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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 28, 2006 / 30 Shevat, 5766

The barbarians of Europe

By Tom Gross


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Well, it's not all bad


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Three events in the last few days suggest that Europeans are finally taking the threat of renewed anti-Semitism seriously.


First, pseudo-historian David Irving, a major source of inspiration for neo-Nazis, was jailed for three years in Austria — a land where not so long ago Kurt Waldheim was elected president and Jorg Haider's Freedom party welcomed into the governing coalition.


Then, last Thursday, the entire French political establishment, including President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and the archbishop of Paris, attended a memorial service at Paris's main synagogue for murdered Jew Ilan Halimi, while thousands paid their respects outside.


And on Friday, London mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended from office for four weeks effective March 1 after he refused to apologize or show contrition for likening a Jewish journalist to a Nazi concentration camp guard in an unprovoked outburst.


Although many commentators have rallied to Irving's and Livingstone's defense, frequently making bogus comparisons with the recent Mohammed cartoons, it seems that others in Europe are showing an increased resolve to stop the renewed spread of anti-Semitism, a sickness with which the continent has been all too familiar in past centuries.


(For the record, there is no comparison between denying the Holocaust, which is not an article of religious faith but a historical fact, and the issue of cartoons that allegedly show disrespect for religion. Those who accept the parallel are falling for a propaganda trick and playing into the hands of anti-Semites and Islamic extremists. If the cartoons had claimed that Mohammed didn't exist, the comparison might be valid, but they weren't saying anything of the sort.)


These first hints of new European steadfastness are in striking contrast to reactions (or the lack of them) only a short time ago. In Nov. 2003, for example, a young French Jewish DJ, Sébastien Selam, was approached by his Muslim neighbor, Adel Boumedienne, in their building's underground garage. Boumedienne slit Selam's throat, gouged out his eyes with a carving fork and then ran upstairs and told his mother, "I killed my Jew, I will go to paradise." In the two years before the murder, the Selam family had been repeatedly harassed by their neighbors for being Jewish.


As with the perpetrators of other attacks on French Jews in recent years, Boumedienne was clearly inspired by the most vicious anti-Semitism. Yet the case was barely commented on in the French media and there was no response of any significance from the French government.


The reaction this month to the murder of another young French Jew, Ilan Halimi, has been very different. After some initial dragging of feet and evasiveness, the authorities and the media have been altogether more resolute in recognizing the anti-Semitic aspects of the case.


On Jan. 21, Halimi, a 23-year old Paris store clerk, was seduced into going out on a date by a young woman who walked into the cellphone shop where he worked.


The woman had been sent as bait in order to lure Halimi to a spot from where he could be kidnapped. She had been sent by a gang named "The Barbarians," from Bagneux, a suburb south of Paris. The 15-strong gang, which includes Muslim radicals (one was the son of an Egyptian newspaper correspondent), overpowered Halimi and took him to an apartment in Bagneux.


Over the next three weeks they contacted Halimi's family and demanded a ransom of up to 500,000 Euros ($600,000). On Feb. 13, Halimi was found tied naked to a tree, handcuffed, gagged, hooded and starved, with severe burns and torture marks and cuts all over his body.


He died of his wounds as he was taken to hospital. The French police officer leading the investigation said the gang "kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut bits off his flesh, fingers and ears, and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight. It was one of the cruelest killings I have ever seen."


The gang phoned the family several times and made them listen to verses from the Koran while Ilan screamed as he was tortured in the background. Even when it became clear that the family, who are not rich, couldn't pay, the gang continued committing violence against Ilan for its own sake because, the police say, he was Jewish. One of the young torturers now under arrest told police his accomplices took turns to stub out cigarettes on Ilan's forehead while voicing hatred for Jews.


The police also found literature linking the suspects to extremist Muslim causes and discovered that the gang had already tried to kidnap four other Jews in recent weeks, hospitalizing at least one 50-year-old Jew who was pistol-whipped before managing to escape, and throwing a hand-grenade at a Jewish doctor in another attack.


Yet at first, the Paris public prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, told French journalists that there was nothing anti-Semitic about the murder. And certain newspapers, such as Le Figaro in Paris and The Observer in London reported the case while scrupulously avoiding any mention of the fact that the victim was a Jew. (It is hard to imagine that The Observer, or its affiliate newspaper The Guardian, would report on an almost certain racial attack on a black or Asian Muslim without mentioning that it was a racial attack, or who the perpetrators and victim were.)


Following an outcry by French Jews, both the police and the judge presiding over the case admitted that anti-Semitism had played a key role, while Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy told the French National Assembly that the gang had targeted Jews because "they were convinced that 'the Jews have money.'"


Prime Minister de Villepin also accused the police of initially failing to acknowledge the anti-Semitic aspects of the murder.


Meanwhile there has been a similar belated but welcome willingness to recognize the facts on the part of the media. After doing its best to confuse the issue and downplay the anti-Semitism of the perpetrators, The Independent in London was suddenly running a piece titled "This anti-Semitic attack is terrifying". Major U.S. papers such as The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, which had been silent about the story, have now reported it. In France itself the significance of the killing has been widely discussed and analyzed. An editorial in Le Monde called it "a crime of an era, a sort of looking glass onto the true state of our society."


Taken together, the outcry over Halimi, the sentencing of Irving and the suspension of Livingstone certainly represent a milestone in the official European response to contemporary anti-Semitism. But whether they also mark a turning-point remains to be seen.

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JWR contributor Tom Gross is a former Jerusalem correspondent for London's Sunday Telegraph.To comment, please click here.

© 2006, Tom Gross