Two Years after Samuel Paty’s Death, Islamist Violence Remains a Real Threat to France

Oct. 26 2022

On October 16, 2020, Samuel Paty, a teacher at a French high school, was beheaded by a young Muslim man after showing a picture of Mohammad to his class. Liam Duffy observes that, on the two-year anniversary of the murder, prominent French newspapers of the left, right, and center lamented the fact that little seems to have changed. As Duffy explains, they had a specific reason for their pessimism:

[J]ust days before the anniversary, a schoolteacher was forced into police protection after receiving death threats and anti-Semitic abuse in a letter promising the same fate as Paty. Another teacher was threatened by the relative of a pupil for merely discussing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in class.

Far from being deterred by the knowledge of Paty’s fate, campaigns and threats against educators have continued unabated in the two years since, and in some cases have crossed the Channel.

There’s a sense that schoolteachers are on the frontlines in the defense of republican principles, [what in the U.S. would be called democratic values], which is under assault from the religious right (Catholic or Islamist) and the identity-obsessed left. But it is France’s Islamist scene that clearly sees the classroom as a frontline. A confidential government report recently sounded the alarm that Islamist “influencers” have been waging an online offensive to destabilize institutions and undermine laïcité (official secularism) in the school. Large accounts on mainstream social-media platforms encourage young people to confront staff on matters of religious contention, to pressure other students, and deliberately to violate school rules on dress code and religious attire.

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Read more at UnHerd

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, France, Radical Islam

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship