France’s Moment of Truth

On January 13, after the mass demonstrations in which millions waved tri-colored flags and chanted the Marseillaise, a poll found 87 percent of the French saying they were “feeling proud” of being French. Yet, writes Michel Gurfinkiel, “near unanimity is not unanimity.”

What soon became apparent was that only the Old French (the culturally European and Judeo-Christian French) took part in the vigils and marches and were delighted to be together, whereas most New French (the culturally non-European and non-Judeo-Christian immigrant communities) stood aside.

Most imams issued perfunctory condemnation of terrorism, but were clearly unenthusiastic about Charlie Hebdo’s right to make fun of [Islam]. Even more ominously, one-minute-of-silence ceremonies at school were met with hostility and scorn by Muslim children and teenagers from third grade to high school. . . . Many people or groups associated with Charlie Hebdo were threatened on the Internet. In the Lyons area, a Jewish jeweler’s shop was vandalized.

In other words, the ethnic and religious polarization that has befallen France over the past years is growing into an ever more explicit conflict. And this is no small business.

Read more at PJ Media

More about: Charlie Hebdo, European Islam, France, French Jewry, Politics & Foreign Affairs, Western civilization

The Possible Death of Mohammad Deif, and What It Means

On Saturday, Israeli jets destroyed a building in southern Gaza, killing a Hamas brigade commander named Rafa Salameh. Salameh is one of the most important figures in the Hamas hierarchy, but he was not the primary target. Rather it was Mohammad Deif, who is Yahya Sinwar’s number-two and is thought to be the architect and planner of numerous terrorist attacks, of Hamas’s tunnel network, and of the October 7 invasion itself. Deif has survived at least five Israeli attempts on his life, and the IDF has consequently been especially reluctant to confirm that he had been killed. Yet it seems that it is possible, and perhaps likely, that he was.

Kobi Michael notes that Deif’s demise would have major symbolic value and, moreover, deprive Hamas of important operational know-how. But he also has some words of caution:

The elimination of Deif becomes even more significant given the current reality of severe damage to Hamas’s military wing and its transition to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. However, it is important to remember that organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah are more than the sum of their components or commanders. Israel has previously eliminated the leaders of these organizations and other very senior military figures, and yet the organizations continued to grow, develop, and become more significant security threats to Israel, while establishing their status as political players in the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas.

As for the possibility that Deif’s death will harden Hamas’s position in the hostage negotiations, Tamir Hayman writes:

In my opinion, even if there is a bump in the road now, it is not a strategic one. The reasons that Hamas decided to compromise its demands in the [hostage] deal stem from the operational pressure it is under [and] the fear that the pressure exerted by the IDF will increase.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas