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Joel Braunold has written a great piece on Haaretz today regarding the Toulouse shootings.

He writes:

Perhaps the most shocking piece written on the murders came from Oxford Professor and Islamic thinker Tariq Ramadan, who declared that Merah was a young man, “imbued neither with the values of Islam, or driven by racism and anti-Semitism.” He was merely attacking symbols, “the army and Jews.”
His analysis was joined by a piece on France 24 that his trigger was due to the loss of a job or a political act. The Guardian in their editorial worries about the politicization of the incident and the general threats to society of violent extremisms, but never mentions the term anti-Semitism.
The reduction of the French Jewish community to a mere symbol of a Western European society demonstrates a dehumanization of Merah’s victims. How does the slaughter of a religious leader and three small children of a particular minority community merely become a symbol of attacking society in general? Do the victims’ identities mean nothing to these analysts except to demonstrate this was another disaffected immigrant angry at the West and demonstrating that anger in just any way he knew how?
As someone who was once the convener anti-racist, anti-fascist campaign for the National Student Movement in the U.K., I understand the tinder box of inter community violence all too well. The desire for the far-right to have been the perpetrator, the boogie man that we can all agree to hate, is overwhelmingly strong. The last thing we want to do is exacerbate Jewish-Muslim tensions.
Yet this noble desire cannot mask the fact that this man’s victims were not random. They were Jews. His lip service to the Palestinian cause as justification makes him no more a symbol of their movement, as his victims were symbols of Western Society. Merah got it into his head that one should kill Jews; it was something that was correct in his eyes to do. His brother is proud of what he did. Is that also because he lost his job or is disaffected? When will it be allowed to say that these two people hated Jews?

Tariq Ramadan’s whitewashing of this atrocity is indeed problematic. Ramadan reduces Jews to mere abstracts and ideas i.e., symbols and doesn’t see them as human beings with who can feel pain unlike ideas, and abstracts, which cannot. Hence, to Ramadan just as one can attack ideas in order to express outrage (e.g. burn flags or Qurans, or write angry letters to the editor) so too one can attack Jews, both are justified in his eyes.

But let’s hypothetically say that Merah indeed was driven to attack symbols and not driven by Anti-Semitism. Such a thesis is self-negating. On the one hand Ramadan says that Merah was not “driven by racism and Anti-Semitism” since he saw the Jews as symbols, but that would mean that Merah did not see Jews as human beings, the core of all Anti-Semitic philosophy.

Another example of Ramadan’s self-negation is contained in the following lines:

Religion was not Mohamed Merah’s problem ; nor is politics. A French citizen frustrated at being unable to find his place, to give his life dignity and meaning in his own country, he would find two political causes through which he could articulate his distress : Afghanistan and Palestine.
Wait a minute! If politics was not Merah’s problem why did he find two political causes “through which he could articulate his distress?”

The simple answer is that Ramadan is a champion of double-speak, as Hussein Ibish and Christopher Hitchens noted a long time ago.

Ramadan then goes on to make Merah an oppressed victim wishing that the reader draws some sort of sick and pitiful sympathy for the guy. Ramadan states:

A pathetic young man, guilty and condemnable beyond the shadow of a doubt, even though he himself was the victim of a social order that had already doomed him, and millions of others like him, to a marginal existence, and to the non-recognition of his status as a citizen equal in rights and opportunities.
I don’t doubt that discrimination and social-injustice against Muslims exist in France, but that is not a scapegoat or an excuse to attack and kill other people who themselves are subjected to social-injustice. All one has to do is read “The 2011 annual report on antisemitism in France.”

Since I don’t speak French I had to consult Wikipedia to find out what exactly is in this report. Wikipedia claims that the report concluded:

100 graffitis, 46 flyers or mails, 114 insults) and 129 crimes (57 assaults, 7 arsons or attempted arsons, 65 deteriorations and acts of vandalism but no murder, attempted murder or terrorist attack) recorded
2012 is a different story. Murders and terrorist attack will be reported.

Furthermore, consider the fact that the ADL has found:

In France, where a shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse yesterday claimed the lives of three small children and a teacher, the overall level of anti-Semitism increased to 24 percent of the population, an increase from 20 percent in a previous ADL poll conducted in 2009.  In France, 45 percent of respondents attributed the violence against European Jews to anti-Jewish feelings, an increase from 39 percent in 2009.

Other findings for France include: 45 percent of the population responded "probably true" to the statement "Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country; 35 percent agreed that "Jews have too much power in the business world; and 35 percent believe that "Jews still talk too much about what happened to them during the Holocaust.

Amidst this tragedy two things have lifted my emotions just a little.

The first is that as Braunold noted:

Perhaps the only positive thing of note has been the reaction of the French Jewish community. After a rabbi and three small children were murdered in France, and declared by the persecutor as an act in the name of the Middle East conflict, there were no riots, nor firebombs lobbed at mosques. During the 2009 War in Gaza there were riots in London, shops smashed and firebombs thrown at synagogues.
The French Jewish community’s silent and powerful protest in arms with other communities in response to such violent provocation demonstrates that even at the pinnacle of rage rioting in the streets of Europe is not justified. So as we think about what lead a man to target Jewish children, let us also recognize the control of a community, a control that we could only hope to emulate if we found ourselves in such circumstances.
The Second is that the Palestinians themselves have refused to turn Merah into a victim and a martyr as Ramadan did.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad said:

"It is time for these criminals to stopmarketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life,"
These two reactions make me believe that there is still hope for peace and reconciliation between Jews and Muslims throughout the world as well as between Israelis and Palestinians.
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Comment Preferences

  •  And people wonder why (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My people need Yisrael to continue to be a Jewish state.  A place where they can go live when they feel threatened in their own countires they live in.

    A place that the UN itself (before it became the bigotted body we know today) understood the need for after WWII.

    I would hypothosize that the increase in Anti-semetism in France correlates to the increase in the islamic population, which underscores the bigger problem facing Yisrael today.  The islamic wish for the total destruction of Yisrael.

    •  i read somewhere with the current (0+ / 0-)

      immigration and birthrate demographics that western europe is going to be islamic by the end of the century. The world is going to be a pretty lonely and scary place for jews if that's the truth.

      •  That is not true. (5+ / 0-)

        Read this article, which debunks the Eurabia myth.

        The 'Eurabia' myth deserves a debunking

        It's just xenophobia mixed with hysteria.

        •  Eurabia is about much more... (0+ / 0-)

          than demographics. Saunders greatly oversimplifies the issues and neglects political machinations.

          To say it is only xenophobia mixed with hysteria is a gross exaggeration about the thesis. Indeed, the white-washing the diary refers to is interrelated to the matter, not to mention the manifestation of a new wave of antisemitism experienced across the continent.

          •  Yes, you have the Bat Ye'or craziness (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shawn Russell

            about the Euro-Arab Axis too. But Shawn Russel was responding to a comment about the demography.

            "Walking into someone's diary is like walking into someone's home. You are a guest. Act accordingly." Kos

            by Mariken on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:21:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Have you read the book? (0+ / 0-)

              By using the concept it relates to the book, which discusses much more than demographics.

              •  Nope. I have no interest in conspiracy theories (0+ / 0-)

                "Walking into someone's diary is like walking into someone's home. You are a guest. Act accordingly." Kos

                by Mariken on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:38:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Then perhaps you are manipulated... (0+ / 0-)

                  in your ideas, rather than forming them for yourself.

                  •  Yep, I am (0+ / 0-)

                    from Norway so I am pretty manipulated by The New Quislings.


                    "Walking into someone's diary is like walking into someone's home. You are a guest. Act accordingly." Kos

                    by Mariken on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:22:15 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What does that have to do with... (0+ / 0-)

                      Eurabia? I can conflate things, too, but what purpose does that serve?

                      Obviously, you formed your judgment about Eurabia based on something, and perhaps from sources that have an agenda as well.

                      But since you brought up Norway, which is far from diverse in its overall orientation on the issues, were you around for The Anti-Jewish Riots in Oslo, as further documented by this news article?

                      Perhaps laughing out loud with Ms. Halvorsen?

                      •  No, I wasn´t around (0+ / 0-)

                        for the demonstrations and riots in Oslo. Only followed the media coverage.

                        I mentioned Bruce Bawer´s book because you linked to an article by Gerstenfeld, and when I followed that link, there was aslo a link to another article by him, where he mentions that particular book.

                        "Walking into someone's diary is like walking into someone's home. You are a guest. Act accordingly." Kos

                        by Mariken on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:54:49 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I was. It was not comforting at all. (0+ / 0-)

                          Gerstenfeld was addressing the white washing that frequently occurs in Europe, and Ramadan specifically.

                          I fail to see why you needed to mention being Norwegian. Using an article from an article only muddies the waters. Norwegian reaction to July 22 is far afield from the topic.

                          The point is that when discussing Eurabia as a concept, to dismiss it solely on demographic grounds is simplistic and ignores the evidence that a Euro-Arab connection was created and has contributed to occurrences of antisemitism across the continent, and perhaps more.

                          That this seems a conspiracy to you shows how little you actually know of what occurred, and how easy it is to create a manipulated reality based more on ideology than facts.

                          Bat Ye’or did not create the name Eurabia or engage in its manifestations, just reported about its advent and expansion.

          •  I have seen no good evidence of "Eurabia" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mariken, JDsg

            The thesis was crafted by Bat Ye’or, and her theory stems from her own dislike of Muslims. As Loonwatch states:

            Bat Ye’or has an axe to grind; there could be no one more biased than her.  Her antipathy towards Islam stems from her stormy past: in 1957, she was expelled from Egypt during the Israeli invasion of Sinai.  Although one can and should most definitely sympathize with her plight, it seems that she has–like so many racists before her–reacted to bigotry by becoming a bigot.  She was wronged by Muslims, and now she wants to take vengeance, which has blinded her.
            Read the entire article. She is a conspiracy theorist as Loonwatch demonstrates.

            Also read Why Fears of a Muslim Takeover Are All Wrong. in the Daily Beast It states in part:

            Moreover, the myth of Eurabia implies the existence of a united Islam, a bloc capable of collective and potentially dangerous action. The truth is that there are no powerful Muslim political movements in Europe, either continentwide or at the national level, and the divisions that separate Muslims worldwide, most obviously between Sunnis and Shiites, are apparent in Europe as well. Each major nation in Europe has drawn Muslim immigrants from distinct regions of the Islamic world, often former colonies, with different traditions and outlooks. A British Muslim from Pakistan would struggle to communicate with a French Muslim from Algeria. A second-generation Muslim from Turkey living in Germany will have little in common with a newly arrived Moroccan across the border in Belgium. Sharp differences exist even within national frontiers. In Germany, more than one in 10 Muslims are Alawites, who aren't even recognized as coreligionists by the more orthodox.
            •  Have you read the book? (0+ / 0-)

              I find your sources too simplistic in their criticisms.

              Do you know anything about the Littmans?

              I think the motley crew at Loonwatch seems no less prone to demonizing others than those they accuse.

              •  I read it as a Google Preview and it sounded like (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                a conspiracy theory. Here is the book on Google Books and people can form their own judgments

                But why don't you provide me the evidence that Eurabia is (a). Factual and (b). Is inevitable.

                You have not done that in any of your comments on this diary.

                •  So the answer is no. (0+ / 0-)

                  I find that asking people to make informed judgments based on summaries prepared by others is a prescription for poor judgments.

                  I suggest perhaps you read the book, rather than offer a summary conclusion it is a conspiracy theory.

                  I also suggest that you learn more about both Giselle and David Littman.

                  My comment addressed to you was solely to say the impression that Eurabia is just about demographics is inaccurate.

                  My original comment was to suggest that Gerstenfeld's op-ed, supportive of the diary's premise, was worth checking out.

                  •  David Littman is the spouse of Bat Ye'or (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    So he must be an objective and unbiased writer, huh? Both are in cahoots together.

                    Number two, reading Bat Ye'or's work as a google preview translates into not reading the book to you?

                    Number three, why are you so reluctant to show me that Eurabia is factual and inevitable despite my request?

                    •  Do you know anything about him? (0+ / 0-)

                      His history as a human rights activist?

                      I find it sad that you seem so quick to characterize that which you do not know.

                      Is a Google preview the same as reading the entire book? If so, why is it called a preview? I do not think a preview qualifies as reading the whole.

                      I am not reluctant at all. There are limitations as to what is possible here, and you have already shown a predisposition to dismiss. Discussing Eurabia does not really deal with the diary either. My comment was a simple aside to provide accuracy.

                      Conversely, why are you so reluctant to believe that the book is factual, when someone that has read it completely says so?

                      I will say that the Littmans have been involved firsthand in fighting for human rights and against antisemitism since well before the events referred to in Eurabia, and from that experience have come to their positions, which, from reading your diary, may not be so far from your own.

                      Here is David Littman speaking at the Human Rights Council last year on behalf of women:

                      I'll leave it at that. If you want to believe these are just loons, that is your prerogative, but I need not share that judgment.

  •  Ramadan has been a wanker for quite (5+ / 0-)

    some time now.

    I somehow doubt he would have written such a piece about Anders Breivik.  

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:47:39 AM PDT

  •  Manfred Gerstenfeld's op-ed should be read... (0+ / 0-)

    also. Killer becomes a 'victim'

    As he shows, it is not limited by any means to Ramadan.

  •  how could anyone defend blatantly anti-semitic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kingfishstew, RedPencil

    attacks by saying they weren't driven by hatred of Jews?  Bullshit needs to be called out when it happens.  Good on the PA PM for not letting this asshole use their cause to justify killing people who had nothing to do withe cause he supposedly supported.

  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell
    On the one hand Ramadan says that Merah was not “driven by racism and Anti-Semitism” since he saw the Jews as symbols, but that would mean that Merah did not see Jews as human beings, the core of all Anti-Semitic philosophy.
    I think that's a great way to state the problem with Ramadan's thesis.  Thanks!

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