephen Daisley comments:

Salman Rushdie’s would-be assassin might have been a lone wolf. He might have had no contact with military or intelligence figures. He might never even have set foot in Tehran. But be in no doubt: he acted, in effect, as an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the terms of the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989, Rushdie “and all those involved in [his novel The Satanic Verses’s] publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death.” Khomeini urged “brave Muslims to kill them quickly wherever they find them so that no one ever again would dare to insult the sanctities of Muslims,” adding: “anyone killed while trying to execute Rushdie would, God willing, be a martyr.”

An American citizen has been the victim of an attempted assassination on American soil by, it appears, another American after decades of the Iranian supreme leader agitating for his murder. No country that is serious about its national security, to say nothing of its national self-worth, can pretend this is some everyday stabbing with no broader political implications.

Those implications relate not only to the attack on Rushdie. . . . In July, a man armed with an AK-47 was arrested outside the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian dissident who was also the intended target of an abduction plot last year orchestrated by an Iranian intelligence agent. The cumulative weight of these outrages should render the new Iran deal dead in the water.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Freedom of Speech, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy