In France, Jewish Blood Is Cheap

April 16 2021

In Paris on April 4, 2017, Kobili Traoré broke into the apartment of a neighbor, a retired Jewish physician named Sarah Halimi, and proceeded to beat her viciously while shouting anti-Semitic slurs. He then threw her out the window, and to her death, with a shout of “Allahu Akbar!” On Wednesday, a French high court upheld a previous decision that Traoré could not be held accountable for Halimi’s murder because he was under the influence of marijuana. Bari Weiss comments:

The rule of thumb, as the British writer and comedian David Baddiel has noted in his new book [of that name], is that Jews don’t count. But there is a more sophisticated version of this bloody arithmetic. When a Jew is harassed by a neo-Nazi, he counts. When a Jew is harassed by a person from another minority group, not so much. When a secular Jew is attacked, he counts. But when a Jew with a black hat is attacked, that’s ignored. If the story suits the narrative, it counts. If it undermines it, it doesn’t.

And so it is the case with the four-year saga of Sarah Halimi. . . . As Francis Szpiner, one of the Halimi family’s lawyers, asked of the court’s strange logic: “Will this also apply to drunk drivers who kill children on the road?” The question answers itself. The madness here does not belong to Traoré. It belongs to France.

[A] survey conducted by the American Jewish Committee last year found that 70 percent of French Jews say they have been victims of at least one anti-Semitic incident in their lifetime. . . . The French Jewish community, which is the largest Jewish community in all of Europe, has seen which way the wind is blowing for a while now. French Jews are heading for the exits, mostly to Israel.

Previous reports on the predicament of French Jewry can be read here, here, and here.

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Read more at Common Sense

More about: Anti-Semitism, French Jewry

Iran, America, and the Future of Democracy in the Middle East

Nov. 23 2022

Sixty-two days after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic Republic’s police, the regime has failed to quash the protest movement. But it is impossible to know if the tide will turn, and what the outcome of the government’s collapse might be. Reuel Marc Gerecht considers the very real possibility that a democratic Iran will emerge, and considers the aftershocks that might follow. (Free registration required.)

American political and intellectual elites remain uneasy with democracy promotion everywhere primarily because it has failed so far in the Middle East, the epicenter of our attention the last twenty years. (Iraq’s democracy isn’t dead, but it didn’t meet American expectations.) Might our dictatorial exception for Middle Eastern Muslims change if Iran were to set in motion insurrections elsewhere in the Islamic world, in much the same way that America’s response to 9/11 probably helped to produce the rebellions against dictatorship that started in Tunisia in 2010? The failure of the so-called Arab Spring to establish one functioning democracy, the retreat of secular democracy in Turkey, and the implosion of large parts of the Arab world have left many wondering whether Middle Eastern Muslims can sustain representative government.

In 1979 the Islamic revolution shook the Middle East, putting religious militancy into overdrive and tempting Saddam Hussein to unleash his bloodiest war. The collapse of Iran’s theocracy might be similarly seismic. Washington’s dictatorial preference could fade as the contradictions between Arab tyranny and Persian democracy grow.

Washington isn’t yet invested in democracy in Iran. Yet, as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has often noted, American hostility toward the Islamic Republic has been damaging. If the theocracy falls, Iranians will surely give America credit—vastly more credit that they will give to the European political class, who have been trying to make nice, and make money, with the clerical regime since the early 1990s—for this lasting enmity. We may well get more credit than we deserve. Both Democrats and Republicans who have dismissed the possibilities of democratic revolutions among the Muslim peoples of the Middle East will still, surely, claim it eagerly.

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Arab democracy, Democracy, Iran, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy