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In France, Anti-Semitism Is a Hatred That Cannot Be Named

A few months ago in Paris, an immigrant from Mali beat and murdered his neighbor Sarah Halimi, a sixty-six-year-old Jewish widow. Halimi’s killer, Kobili Traore, had a history of yelling anti-Semitic epithets at her and her family, and everything about the murder suggests he was motivated by his own religious beliefs. Yet the French government, in collusion with the French press, has refused to acknowledge that anti-Semitism had anything to do with this crime, and French television has declined to air a documentary on anti-Semitism because of the attention it pays to Muslim anti-Semites. Ben Cohen and Benjamin Weinthal write:

[A]fter dozens of attacks on Jews ranging from street violence to kidnapping to a terrorist massacre at an elementary school, much of France, on the right and left, still [denies] that the country has a problem with anti-Semitism. That’s particularly true when it comes to the approximately seven-million Muslims living there. . . .

Traore has no record of mental illness. He is known to have harassed Halimi and her relatives. His killing of Halimi bore all the fervor of a jihadist attack. And yet this monstrous attack is not being treated as a hate crime. As of now, if Traore goes on trial, it will be on a charge of voluntary manslaughter, mitigated by the mental-health problems from which his lawyers claim he suffers.

There was no public outcry for many reasons, but perhaps the most important one is that Halimi was tortured and murdered at a rather inconvenient time: the climax of the French presidential elections and the widespread fear in much of the French media that Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front would emerge victorious. . . .

[I]f France is finally to overcome its unsettling silence around anti-Semitism—broken occasionally by . . . denials that there is a meaningful problem in the first place—it has first to accept that many of its leaders and opinion-formers are responsible for maintaining it.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, French Jewry, Jewish World, Marine Le Pen

 

The Trump Administration Has Said the Right Things about Syria, but Words Are Not Enough

Jan. 30 2018

While praising the White House for recognizing that Iran poses a major threat to American interests in Syria, Jennifer Cafarella argues that Washington still needs a strategy for countering the Islamic Republic and its allies:

The Trump White House identifies Iran as a primary threat. It has verbally committed to the departure from power of Bashar al-Assad. It claims to prioritize repairing relations with Turkey, seeks to destroy al-Qaeda, and wants to refocus the U.S. on Syria’s humanitarian catastrophe. These are the correct goals toward which American policy should strive. . . . The problem is that the strategy Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has outlined [in a January 17 speech] will not accomplish these goals. . . .

American policy in Syria, regardless of any tough administration statements, is to accept Assad and his regime de-facto. . . . The “de-escalation” agreement that President Trump signed in November 2017 with Russia is a surrender not only to Russia, but also to Iran. It heavily favors Assad. In that deal, Russia promised to compel Iran to withdraw its forces from southern Syria. It never happened. Pro-regime forces violate the de-escalation zone with impunity. . . .

Tillerson uses vague terms like “deny their dreams” to describe our strategy against Iran in Syria. He identifies no clear goal against which the U.S. can measure success. He states that the U.S. must deliver an “enduring defeat” to al-Qaeda—and we certainly must. Yet the U.S. Defense Department has offered no vision of how to do that. The strategy Tillerson outlines—and that the U.S. is pursuing—amounts to outsourcing the problem to Turkey, which is actually working with al-Qaeda in Syria. . . .

Two administrations have sought to substitute rhetoric for action and to outsource American interests to local partners. The U.S. must abandon this approach and recognize Syria’s importance to American security.

Read more at Fox News

More about: Al Qaeda, Donald Trump, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Rex Tillerson, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy