How Serious is France About the War against Muslim Terror?: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 16, 2015 — Many tough words have been used by President François Hollande and other French leaders after the terrible massacres in Paris on November 13.
The West Can Win a Battle of Ideas … Assuming it Has Any: National Post, Nov. 18, 2015 — The French government has promised a “pitiless” response to the terrorist attacks on Paris.
Blind Europe Scapegoats Israel for Paris, Cancels out Israeli Victims: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 23, 2015 — When jihadists killed civilians in Paris, Europe called it "terrorism".
Netanyahu Nails It: The Enemy is ‘Medievalism’: Jonah Goldberg, New York Post, Nov. 13, 2015— Americans could learn a thing or two from Bibi Netanyahu.
Things the French Can Do That Israelis Cannot: Elder of Ziyon, Algemeiner, Nov. 16, 2015
As U.S. Escalates Air War on ISIS, Allies Slip Away: Eric Schmitt & Michael R. Gordon, New York Times, Nov. 7, 2015
Republican Candidates Urge Aggressive Response After Paris Attacks: Patrick Healy, New York Times, Nov. 14, 2015
ISIL’s Aims and Appeals: Robert Fulford, National Post, Nov. 20, 2015
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
Arutz Sheva, Nov. 16, 2015
Many tough words have been used by President François Hollande and other French leaders after the terrible massacres in Paris on November 13. "Even if France is wounded, she will rise," Hollande said. "Even if we are in grief, nothing will destroy her.” He also called the massacres an “act of war.” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said “we are at war.” The government has also called a state of emergency which it now wants to extend for three months.
The French government gives the impression that it is going to undertake a huge program to fight the Islamic State. French planes have already bombed the Syrian city Raqqa, the de facto capital of the organization. As an aside one might mention here that a summer 2014 poll found that 16% of the French population viewed ISIS favorably at that time.
France or indeed any other country going to war, has to assess the battlefield. In a post-modern society this is radically different from classic warfare, as it is not limited to a geographically defined area. The battlefield includes a disparate collection of many individuals with seditious intentions. Radical Muslim ideology is widespread in France and elsewhere in Western Europe. The Islamic State variant is just one among several others. Some of the terrorists came from the Molenbeek quarter, a radical Muslim hotbed in Brussels. The Belgian government has admitted that it has lost control over the area. France has temporarily closed its borders. However, instituting permanent border controls is a prerequisite in any effective fight against radicalized Muslims. Such a measure will inevitably undermine the Schengen open borders agreement, one of the major achievements of the EU.
France’s leaders have given no indication, in what we have heard from them thus far, that the country intends to deal with the entire battlefield. On the contrary, after the January 2015 murders of the Charlie Hebdo journalists and the Jews in the Hyper Cacher supermarket, Hollande nonsensically claimed that when a Muslim with intent to murder shouts “Allahu Akbar” as a battle cry it has nothing to do with Islam
Hollande stated: “these fanatics have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.” He thus nonsensically claimed that when a Muslim with intent to murder shouts “Allahu Akbar” as a battle cry it has nothing to do with Islam. Valls spoke more truthfully when he commented on the minority ghettoes at the time. He said that there is a “territorial, social, and ethnic apartheid” separating these neighborhoods from the rest of France.
These attacks pose a problem far greater than that faced in January this year, as the target is clearly no longer limited to journalist and Jews. The whole of France — and by extension Europe – its population and culture, is under attack. Problems in the French Muslim community have multiple aspects, as for instance pointed in a study by Gilles Kepel. It is probable that only a small percentage of the anti-democrats among the Muslims in France currently harbor terrorist intentions. However, many more are susceptible to radicalization, and therefore must be seen as potential terrorists. Convincing a few more French Muslim leaders to condemn the murders is not going to help much. The real postmodern war against violent and other antidemocratic Muslims requires a master plan that goes far beyond interim measures such as the closure of radical mosques.
This means reclaiming the lost territories in French cities and society, a move tantamount to the elimination of defined urban areas currently ruled, to all intents and purposes, by Sharia law, where French law has been marginalized. It would mean the end of “no go zones” where the police can only enter in large numbers on an ‘ad hoc’ basis.
To state explicitly that government control would have to be restored in self-contained Muslim enclaves would verge on the sacrilegious for a socialist politician in France. This is not the result of a conspiracy of silence on the part of the French government and politically correct media. Such avoidance has its origins in something more insidious: a sanitization of public expression encouraged by the establishment’s main actors, both social and political. The absence of any clear mention of problems specifically related to the French Muslim population and to Islam, allows for the fallacious belief that such problems are not major.
In order to fight the war it has declared against terrorism, the government has to define the battlefield. This requires statements which, within the French context, would be extreme. They boil down to: ‘In order to effectively fight the Islamic State, we have to reassess systematically what is wrong in French society, with a strong emphasis on its Muslim component. We are going to deal with these problems come what may, and however long it takes, in a systematic way. We know that if we don’t do so we are asking for even more trouble.’
In France there are important forces which are not part of the establishment, which may have been propelled forward by the massacres. The main one is Marine le Pen’s right wing National Front party. Its leaders have no problem in pointing out their very different and sometimes racist views of what is wrong in French Muslim society.
It may still be too early to see a further popular swing toward the party in the upcoming regional elections at the beginning of December. But even shortly before the massacre, Le Pen was leading in the polls for the first round of the 2017 presidential election, ahead of the Republicans’ Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande was behind in third place, and according to the polls, would not make it to the second round. This is an additional incentive for him to take matters far more seriously in the current crisis than he has done so far.
By observing whether the battlefield has been correctly addressed, as time passes political observers will be able to judge the extent to which the French government is serious about dealing with and preventing terrorism. As far as Israel is concerned: if France acts as it should do for its own security, then it should be more difficult for its government to come up with further disturbing posturing in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and condemnations of Israeli actions against terrorists.
If France does not act, Israel can only emphasize that France’s policies have led to a far greater Muslim-perpetrated massacre in Paris, than has ever occurred in Israel. If Hollande is serious, the French intelligence services would do well to come to the only democratic country in the Middle East for more sophisticated advice. Israel has successfully developed detailed intelligence methods over the years to avoid such massacres, dealing with a constant threat of many willing Palestinian and to a lesser extent local Muslim perpetrators.
National Post, Nov. 18, 2015
The French government has promised a “pitiless” response to the terrorist attacks on Paris. And it has dropped a few dozen bombs and kicked down some doors. But this crisis requires more than theatre. It requires genuine resolution, which must begin above the neck before radiating down through the spine. To be fair, French President François Hollande seems to be trying to assemble an international coalition to go after ISIL on the ground, despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s no-boots pledge. But the issue is the West’s overall willingness to defend itself military and intellectually. And here the indications are troubling.
Among Hollande’s announcements after the Paris attacks was freezing the decline in French military personnel temporarily. If that’s his idea of mobilization for total war, he’s not serious. Nor was he in announcing this spring that instead of sliding to 1.2 per cent of GDP, French military spending would hover briefly around 1.4 per cent, well below NATO’s two per cent pledge. If you add pensions, the number rises to 1.8 per cent. What kind of defence department sees almost a quarter of its spending go to pensions? Answer: the military in a welfare state. Which is also the answer to an even more problematic question: how can any country bring in enormous numbers of culturally hostile immigrants to “reverse” its economic and demographic decline, then leave them to fester resentfully on handouts in squalid suburbs?
The French police are now carrying out hundreds of raids on known “militants.” But if they knew about them, and arrests worked, why not act before the slaughter? The raids may impress law-abiding citizens, but they basically pointlessly disrupt the lives of people who already had nothing better to do than sit around despising the infidel society that shelters and subsidizes them, while occasionally plotting mayhem.
The search for perpetrators of the Paris attacks has included the radical Muslim Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, an infamous incubator of terror within easy reach of glittering cafes and EU headquarters. The Belgian prime minister just sighed, “There is almost always a link with Molenbeek. That’s a gigantic problem, of course.” So is sophisticated resignation in the face of known facts, including the long-standing funding of radical Wahabi mosques in Molenbeek by our Saudi “allies,” who forbid construction of churches in their country.
We are not suggesting banning radical speech or sermons. Open societies win the battle of ideas … but only if they engage in it. And it is not enough to know what we are fighting against. We must know what we are fighting for. A real response would certainly include rearming militarily instead of clutching Uncle Sam’s pant-leg. France has carried out some 200 air strikes against ISIL since September 2014, barely one every two days. And its task force, centred on the currently operational aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, consists of some three dozen planes. That’s not an air force, it’s a few squadrons. And it’s not a war, it’s a public relations exercise.
The United States, by contrast, has carried out nearly 6,400 air strikes in its half-hearted, unfocused intervention. And after Paris, it went after hundreds of trucks carrying ISIL oil inside Syria, something the French, or Canadians, literally could not do. The United States is the only Western nation to maintain a real military, though small by historical standards. It is also, not by coincidence, the only Western country to retain robust pride in its heritage and a birthrate that does not spell demographic decline.
America has its problems, to be sure. One currently occupies the White House. President Obama famously sneered at American exceptionalism, saying it was just like everyone else’s. But it’s not. America is the land of the free. So what is France? Its intellectuals and politicians may take perverse pride in their cultural differences from “Anglo-Saxons.” But France is part of the West, an inheritor of the Roman tradition of the rule of law and the Christian notion of individual dignity that, historically, produced open societies.
It cannot survive as merely a collection of hedonists who sip wine in cafes, listen to rock music and welcome tourists to the Eiffel Tower. It must be a vital, vigorous part of the West, seeking immigrants who share Western values. Where is the “fraternité” of Muslim immigrants who, we are assured, mostly reject terrorism but have for some reason made their grubby neighbourhoods no-go areas for kuffar police and firefighters?
We do not accept respected historian Niall Ferguson’s vision of the last days of Rome in the streets of Paris. ISIL is considerably less competent or vigorous than the barbarians who overwhelmed Rome and the West has deep reserves of strength. But defeating the jihadi cause is going to take a lot more than self-indulgent Facebook images, soppy songs and tricoloured lights, political bluster and a few dozen well-publicized air raids.
ISIL’s ideas are repugnant. But they are simple, giving them great appeal to people who are repugnant and simple. And even a bad idea can defeat no idea. To win this long war, the West needs spines connected to brains, a strong military defending a strong sense of self. We are not there yet by any means.
Arutz Sheva, Nov. 23, 2015
When jihadists killed civilians in Paris, Europe called it "terrorism". When jihadists kill Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv, as occurred last Thursday and Sunday, Europe calls it "militancy" and cancels out the Israeli victims of terror. If America eliminates Osama bin Laden it is "justice" announced on TV; if Israel kills Sheik Ahmed Yassin it becomes "retaliation" to be ashamed of. But we are past these heinous double standards, we are in the middle of what the Israeli deputy foreign minister, MK Tzipi Hotovely, called "blood libels."
It is the same illness that struck different parts of the free world in the Thirties. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is obviously not the reason for the wave of massacres perpetrated by Islamic State; those that attacked French in the heart of Paris, or killed Christians or Yazidis, did not do it because of the Palestinians. Yet we cannot count the ministers in Europe and Nobel Prize winners who immediately connected the French massacres to the "Israeli-Palestinian" question, not by equating Palestinian Arab terror with worldwide Arab terror, but by throwing some responsibility on the Jews.
"We are not guilty of the terrorism that strikes us, more than the people of Paris are guilty for the attacks that they suffered," said the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Therefore, of course, we reject this accusation. But now we are facing something new: not only we are blamed for the terrorism we suffer. Now we come to the absurd that we are even blamed for the terrorism directed at the French."
Interviewed by SVT2 on the terrorist attack in Paris, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Margot Wallstrom, said that "to counter radicalization we must go back to the situation in the Middle East, where the Palestinians see that there is no future for them and must accept desperation and resort to violence. " The same words were used by Jan Marinjissen, secretary of the Socialist Party in the Netherlands, who on radio NPO said that "their (ISIS, ed) behavior is related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Former Foreign Minister of Iceland, Jon Hannibalsson, asked not only to pray for the French victims of the attacks, but also for the Palestinians. "Yes, we pray for Paris, but we also pray for the Palestinians killed in the Occupied Territories". Former British Minister John Prescott wrote in the Daily Mirror: "We need to find a lasting peace throughout the Middle East. We can not let the plague of bad feelings and bad blood in Israel and in the Palestinian territories continue. The best tribute to those who died in Paris, is not to send troops and drones in Syria. And 'to channel the anger for a lasting peaceful solution in this area'. "
The former president of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize, Martii Ahtisaari, said: "Europe must pay attention to the reasons for radicalization. Advancing the peace process in the Middle East is of fundamental importance. The issue of Israel and Palestine must be resolved." The same by the former Foreign Minister of Ireland, Dermot Ahern, who has so perspicaciously explained the origins of ISIS: "It comes from the destabilization of the entire region because of the Israeli-Palestinian issue." Former US President and Nobel Peace Prize Jimmy Carter, also said at the Jon Stewart Show: "One of the sources is the Palestinian problem."
It is the same illness that struck different parts of the free world in the Thirties. Blaming the Jews whenever something bad happens is an old habit. These leaders of the European Union, including two Nobel Prize for Peace laureates, were looking for an excuse to offer to the terrorists who massacred 130 people in Paris. Again, at the expense of Israel and Jews.
Last week, a beautiful young Jew, Ezra Josh Schwartz, was killed in Gush Etzion by the same enemies of civilization as in Paris. But nobody in Europe lit candles for him. A noble Jew. Already forgotten by the shameless and blind Europe.
New York Post, Nov. 13, 2015
Americans could learn a thing or two from Bibi Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister was in Washington this week to receive the American Enterprise Institute’s Irving Kristol Award. He made some controversial remarks — at least controversial at AEI, where I am a fellow, and where the freedom agenda is alive and well — about the need to be realistic about what’s going on in the Middle East. Sometimes, he said, brutal dictators are better than the real-world alternatives: even more brutal Islamist movements hell-bent (or, if you prefer, paradise-bent) to conquer the world.
Less controversial but more intriguing was his description of the turmoil in the Middle East. “The core of the conflicts in the Middle East is the battle between modernity and early primitive medievalism,” Netanyahu explained. Everyone understood what he meant, of course. The Islamic State believes the Muslim world took a wrong turn more than a thousand years ago.
The Taliban, the Wahhabis, al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood and all the other Islamists share this same worldview to one extent or another. Not every Islamist believes in crucifying Christians or throwing acid in the face of little girls going to school. But they all reject modernity, pluralism, secularism, democracy and, in many cases, even science. “Medievalism” isn’t a perfect word, but it’s a better word than “terrorism” or “Islamism.”
President George W. Bush settled on “the war on terror” to describe our fight with Islamic terrorists. But there are problems with using “terrorism” as a euphemism for Islamic radicals. I’ll give you three. First, terrorism is a tactic. If North Korea launches a nuclear missile at the United States, we will not declare war against intercontinental ballistic missiles. We will declare war against North Korea.
Second, in a war, tactics are secondary. Let’s imagine the Islamic State kept growing and became a major military power. If it replaced typical terror tactics with tanks, ships and armies but continued to make war against the US and our allies, that wouldn’t change the fact that we’d still need to destroy our enemy.
Last, there are many terrorist groups that are not Islamic at all. The self-described “Real IRA” is certainly a terrorist outfit, and I have no problem with it being crushed, but it is not a strategic threat to the United States. This is why many conservatives prefer terms like “jihadism” or “radical Islam” — for the simple reason that it’s more accurate. Conceptual clarity is essential to national security strategy.
Still, one can understand why Bush didn’t want to declare war on Islamism or jihadism. Put simply, such labels create a propaganda problem because they make it easier for the radicals to claim we are at war with Islam itself. There are more than a billion Muslims in the world, and while far too many are sympathetic to the jihadists, there are still hundreds of millions who reject terrorism. It doesn’t help us with our Muslim allies when we sound like we’re at war with their faith.
Israel certainly can’t afford to sound like it’s at war with Islam, not when it needs to work with Muslim countries like Egypt and Jordan. Hence the term “medievalism.” While not perfect, the term is far more clarifying and accurate than “terrorism.” It also helps to illuminate why the left is so wrongheaded in its knee-jerk tendency to condemn criticism of Islamic radicalism as intolerant.
At the core of progressive ideology is the Whiggish idea that modernity is preferable to the customs of the past. As a conservative, I think progressives often go too far in applying and misapplying this thinking. But they’re right on the big picture. Modernity — by which I mean tolerance, pluralism, equality, democracy — is preferable to absolutism.
In February the UN issued a report chronicling how the Islamic State was burying alive, beheading and crucifying children. The next day, President Obama went on a tear about how we in the West shouldn’t get on our “high horse” about it because Christians did terrible things a thousand years ago.
I’d still rather live under medieval Christians than under the Islamic State, but that’s beside the point. The reason Obama’s statement was so morally obtuse is that he was comparing medieval Christians from a millennium ago to monsters who proudly videotape their crimes in the here and now. If we can’t get on our high horses about that, what use is there in having high horses at all?
Things the French Can Do That Israelis Cannot: Elder of Ziyon, Algemeiner, Nov. 16, 2015—On Friday night, French President Francois Hollande said, “To all those who have seen these awful things, I want to say we are going to lead a war which will be pitiless.”
As U.S. Escalates Air War on ISIS, Allies Slip Away: Eric Schmitt & Michael R. Gordon, New York Times, Nov. 7, 2015—As the United States prepares to intensify airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, the Arab allies who with great fanfare sent warplanes on the initial missions there a year ago have largely vanished from the campaign.
Republican Candidates Urge Aggressive Response After Paris Attacks: Patrick Healy, New York Times, Nov. 14, 2015—Visions of two Americas emerged from the 2016 presidential field on Saturday, at the Democratic debate and at Republican campaign events, as the candidates sought to project leadership after the Paris attacks and maneuver for political advantage in a rare moment when national security held voters’ attention.
ISIL’s Aims and Appeals: Robert Fulford, National Post, Nov. 20, 2015—The outrage that traumatized Paris last weekend, and sent a shiver of foreboding across the planet, has altered the place of radical Islam in our mental map of the world. The president of France, François Hollande, said his country will make “pitiless” war against ISIL — and France sent off warplanes to prove it. That’s a humanly angry response but most of us are still trying to absorb the new global reality that ISIL now forces us to live within.