We’ve covered some of this ground already, but not in the presence of the divine Caroline Glick:
January 16 is the nine-year anniversary of the beginning of the Ilan Halimi disaster.
On January 16, 2006, Sorour Arbabzadeh, the seductress from the Muslim anti-Jewish kidnapping gang led by Youssouf Fofana, entered the cellphone store where Halimi worked and set the honey trap.
Four days later, Halimi met Arbabzadeh for a drink at a working class bar and agreed to walk her home. She walked him straight into an ambush. Her comrades beat him, bound him and threw him into the trunk of their car.
They brought Halimi to a slum apartment and tortured him for 24 days and 24 nights before dumping him, handcuffed, naked, stabbed and suffering from third degree burns over two-thirds of his body, at a railway siding in Paris.
He died a few hours later in the hospital.
Measured by duration and premeditation, the Halimi torture must rank as the second-worst of France’s recent brushes with Muslim terrorism—worse than the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher massacres, not as horrific as the Toulouse slaughter of Jewish schoolchildren. (Your rankings may differ.)
But is that how France saw it?
The anti-Jewish nature of the gang was clear from its chosen victims. The anti-Semitic nature of their atrocious crime against Halimi was obvious from the first time they contacted his mother, Ruth Halimi, demanding ransom for his release. They made anti-Jewish slurs in all their communications with her.
And as she heard her sons tortured cries in the background, Ruth was subjected to his torturers’ recitation of Koranic verses.
And yet, throughout the period of his captivity, French authorities refused to consider the anti-Jewish nature of the crime, and as a result, refused to treat the case as life threatening or urgent.
The same attitude continued well after Halimi was found. As Weitzmann noted, the investigative magistrate insisted “There isn’t a single element to allow one to attach this murder to an anti-Semitic purpose or an anti-Semitic act.”
The denial went on through the 2009 trials of the 29 kidnappers and their accomplices. Anti-Semitism was listed as an aggravating circumstance of the crime – and as such, a cause for harsher sentencing – only for the gang leader Fofana. And in the end, even for him, the judges did not take it into account at sentencing.
As for those 29 kidnappers and accomplices, as Weitzmann notes, each one of them had a circle of friends and family.
As a consequence, by a one reporters’ conservative estimate, at least 50 people were aware of the crime and where Halimi was being held, while he was being held. And not one of them called the police. Not one of them felt moved to make a call that could save the life of a Jew.
After the fact, the media in France were happy to publish articles by the torturers’ defense lawyers insisting, “Only people motivated by ‘political reasons’ would try to sell the opinion that anti-Semitism is eating away at French society.”
[W]hen Halimi, and six years later when the three children and the rabbi massacred at Otzar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse, were brought to Israel for burial, the media reported their decision in a negative way hinting that it was evidence of the basic disloyalty, or otherness of the Jews of France.
We made the same point about Netanyahu’s insistence on coming to France for the public memorial and march for the victims. Remember, their families had asked that they be buried in Israel. It was only proper that he (even if only symbolically) accompany their bodies to their ancestral home. And he should be praised, not scourged, for offering a home to living French Jews, not just dead ones.
Glick looks at the last nine years of France’s relations with its Jews and sees the same merde, different jour.
[W]hat Halimi’s murder exposed is that anti-Semitism in France is systemic. Muslims are the main perpetrators of violence. And they operate in social environments that are at a minimum indifferent to Jewish suffering and victimization. This violence and indifference is abetted by non-Islamic elites. French authorities minimize the unique threat Jews face. And the media are happy to ignore the issue, or when given the slightest opportunity, to claim that the Jews are responsible for their own victimization.
Indeed, in live reports from the scene of the hostage taking at the kosher supermarket in Paris last week, Weitzmann noted that in the early hours of the attack, French media failed to mention that the hostages were Jews.
This line is a whopper:
When all is said and done, it is their necks on the line while humanity’s conscience is merely troubled.
PS: I wrote yesterday about the flaming a-hole on NPR who ragged on Netanyahu and Israel. One of his points I forgot to mention is that he didn’t think many French Jews would pursue the aliyah suggested by Neyanyahu. His ignorance knows no bounds:
Speaking of aliya is also essential because so far the only thing that has caused French authorities to speak directly against anti-Semitism and take action to defend French Jewry has been the prospect of a mass exodus of their Jews.
The year 2014 saw a 50 percent increase in French aliya. And the Jewish Agency anticipates that that number will double to 15,000 in 2015, with 50,000 more not far behind.
If Jews don’t flee France in 2016, it will be because they’ve already left.