In France and Germany, Courts Come to Terms with Non-Jewish Victims of Anti-Semitic Violence

The end of the past year saw the conclusion of four legal proceedings that placed anti-Semitic murderers on the dock. On December 16, a French court convicted fourteen people for their involvement in the 2015 killing spree that targeted the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and thereafter a kosher supermarket. In Germany last October, a court sentenced the neo-Nazi Stephan Balliet to life in prison for attempting a massacre at a synagogue on Yom Kippur of 2019, and for two murders he committed after the attempt failed. Ben Cohen notes that, although both courts delivered guilty sentences, there were important difference is their handling of the respective crimes:

One . . . has to factor in the reluctance—not to say distaste—within the French judiciary for acknowledging any anti-Semitic motives among defendants in crimes that involve Jewish victims, even when these are staring them in the face, as lawyers for the victims’ families pointed out several times during the harrowing six-month trial. This was certainly not the issue with Balliet’s trial in Germany, where the searing hatred of Jews that drove his assault was front and center in the courtroom proceedings.

Neither of the two individuals murdered by Balliet was Jewish. . . . Nonetheless, both of these people were victims of anti-Semitic violence, irrespective of whether they happened to be Jewish. To say otherwise is to separate Jews out from the rest of society.

I would argue that much the same judgment can be made concerning the Paris attacks, where Jewish and general institutions were targeted. . . . In accordance with their extreme Islamist ideology—for [French killers] “the Jews” were at the root of the evil that enabled Charlie Hebdo to print cartoons that lampooned the prophet Mohammad. Just as for Balliet, “the Jews” were the reason why Germany had permitted the entry of hundreds of thousands of Syrian war refugees during 2015. That is why, when asked to explain his preference for shooting up a synagogue over a mosque, Balliet answered that he wanted to “fight the cause, not the symptoms.”

But while both trials resulted some measure of justice, this was not the case elsewhere:

Last week, a court in Buenos Aires acquitted Carlos Telleldin, a car-dealer charged with having supplied the truck that was used in the devastating July 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in the Argentine capital. The day after that decision, which roiled Argentina’s Jewish community, a court on the other side of the globe in Sindh, Pakistan, released the four men accused of orchestrating the 2002 abduction and beheading of the American Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl.

Read more at JNS

More about: AMIA bombing, Anti-Semitism, Charlie Hebdo, Daniel Pearl, France, Germany

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada