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Jewish safety in Europe and Muslim safety are interconnected

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French police released this image of alleged Brussels killer Mehdi Nemmouche

French police released this image of alleged Brussels killer Mehdi Nemmouche

The murders at the Jewish museum in Brussels nearly two weeks ago have heightened concerns about Jewish safety in Europe, as we noted earlier this week. Here are two interesting perspectives on that issue. One involves Islamophobia as a potential factor in the murders, the other is about the Jewish experience in Italy during the Holocaust.

First, at War in Context, Paul Woodward disputes the idea (which I put forward in my piece three days ago) that the alleged Brussels killer was radicalized in Syria; he was radicalized in Europe, and Islamophobia likely played its part, Woodward says.

[B]uried in the Jerusalem Post report is a detail that should have garnered more attention: [alleged killer Mehdi] Nemmouche’s own attorney’s explanation about the radicalization of his client.

Salifa Badaoui said that Nemmouche “was not frequenting the mosque [and] was not talking about religion at all….He became radical only in jail, after falling into minor criminality during his adolescence.” Nemmouche served time in prison in 2009 and 2012.

In other words, if we are to understand the process of radicalization that may have led to the murders in Brussels, we should be giving as much if not more attention to Nemmouche’s experiences in France rather than those in Syria.

Last year, Reuters reported:

“In France, the path to radical Islam often begins with a minor offence that throws a young man into an overcrowded, violent jail and produces a hardened convert ready for jihad.

“With the country on heightened security alert since January when French troops began fighting al Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mali, authorities are increasingly worried about home-grown militants emerging from France’s own jails….”

As petty criminals become radicalized in jail, the society to which they return is inclined to reinforce their experience of alienation and solidify their ideological conclusions.
In 2012, France 24 reported:

“French Muslims have become the target of a marked increase in Islamophobic violence and actions, as well as incendiary statements by politicians, over the last two years, according to a report by a leading anti-racism observatory.

“The number of racist acts against Muslims in France is increasing ‘alarmingly’, according to the country’s National Observatory of Islamophobia, whose president has called for overt Islamophobia to be taken as seriously as anti-Semitism, which is a criminal offence in France.”

The huge success of Le Pen’s National Front in this May’s elections suggests that European leaders have less reason to highlight the threat posed by jihadists returning from Syria than they should fear the huge wave of xenophobia now sweeping the continent.

Now let me turn to a very different piece, which is directly about Jewish safety in Europe. At Communities Digital News, Allan Brownfeld writes about the protection of Italian Jews during the Holocaust, and describes the ways in which Jews found a home in Italy.

The Italian Jews were among the most assimilated in the world, benefiting from the absence of legal and social disadvantages that existed elsewhere. They were engaged in politics, served at high rates in the military and found success in every skilled profession. Cecil Roth, author of “History of the Jews of Italy,” writes that, “After 1870, there was no land in either hemisphere where conditions were or could be better. It was not only that disabilities were removed, as happened elsewhere during these momentous years, but that the Jews were accepted freely, naturally and spontaneously as members of the Italian people, on a perfect footing of equality with their neighbors.”

By 1902, out of 350 senators, there were six Jews. By 1920, there were nineteen Jewish senators. And in 1910, Luigi Luzzatti, a Venetian Jew, became prime minister.  There were fifty Jewish generals in the Italian army in World War I. Jews were active across the political spectrum. Until 1938, many Jews were prominent in Mussolini’s Fascist Party, as well as in anti-Fascist groups. As World War II proceeded, Italy’s German allies were perturbed because Italians not only protected Jews on their territory, but when they occupied parts of France, Greece, the Balkans and elsewhere, they protected the local Jewish population….

Even when Mussolini embarked upon his campaign against Italian Jews, the “final solution” embraced by Hitler was not on his agenda. Historian Meir Michaelis wrote in “Mussolini and the Jews,” that although Mussolini “was too much of an Italian to approve of ‘the final solution’…he and his henchmen helped to create the conditions in which the Holocaust became possible.” His record can be contrasted favorably with that of Hitler or Marshal Petain in France, but that is a low standard indeed.

An important book, “It Happened In Italy” [by Elizabeth Bettina] tells the story of how many Italians, from all walks of life, helped save Jews…

In the early 1930s, Hitler was prepared to let Jews emigrate, but other countries were unwilling to receive them. Only Italy, with Mussolini in power, permitted German and Austrian Jews to enter the country without visas. They lived peacefully until, as a result of Italy’s alliance with Germany, foreign Jews were to be interned.

Brownfeld ends hopefully.

The role of Pope Pius II and the Vatican  during World War II  will continue to be a subject of debate. What cannot be debated, however, are the stories told by Elizabeth Bettina in her book. While some Italians acted badly, participating in the Nazi assault upon Jews, others acted well, and bravely. It is from these that all of us can learn lessons for the future.

I asked Brownfeld just what the political/philosophical lesson is. He wrote to me.

I would say that cultures that do not draw lines between its citizens based on race or religion are the most hopeful. My son is now in Italy at our military base (he is political adviser to the U.S. Army in Italy) in Vicenza. I am a regular visitor and was there in February. I went to several of my grandchildren’s basketball games on the base. The coaches and players were black, white, Hispanic and Asian—a picture of America.
Seeking homogeneity and uniformity in any society often leads to a variety of horrors. We may have many shortcomings in our society, but our vision is the right one.

The same lesson is evident in Woodward’s argument as well.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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56 Responses

  1. marc b. on June 6, 2014, 11:30 am

    it’s always a pleasure to see a more subtle and accurate picture of gentile-jewish relations, a departure from the comic book version told by racists on both sides of that dichotomy. I am still not convinced of the portrayal of the killings as being racially motivated, though. evidence continues to trickle out that two of the victims (the couple) had deep intelligence connections to the GOI, which calls into question the randomness of such methodical murders. an examination of the causes and effects of racism in Europe (and qui bono) is timely, I’m just not sure that racism is at the root of these killings.

  2. Walid on June 6, 2014, 11:43 am

    “The role of Pope Pius XII and the Vatican during World War II will continue to be a subject of debate.”

    The only one debating the question is Abe Foxman, but debate and shit-disturbing is part of his job description. Pius reportedly saved a couple of hundred thousand Jews, but this was not good enough for Foxman simply because Pius did not come out and openly declare his help for the Jews. Pius did his saving quietly in the shadows without fanfare, otherwise he would have been stopped in his tracks after saving the first dozen.

    • wondering jew on June 6, 2014, 12:00 pm

      Saul Friedlander wrote 238 pages on the subject, but Walid can sum it all up in one sentence. Who needs to read historians when one can read comments on MW?

      • Walid on June 6, 2014, 12:07 pm

        Did Friedlander need 238 pages to pin the tail on the donkey?

      • jon s on June 6, 2014, 2:09 pm

        Walid, I see that once again you’ve chosen to be an apologist for Pope Pius XII, who rightly earned the title of “Hitler’s Pope”. Prof. Friedlander’s indictment is quite convincing.

      • Walid on June 6, 2014, 3:39 pm

        From the horse’s mouth, over at the Jewish Virtual Library:

        … What of Rome itself? In 1943 the German ambassador to the Holy See, Von Weizsaecker, sent a telegram to Berlin. The telegram has been cited as damning ‘evidence’ against Pius XII.

        “Although under pressure from all sides, the Pope has not let himself be drawn into any demonstrative censure of the deportation of Jews from Rome … As there is probably no reason to expect other German actions against the Jews of Rome we can consider that a question so disturbing to German-Vatican relations has been liquidated.”

        Von Weizsaecker’s telegram was in fact a warning not to proceed with the proposed deportation of the Roman Jews: ‘there is probably no reason to expect other German actions against the Jews of Rome’. Von Weizsaecker’s action was backed by a warning to Hitler from Pius XII: if the pursuit and arrest of Roman Jews was not halted, the Holy Father would have to make a public protest. together the joint action of Von Weizsaecker and Pius XII ended the Nazi manhunt against the Jews of Rome. 7,000 lives were saved.

        In Hungary, an estimated 80,000 baptismal certificates were issued by Church authorities to Jews. In other areas of Eastern Europe the Vatican escape network (organised via Bulgaria by the Nuncio Roncalli – later John XXIII) has impressed those writers who have studied the subject, with the effectiveness of the Church’s rescue operation. David Herstig concludes his book on the subject thus:

        “Those rescued by Pius are today living all over the world. There went to Israel alone from Romania 360,000 to the year 1965.”

        The vindication of Pius XII has been established principally by Jewish writers and from Israeli archives. It is now established that the Pope supervised a rescue network which saved 860,000 Jewish lives – more than all the international agencies put together.

        After the war the Chief Rabbi of Israel thanked Pius XII for what he had done. The Chief Rabbi of Rome went one step further. He became a Catholic. He took the name Eugenio.

        Note that the quotes in this article are take from Fr Michael O’Carroll’s book, Dublin, 1980.

      • Walid on June 6, 2014, 3:46 pm

        Here’s more of the same from the Guardian last year:

      • bilal a on June 6, 2014, 7:14 pm

        Free lander ? lol.

      • pjdude on June 7, 2014, 1:17 pm

        what is it with zionists demanding other countries risk their very existence for jewish people. I’m sorry but jews are so special that you get to demand others die for you.

      • marc b. on June 6, 2014, 1:01 pm

        and many more pages have been written by others. but since you’ve dismissed walid’s summary even more briefly, why don’t you tell us which part of his potted history is inaccurate?

      • MHughes976 on June 6, 2014, 4:02 pm

        I look on Pius as a tragic figure, not as a Nazi or anti-Semite, whose utterly committed anti-Communism led him to make some questionable choices. I will be somewhat distressed if he is called a saint. I find it quite hard to accept the idea that he would have made matters worse if he had been less ‘silent’ in the second half of the war when German forces, caught between Soviet numbers and American technology, were hanging on grimly with the support of every opponent of Stalinism that they could find. They could not have begun to sustain the damage of a dramatic breach with the Catholic Church.
        The Danish rescue of Jews is often mentioned, but the Swedish reception of them is also important – it marked an adroit, though perhaps not very creditable, change of sides by the Swedes, hitherto pro-Axis. They could see which way the wind was blowing.
        At that time, many French Jews were hanging on: the force protecting them was the reluctance of many French people, of course including many Catholics, to become involved in something horrible – no doubt for many reasons, no doubt including Christian conscience. This was the kind of force that could have been strengthened whilst ‘our’ victory came nearer. The French Church had not been totally ‘silent’ but, as it has admitted since, it was still somewhat compromised. Roncalli, who had made a reputation as a rescuer while stationed in Turkey (whence he had sent advice to Rome that was rejected) and had forged links with Zionists – fateful links, since he was to be Pope himself – was sent to sort France out. It is quite difficult to my mind to think that the French bishops did not do enough, whereas their Roman superiors did.
        Let me admit that the Church of England, my gang, put only slight pressure (through Archbishop Temple) on the British Government, which was of course ‘silent’ for other reasons. A degree of understated English-style shame for this has led, through the Council of Christians and Jews of which Temple was as I recall a founder, to our quite deep involvement with Zionism. This too is all very polite and understated, but very much there.
        Just to add that ‘they didn’t know’ is not much of an excuse for anyone. The Hilberg-style canonical account of the extent of suffering was of course not yet available but the deportations were as plainly visible as a whole row of pikestaffs.

      • Walid on June 6, 2014, 4:38 pm

        “I will be somewhat distressed if he is called a saint.”

        MHughes, this is still a long ways off and 2 miracles away from this happening. The first position on the ladder to sainthood is to be declared “Servant of God” and a file gets opened on him to be documented on his way to sainthood. The next step is to be elevated to “Venerable Servant of God” while awaiting the occurrence of the first miracle to be elevated to the rank of “Blessed”. A second miracle is then needed to reach the top and be canonized as a saint.

        In the case of Pius XII, on December 19, 2009, the second phase of the process involved numerous delays and political interventions reached its conclusion with his elevation to the rank of Venerable Servant of God. Pope Benedict XVI, who had wanted to advance the beatification, ordered a re-examination of the entire archived material under Jewish pressure, signed a decree in the fifth year of his pontificate, which recognized Pope Pius XII’s heroic virtues. That’s when the Zionists came out of the woodwork and began their intensive campaign to discredit Pius XII and the Vatican itself. The process pending the required first miracle has been sort of put on hold because of Jewish pressure as it must help keep the holocaust flame alive. Benedict XVI is somewhat weak in the face of Jewish attacks on the Vatican. A couple of years back, Foxman succeeded in getting the Vatican to retract or restate its conclusions that the Jews were not the chosen people and that the holy land had not been promised exclusively to the Jews. So for as long as the Vatican remains spooked by the ADL and other Zionist organizations, the cause of Pius XII will not advance.

      • LeaNder on June 8, 2014, 8:53 am

        The Danish rescue of Jews is often mentioned, but the Swedish reception of them is also important – it marked an adroit, though perhaps not very creditable, change of sides by the Swedes, hitherto pro-Axis. They could see which way the wind was blowing.

        For whatever reason an early Nazi supporter and party member–but apparently someone who never left the party in spite of serious concerns after the assassination of Röhm and his circles (engl. The Night of the long Knivers, German Röhm Putsch 1934)– is never mentioned in this context.

        en.Wikipedia Georg Ferdinant Duckwitz. Without his information, the fact that he was in Denmark at the time and his efforts , it is very doubtful it would have happened.

      • jon s on June 6, 2014, 5:07 pm

        The Jewish Virtual Library provides two opposing assessments of Pius XII . You quote the favorable one, which is from a Catholic source. The less favorable one is here:

        Prof. Saul Friedlander provides a scathing indictment of Pius XII in the second volume of Nazi Germany and the Jews, titled “The Years of Extermination” (2007), especially p.559-577.

      • LeaNder on June 8, 2014, 8:42 am

        Walid, from your Guardian link:

        However, his image turned sour in the 1960s, thanks to Soviet antagonism towards the Vatican and a German play by Rolf Hochhuth, The Deputy, which vilified the pope, accusing him of silence and inaction over the Jews. It was a trend that intensified with the publication of Hitler’s Pope, a book by John Cornwell.

        By now Rolf Hochhut surfaced as a defender of David Irving among other things.

      • Woody Tanaka on June 6, 2014, 3:27 pm

        Walid’s one sentence is worth more than Friedlander’s 239 pages, even if you toss John Cornwell’s nonsense on top of it.

  3. Feathers on June 6, 2014, 11:46 am

    “There were fifty Jewish generals in the Italian army in World War I. “

    Are you sure you want to go there?

    When a friend of mine wanted to disparage my Italian lineage, he would offer to sell me a rifle from the Italian army: “Never fired, dropped only once.”

    Italians are lovers, not fighters. As far back as the time of Diocletian, Italians hired Germans to do their fighting —

    Hessian soldiers were recruited and paid by Rothschilds among others to fight in the US war against England. Of course, many, many Hessians stayed in the US, including my spouse’s ancestors.

    Thought experiment: what would the US look like today if Italians had been hired to fight the British?

    • Talkback on June 7, 2014, 4:10 am

      Italians are lovers, not fighters. As far back as the time of Diocletian, Italians hired Germans to do their fighting — link to

      Yes, that was right after they made love to Germany.

  4. Walid on June 6, 2014, 11:52 am

    Paul Woodward should have started his analyzing from the premise that Nemmouche has a dual nationality, one of them being Algerian, the other French. It wasn’t Syria and it wasn’t prison that radicalized him, he started out being radicalized and this is what first landed him in jail and later in Syria.

  5. Krauss on June 6, 2014, 12:42 pm

    I’m on a study abroad year right now in Europe and I have close family here, too.

    In brief: you are dead wrong, Phil.

    The FN rose in large part as a counter-reaction to muslim immigration. It’s important to understand how much crime has risen as a result. It isn’t just irrational xenophobia. Go into any European prison and you’ll see immigrants from the Middle East wildly disproportinate. Is part of this due to poverty? Sure. But it isn’t that easy. Europe is far more generous with benefits than America is to its immigrants.

    You can’t pull a “but they are underfunded” argument. In some places, like Sweden, most new immigrants get slightly more than the median salary(!) on nothing else but benefits.

    The Jewish community is torn on this issue. On the one hand, you have the history on the continent, informing us that we should be watchful for the nationalists and neo-nationalists. This is also how you had a thuggish fascist like Lieberman suddenly speak like a pious liberal when discussing the crimes: when you are the racial/religious minority, it is in your racial self-interest to be a liberal. But that doesn’t make you a liberal(which explains the PEP syndrome).

    On the other, the vast majority of anti-Semitic hatecrimes have come from muslim immigrants. So you have a mental perception that is clashing with everyday realities.

    If someone like you is writing from across the ocean, you don’t have the everyday realities to check your prejudices, and instead you get a misinformed piece like the one you just wrote.

    I rarely if ever disagree with you on anything, but this is one of those moments. You ought to do better.

    • bilal a on June 6, 2014, 7:19 pm

      Interesting how ideology provides a filter , colored glass. How much else do we get wrong from our preconceptions?

      But you are also incorrect, the current movement is towards egailite and reconciliation between the immigrants and nationalists against the transnational elites.

    • Walid on June 8, 2014, 2:12 am

      “Go into any European prison and you’ll see immigrants from the Middle East wildly disproportionate… On the other, the vast majority of anti-Semitic hate crimes have come from muslim immigrants. So you have a mental perception that is clashing with everyday realities.. If someone like you is writing from across the ocean, you don’t have the everyday realities to check your prejudices, and instead you get a misinformed piece like the one you just wrote.” (Kraus to Phil)

      You’re guiltier than Phil of what you are accusing him of. The story of Mennouche has nothing to do with his being part Arab and nothing to do with Jews and the issue of antisemitism that is getting boring. 40% of America’s prison population is of African roots; does that allow you to make an equally harsh judgement of these people? America’s overall prison population as a percentage of America’s population is what is wildly disproportionate. If the number of North-African immigrants in Europe is on the high or wild side, you have Europe’s mad rush to increase its population base to thank for that.

      Getting back to Mennouche, he was born of an unknown father and abandoned by his mentally ill mother at age 3 months and placed in successive foster homes until the age of 9 when he was introduced to his mother’s family. He was happy to learn of his Algerian roots going so far as asking to be circumcised.

      At 13 still in foster homes, he began a life of crime being caught and imprisoned for it 22 times by the time he became 22. At 16 he served his first jail sentence and a couple of years later was again jailed for a crime committed 4 years earlier.
      At 17 he has placed in the custody of his grandmother that he called “Mama” as his own mother was herself placed in foster homes for her mental illness and for having given birth to other children from other men and abandoning them. Mennouche’s 5 years in jail were spent being transferred from one jail to another. His incessant calls to participate in collective prayers and his hitting of a prison guard landed him in solitary confinement for 18 months. In March 2012, he asked for a TV in his cell to follow the trial of the Toulouse shooter, Merah and when this ended, he asked to have the tv removed. 9 months later at his release from jail, he had only going to fight in Syria on his mind.

      Nothing much about Jews or Muslims in this story.

    • LeaNder on June 8, 2014, 9:20 am

      Krauss, I am wondering for quite some time now about the frequent use of racial and race by Jewish American. Is that based on Bell Curve wisdom?

      Give me one reason why you need the word.

      when you are the racial/religious minority, it is in your racial self-interest

      Why not: it’s in the self-interest of minorities to be liberal.

    • LeaNder on June 8, 2014, 10:15 am

      On the other, the vast majority of anti-Semitic hatecrimes have come from muslim immigrants. So you have a mental perception that is clashing with everyday realities.

      Krauss, the German Center for the Study of Antisemitism in Berlin dared to devote one of its yearbooks to the idea of Antisemitism and “anti-Muslim racism” a couple of years ago. I can understand their intentions. I was starting to worry too, what would happen to Muslims here under the conditions of heated propaganda during the WOT. Remember Breivik? That is the most prominent result.

      The center supported extensive research on young Muslim on German ground. Obviously the idea was to develop programs based on this research. Some exist now. And yes, they looked into antisemitic stereotypes of these kids.

      For the Jerusalem Post following our anti-Germans (pro-Israel hawks) in unison with our own German Jewish neoconservative co-citizen the very idea of wondering what could be the result of Islamophobia on German ground was an affront. They argued that obviously Arabs had to be targeted and not understood. They were the most antisemitic group on earth. Matthias Künzel: (German article) The center of the study of antisemitism fights Islamophobia. Which is completely misleading. Künzel wrote a book about the Mufti of Jerusalems Nazi ties. I once prevented him from adding a link in one of his articles for the The Weekly Standard A link to a US propaganda piece claiming Helmut Kohl had uttered antisemitic stereotypes in a meeting with Iranians. I never liked Kohl, but the piece was so obviously propaganda. I couldn’t believe Künzel took it at face value.

      Its a complex issue. But the questions on my minds too were: Could public agitation against Muslim collectively draw some of our young people with Muslim background into the camp of Islamic fundamentalist ideologues. Or otherwise plan actions against Jewish institutions? So yes, you can see me firmly on the side of the Center, since obviously one should study the specific of Arab Antisemitism these kids bring along over here and the danger it could cause to German Jews. No?

      Is it wrong to study hate speech against anyone but the Jewish communities in Europe?

      Since you are still a student. To what extend did you experience the anti-Muslim propaganda as a result of and supporting US actions post 911?

      Have you read: Fear Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America

      Where are you? In France?

  6. Palikari on June 6, 2014, 12:51 pm

    Islamism is a threat to European Jews, who feel they are no loger safe due to the massive immigration from Muslim countries. Some are so desesperate that even vote for Marine Le Pen in France. Jewish safety and “Muslim safety” in Europe are NOT interconnected.

    • Woody Tanaka on June 6, 2014, 3:44 pm

      If European Jews feel no longer safe in Europe, they shouldn’t vote for Le Pen, they should be imploring Israel to stop being so evil and barbaric, so as to limit the predictable, if misguided, blowback from the Israeli’s policies.

      • Palikari on June 6, 2014, 6:59 pm

        Are you justyfing anti-Semitism and blaming Israel for it? Muslim anti-Semitism already existed many centuries ago; it didn’t start to exist in 1948.

      • hophmi on June 7, 2014, 6:34 pm

        They? Who is they? What percentage of French Jews voted for Le Pen?

    • bilal a on June 6, 2014, 7:22 pm

      we could use European jewish investment and skills in the usa. more bloombergs, and others to help bring light unto the world.

    • Talkback on June 7, 2014, 4:13 am

      Islamism is a threat to European Jews, who feel they are no loger safe due to the massive immigration from Muslim countries. Some are so desesperate that even vote for Marine Le Pen in France.

      Like Zionism was and is a threat to Muslims, who feel they are not longer safe due to massive immigration by Jews and some are so desperate they even vote for Hamas or leave the country to immigrate to Europe?

    • talknic on June 7, 2014, 4:37 am

      Palikari “Some are so desesperate that even vote for Marine Le Pen in France. “

      This “some”… A majority or a minority?

      Say …. why don’t they move to Israel?

      “Jewish safety and “Muslim safety” in Europe are NOT interconnected”

      Similar to Israeli Government policies?

    • RoHa on June 7, 2014, 5:03 am

      “Islamism is a threat to European Jews,”

      Why a threat to European Jews in particular? Why not a threat to European Christians, Baha’is, Wiccans, Atheists, etc.? Could it be that Jews have done something to piss off the Islamists, and the others haven’t?

    • Cliff on June 7, 2014, 5:06 am


      Judeo-fascists are a threat to all non-Jews.

      Your cult hates democracy.

    • eljay on June 7, 2014, 7:33 am

      >> Jewish safety and “Muslim safety” in Europe are NOT interconnected.

      The safety of both Jews and Muslims in Europe requires the existence and enforcement of justice and accountability. And neither requires a supremacist state.

    • LeaNder on June 7, 2014, 11:13 am

      Palikari, Arabophobia is so deeply ingrained in Zionism, that strictly it is no surprise that it surfaced heavily in the last decade for all to see. Many of us simply weren’t aware of it before.

      While I doubt that the French Jews are so stupid to vote for Pen, although she apparently dropped anti-Semitism, it was pretty easy to see that support for Israel and/or the neoconservative emprie mind seems to be highly compatible with the ideology of the xenophobic right over here as far as Muslim are concerned. Do you realize this, as she in fact in fact may have?

      Some people surfaced here in the German debates too, I would have never expected ever to see in a xenophobic context. And, yes they occasionally were invited by the respective nationalist parties to party events of the neo-right.

      You only need to take a look into Anders Brevik’s collection of the writings of Jewish/neoconservative anti-Muslim agitators.

      Jewish safety and “Muslim safety” in Europe are NOT interconnected.

      Since one of the most striking homicide series here in Germany targeted Muslim for about a decade, it obviously is. And not only in Germany. The EU’s duty is to watch all types of xenophobia.

      Zionism always had a paradox at is core. On one side it demanded that diaspora Jews should be able to remain where they are and should be guaranteed equal rights. on the other it claimed “the Jews” actually were a nation within every other nation/a state within the state. Which is exactly what the right said at the time.

      It also still is how xenophobes define the not belonging other. Muslim are not rooted/indigenous here, thus they do not belong. That’s in a nutshell was the argument about “the Jews” too.

    • Talkback on June 7, 2014, 1:57 pm

      Islamism is a threat to European Jews, who feel they are no loger safe due to the massive immigration from Muslim countries.

      Antisemites said the same about Jews mass immigrating from eastern countries more than 100 years ago. You obviously learned your racist lesson.

      • hophmi on June 7, 2014, 8:21 pm

        Oh please. The two problems are not remotely the same. There is a long, documented record of European Islamist leaders making anti-Jewish statements. My analysis is that the persistence of Islamism in Europe is in part due to the utter failure of European countries to assimilate these immigrants and the penchant of Europeans for discriminating against them. But the notion that the problem of Islamist immigrants to Europe from radicalized backgrounds is the same as the problem of European Jews, who were long the target of bigotry in the places they had lived in for hundreds of years is lazy nonsense.

  7. jon s on June 6, 2014, 2:15 pm

    If Nemmouche really is the perpetrator -and he hasn’t been convicted yet- what difference does it make where he was radicalized?

  8. LuLu on June 6, 2014, 3:55 pm

    Terribly troubled by this evil satanic act… Now since Mehdi claims he is “Muslim” for arguments sake lets play Islamic Law, by the way it is not Sharia as everyone thinks, Sharia is “deen’ between the person and God. . Since he killed these innocent victims, and I think I read he already confessed and they identified absolutely him in the video cam.. He gets the death penalty…. No trial needed either because there is 100% proof of it.. No waiting time in jail either, his life is not more of a value than who he killed. God makes it clear, no ones life is more important than another of his creations. People might say he was radicalized… God does not care…Justice is justice…
    1. He has intellect to plan the race of the victims.
    2. He thought about the location obviously, I would not doubt he cased it before picking up his weapon.
    3. He choose a specific weapon, which is the rifle we saw.
    Sounds like a sane person to me…
    If Brussels does not have death penalty, too bad, the best weapon countries can use against these extremist if they are or claim they are Muslim, OK, give them Islamic Law…. There is actually a solution for every thing one needs… The problem is there are only a few Muslims who actually understand what their scripture says, the Quran, not hadith… Hadith is the most vile raciest, perverted fabricated book written, and it is not part of Islam. Sooo many people, humanity in general that is as well are following their faiths blindly by following their leaders interpretations. The way the Quran says it taking an others life is the ONLY permission given in self defense, where one has no choice. But it is prescribed as a law as it says in the Torah as well, The Quran says eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth and it is not in a metaphorical way in the Quran either… Murder vs manslaughter are two different things.. This is clearly as we call FIRST DEGREE MURDER.. which is the death penalty and he deserves it…

    I apologize I ranted.. I am so angry at this evil satanic heartless vile subhuman for taking those innocent peoples lives…

    • Walid on June 7, 2014, 6:19 am

      Hi Lulu, we still don’t have the full story on the Brussels shooter; the guy appeared to have been on a specific mission to specifically kill the 2 Jews that were possibly recruiters of jihadists to fight in Syria. There are many Jews and Jewish museums all over France and the guy didn’t have to go to Brussels to find them. The Jews killed may or may not have been as innocent as you think. Signals are indicating that these 2 were spies. Anyway you are calling for the immediate execution of the alleged shooter without trial and conviction; that’s the takfiri way of talking care of business.

      As to Sharia Law that you say is the right path, the hadith, or rather the ahadith that you say are for the birds, form the basis of Sharia Law that you appear to admire. It’s not just one compilation of a single book about the life and sayings of the Prophet but a collection of over 40 different books on the subject that have been compiled by over 40 supposed sages not any earlier than 2 centuries after the death of the Prophet, at times in contradiction of each other and at other times of the Quran itself. An eye for eye an a tooth for a tooth, which is the Jewish and its copycatting Muslim way is barbaric and ancient history.

      • wondering jew on June 7, 2014, 6:37 pm

        Walid- “the guy appeared to have been on a specific mission to specifically kill the 2 Jews that were possibly recruiters of jihadists to fight in Syria.”
        Is this your own theory or did you read this somewhere. If you read it somewhere please link. It sounds utterly preposterous. Utterly.

      • Walid on June 7, 2014, 11:35 pm

        No I don’t have a crystal ball, yonah, but Israel’s track record of devious deeds is there for all to see except for the blind and those that don’t want to see like you and numerous enough to allow me to generalize about Israel. Listing them for you would be a waste of time.

      • hophmi on June 7, 2014, 6:37 pm

        Excuse me. The Jewish interpretation of an eye for an eye is not literal. It has been interpreted for the vast majority of Jewish history as the basis of a civil legal system, whereby perpetrators must pay monetarily for the injuries that they cause to other people. Please don’t smear my religion by claiming that we favor putting out people’s eyes or knocking out their teeth.

    • aiman on June 7, 2014, 11:05 am

      Lulu, I couldn’t agree more. There should be harsher laws for takfiri thugs like these. No amount of oppression or disadvantage justifies this kind of behaviour. Any killer actually justifies the oppression (he faced) if that’s what fuels him by oppressing, in this case taking life, another person. Like all human beings, this man was totally rational and responsible for his actions. There are other human beings who are oppressed but instead return with love. Not these guys; these are the same takfiris sowing mayhem in Syria. This man may consider himself a “rebel” but like all takfiris he is bought and paid for by his proxy masters like Saudi Arabia and the only product he is selling is his lack of self understanding and consequently of the world at large and how to behave in it.

    • gamal on June 7, 2014, 1:25 pm

      “The Quran says eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” no it doesnt, ever anywhere suggest that, in my limited understanding, perhaps you could say more.

      “Hadith is the most vile raciest, perverted fabricated book written, and it is not part of Islam.” ah a Pervaisi, they do pop up now and again, in the UK mainly in the Metropolitan London area, Ghulam Pervaisi, amongst quite a few other over the centuries, does make strong arguments in favour of a total rejection of Ahadith etc, as sources for legal or doctrinal opinion, I am in my mid-fifties and never recall anyone in my Islamic environment ever bringing up Ahadith, except in the very specialized professional area of fiqh, where they are used. Seriously no Muslim has ever mentioned a Hadith to me ever, in any context, when talking to a cousin in Cairo I said something, he looked at me suspiciously and grunted “Its a hadith” I said, this graduate of Al Azhar gave me the “please dont start with that shit” look and used his expressive little body to ape someone having a bucket of ennui emptied over them, suitably chastened I shut up.

      “it is not in a metaphorical way in the Quran either” oh come now you are not the pope of Islam, since the Quran, by popular acclaim, is said to contain infinite meanings I guess its both entirely metaphorical and also entirely meaningless, ultimately.

      “I am so angry at this evil satanic heartless vile subhuman for taking those innocent peoples lives…” now when making the claim that the Quran and by implication Islam are brutally vengeful, do you not think you would seem more reasonable if you did not succumb to anger and condemnation yourself, didnt Ali say of his captured assassin, as he himself lay bleeding to death “Loosen the ropes on that man, cant you see they are hurting him, treat him kindly” perhaps he had found a metaphor in all that lex talionis stuff you say is in the Quran.

  9. ritzl on June 6, 2014, 11:34 pm

    In the US, Pam Geller’s efforts and Jewish safety are interconnected, diametrically.

    Tough to divorce the blowback mechanism using an ocean.

  10. DICKERSON3870 on June 7, 2014, 10:47 am

    RE: “In other words, if we are to understand the process of radicalization that may have led to the murders in Brussels, we should be giving as much if not more attention to Nemmouche’s experiences in France rather than those in Syria.” ~ Woodward

    La Haine, (“Hate”) 1995 NR 97 minutes
    French director Mathieu Kassovitz traces a fateful day in the lives of alienated ghetto youths Vinz (Vincent Cassel), Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui) and Hubert (Hubert Koundé) — a Jew, an Arab and an African, respectively — who are grappling with the aftermath of unexpected tragedy. When their friend Abdel lies comatose after a police beating, Vinz vows to dispense rough justice, sealing the destiny of all three.
    Netflix listing (DVD only) –
    Internet Movie Database (IMDb) –
    Trailer – La Haine (1995) [VIDEO, 01:32] –
    La Haine Trailer [VIDEO, 06:11] –

    • gamal on June 7, 2014, 1:44 pm

      If you havent seen it Un Prophet is an interesting take on aspects of the current situation for those elements of the French Muslim community who have become kind of Lumpen and hyper-alienated, a condition La Haine also examines.

  11. Baldur on June 7, 2014, 1:58 pm

    As a person living in Europe I can tell you that the safety of both Muslims and Jews are indeed deeply interconnected.

    There are far-right parties who despise Muslims – out of their fear for Muslims, these have attracted some Jewish support. There are also more “traditional” far-right parties who despise Jews which have garnered some sympathy from radical Islamists. Both Muslims and Jews who vote for these parties are completely blind to the fact that xenophobia in its purest form would have them both cleansed from European lands. By giving in to their own fear and distrust and supporting these parties, they are fanning the flames under ovens which are just as likely to contain Jews as Muslims, or indeed both, if the fires are fully lit.

    It is only by recognizing this grave threat for what it is that we can stop it together, by building trust and mutual understanding, by removing the fear of the “other” from the equation. The forces of hate are always moving, always repackaging themselves in new and more “appealing” wrapping. We must then always work to build more understanding between all peoples to counteract these moves.

  12. wondering jew on June 7, 2014, 8:39 pm

    Phil Weiss’s sensitivity to the repression that the Palestinians are suffering and have suffered is genuine. His knowledge of Hebrew and Arabic is minimal. His knowledge of the Arab Spring is minimal. His knowledge of Jews in Europe and Muslims in Europe is minimal.

    • Walid on June 7, 2014, 11:11 pm

      “His knowledge of the Arab Spring is minimal. ”

      Not as minimal as you pretend, yonah, He’s been to the area a few times and he’s had a first-hand experience with the deception erroneously referred to as the
      “Arab Spring”; he was there on the ground when the bubble burst in Cairo, a sort of epiphany for him and has hardly used that counterfeit term since then. His little knowledge of Hebrew is of no consequence, it’s a dead language that won’t get anyone to heaven any easier or faster. His biggest shortcoming in your eyes is that he remains steadfastly an American above all else.

      • wondering jew on June 8, 2014, 5:36 am

        Walid- Your preposterous statements make me think that your defense of Pius XII is based upon minimal knowledge as well. There are more than a handful of people who utter inanities in this comments section. Until now I didn’t realize that you were one of those. Have a good day.

  13. just on June 8, 2014, 7:32 am

    I see that Phil has struck a nerve… and for that, he is accused of being “misinformed” and having “minimal knowledge”.

    I think his article is interesting & well- informed. I find it interesting that some don’t, and choose to respond to it by alleging the above. It says more about you than it does about the article or him. Are you folks ‘experts’ on the subject? (I think not) Is it somehow offensive to you that Phil dares to link the past experience of Jews and the present experience of Muslims in Europe?

    Is Islamophobia on the rise in Europe and the West? Is Jewishphobia on the rise in Europe and the West? Is one more important than the other? Is one of them nearly gone?

    And, as it is with any good journalist, he got a reaction. This is Mondoweiss, “the war of ideas”.

  14. just on June 8, 2014, 8:22 am

    Very ‘interesting’:

    “Within the next few weeks, the cabinet will be asked to approve a special plan aimed at enticing European Jews, especially those living in Ukraine, to immigrate to Israel.

    The plan, prepared by the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, would allocate a total of 100 million shekels ($29 million) over the next two years to financial incentives and outreach efforts targeting Jews who are feeling less secure and considering relocation because of rising anti-Semitism and the economic downturn in Europe. The goal is to persuade them to make Israel their destination of choice rather than other countries.

    The money required to execute the plan would come from funds already raised by the Jewish National Fund.


    An additional 30 million shekels would be allocated to the ministry for financial incentives aimed at facilitating a smooth relocation for the immigrants after their arrival. According to the proposal, these would include a grant of 15,000 shekels to 18,000 shekels per family, beyond the support levels currently provided to immigrants. Part of the funding would go toward new or upgraded Hebrew-language immersion centers for the new immigrants and subsidized childcare.

    According to the latest ministry figures, immigration from Ukraine more than doubled in the first five months of the year, to 1,541, from 697 in the same period of 2013.

    “Israel, which is a nation of immigrants, must be prepared to absorb immigrants from around the world, especially at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in many places,” said Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver. “By launching this project at this time, we are signaling to the world the place that Israel holds for world Jewry.” ”

    • just on June 8, 2014, 8:47 am

      And so, this is Israel’s official reaction to the shooting in Brussels and the formation and support for the Palestinians’ new unity government.

      Pretend that ‘antisemitism’ is on the rise, bribe and entice more Jewish people to come to Israel to live in more illegal settlements……do nothing about reconciling any of the region’s problems (or achieving justice and peace), only work toward exacerbating and inventing problems.

      “You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.” Never be part of the solution seems to be the Israeli mantra.

  15. MHughes976 on June 8, 2014, 10:10 am

    The whole idea of a civil society is that everyone’s safety is connected to everyone else’s. Any idea of turning a major sub-group into suspects, more like enemies than citizens subject to the same sovereign power, is dangerous to everyone’s, but everyone’s, safety. The exposure of criminal individuals or even of serious criminal conspiracies within one of these groups should always be accompanied by an indication that the whole group is not being treated as criminal. This is all the more important in the early stages of what might turn into mass alienation or even, in the worst of nightmares, civil war. It is in those stages that we find ourselves in the UK, I think, with a massive increase in the Muslim prison population and the with the known ability of prisons to make minor criminals into major ones. We should note a number of things – that ‘Muslim’ is an ill-defined category (some people seem to discover that they are Muslims at the prison gate); the our judges seem much readier to send people convicted of an offence to prison if they are not white (Department of Justice figures); that the ‘Bayesian’ probability that someone will be convicted of a crime if he is Muslim is higher than if he is ‘just anyone’, but that both the initial and the final probabilities are quite low. There must be another of those low probability sums showing that if X is Muslim and a criminal, while Y is Jewish and Z is not, Y is more likely than Z to be X’s victim. That is because the idea that Jewish people have a special and culpable responsibility for injustice to Muslims is spreading among people whose general rage against a hard world prevents their seeing its falsehood. All the more reason to spread rational conceptions of right and wrong.
    I would like to join Walid (who makes a substantial point about the Arab Spring) in congratulating Phil on thoroughly conscientious and well-informed journalism.

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