About Caroline Valentine
FIGAROVOX / DECRYPTION – Kobili Traoré, the man who beat and defenestrated Sarah Halimi on April 4 in Paris, has been indicted for intentional homicide. At this stage, the anti-Semitic character of the murder is not retained. For Caroline Valentin, this case is symptomatic of French denial of Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism.
Caroline Valentin is co-author of A France submitted, The voices of refusal (ed. Albin Michel, 2017).
On the night of April 4, 2017, in Paris, Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Jewish woman, was brutally murdered. Her murderer, Kobili Traoré, a radicalized Muslim of Malian origin with a criminal record as long as his arm, hounds her for 40 long minutes, first in Sarah Halimi's living room, then on her balcony. He screams “Allahu Akbar”, insults his victim, treats her as a “fat bitch”, as a “sheitan” (demon in Arabic). Several neighbors hear and then watch, from their windows or from the courtyard, terrified, at the massacre. DIn the excellent article that Noémie Halioua devoted to this affair in the last issue of Causeur, she reports the testimony of one of them: “the first thing that woke me up was the moans of a living being in pain. It was torture. At first I think it's an animal or a baby. But afterwards, by opening the curtain and opening the window, I understand that it is a woman who is moaning under the blows she receives. With each blow, I hear a groan, she doesn't even have the strength to cry out anymore”. Kobili Traoré hits so hard that his right fist is swollen. Then, noticing the light of the police flashlights in the yard, he yelled “watch out, there is an old lady who is going to commit suicide”, grabbed his victim – still alive – by the wrists and tipped her over the balcony railing. Sarah Halimi lies in the yard, dead, bleeding.
Sarah Halimi knew Kobili Traoré, he was her neighbour, he constantly threatened her, she was afraid of him. Five years earlier, the latter's sister had shoved one of Sarah Halimi's daughters by calling her a “dirty Jew”. A few days after the death of Sarah Halimi, the approximately five hundred people taking part in the white march organized in Belleville in her memory will march under the – “now traditional” notes Noémie Halouia – “deaths to the Jews” and “we have the kalash” coming from neighboring cities.
“Now traditional” … Yes, because there are now many precedents. The "deaths to the Jews" had already punctuated the parades of the "pro-Palestinian" demonstrations organized, despite their ban, in July 2014, notably in Paris and Ile-de-France. In the same register, the reactions which followed the murders of six people including three Jewish children in 2012 by Mohammed Merah: the Bordeaux imam Tareq Oubrou explained that he had to spend weeks preaching on this case because of empathy for Mohammed Merah demonstrated by the faithful of his mosque; Mohammed Merah's brother, Abdelghani, testified to the you-yous that accompanied his brother's death and the congratulations that some neighbors came to present to their mother, regretting that Mohammed had not killed more jews. But it goes back even further: Between 1999 and 2000, the year of the Second Intifada, the number of anti-Semitic acts increased ninefold, from 82 to 744. Since then, it has remained at an extraordinarily high level given the low number of Jews in France, oscillating depending on the year between around 400 and 900, depending, above all, on the upheavals of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2002, the publication of "The Lost Territories of the Republic" shows with forceful testimony the preeminence, extent and violence of hatred against Jews in certain sensitive neighborhoods. These are just a few examples, among so many other proofs that have been accumulating for almost twenty years now. However, none of these alerts succeeded in breaking the political and media omerta.
The atrocious murder of Sarah Halimi did not break this silence either. France is then in the middle of the presidential campaign, the four candidates leading the polls are in a pocket handkerchief. You have to take care of your voters and, let's be honest, the Jews are much less numerous than the Muslims – less than 500 against nearly 000 million. Moreover, the Institut Montaigne report on “Islam in France” published in September 6 indicates that “anti-Semitism was a marker of belonging” for a quarter of Muslims and the Fondapol poll of November 2016, that “ Respondent Muslims are two to three times more likely than average to share prejudice against Jews. The proportion is all the greater as the person questioned declares a greater commitment to religion.
At the beginning of April 2017, Emmanuel Macron is put in difficulty by the Mohammed Saou affair. We have just discovered that this referent "En Marche" from Val d'Oise has notably shared Facebook posts from Marwan Muhammad, founder of "the scary" - as Alain Finkielkraut says - CCIF (Committee against Islamophobia in France, a body close to the Muslim Brotherhood which is one of the bridgeheads of political fundamentalist Islam in France); that he supports the Erdogan regime in Turkey; that he stated that he "never was and never would be Charlie". Emmanuel Macron wavers, temporarily dismisses Saou from his duties while praising his remarkable work and postpones the decision concerning him to that of the ethics commission of his movement... A decision which we will obviously never hear about. (The same Saou has just been reinstated in his departmental functions.) François Fillon, entangled in his family affairs and costumes, no longer dares to move an ear for fear of losing the few hundred thousand votes that could make the difference for a qualification in the second round. Jean-Luc Mélenchon makes great declarations on secularism but shamelessly seeks the Muslim communitarian vote and surrounds himself with whoever is needed for that. (As proof, a few weeks later, we will learn that Danièle Obono, freshly elected deputy of France Insoumise, is close to the Parti des Indigènes de la République, a small identity group whose spokesperson, Houria Bouteldja, notably distinguished herself in declaring "Mohamed Merah, it's me, and I'm him. These revelations will in no way diminish the enthusiasm of the support Madame Obono enjoys from Jean-Luc Mélenchon.) In this collection of tartuffes, there is only Marine Le Pen, despite being the heiress of a party founded in particular by barely repentant anti-Semites, to condemn – on a small occasion, and without making it her hobbyhorse either – this crime and to demand let us finally address the subject of "Islamist anti-Semitism".
Are we finally talking about this subject? Indeed, it is about time. But who will still dare to do so? Georges Bensoussan, historian of the Shoah, specialist in the Arab world, paid dearly for having mentioned it during Alain Finkielkraut's program "Replicas" at the beginning of October 2015: extraordinarily violent platforms multiplying to condemn the so-called "racism" of Georges Bensoussan's remarks, emanating not only from the usual police of political thought innervated by the university left but also from this fringe of Jewish intellectuals (such as Bernard Schalscha in the Rules of the Game) who doubtless believes that by dint of acting as if this anti-Semitism did not exist, it would end up disappearing; CSA warning addressed to France Culture; and, finally, a trial at the initiative of the Public Prosecutor's Office which will see the main anti-racist associations, including the Licra, commune with political Islam represented by the CCIF in the denunciation of the historian's remarks.
The release of the latter is exemplary, especially given his clear motivation. By emphasizing that for the historian it was not a question of expressing hatred but on the contrary of concern, of calling "not for a separation of the fraction supposed to have seceded, for its rejection, its banishment or its eradication, but on the contrary to his reintegration into the French nation", the court in a way set the pendulums of anti-racism back on time and heard Alain Finkielkraut who, speaking at the bar, had deplored "a misguided anti-racism which requires the criminalization of a concern instead of combating the reality on which it is based': combating racism, allowing the integration within the nation of populations of foreign cultures, this begins by combating what constitutes an obstacle to this integration and, in this matter, fatality does not exist.
It seems that it is in truth today politically very difficult to coexist, in the same discourse, the fight against racism and against anti-Semitism. The main culprits of the second are recruited among the main victims of the first. The appearance of this anti-Semitism, new under our skies, is part of a powerful resurgence of Muslim fundamentalism which does not spare France. This upsurge is not only reflected in appalling attacks but, as Elisabeth Badinter says, in the appearance of "a second society" which "attempts to impose itself insidiously on our Republic, turning its back on it, explicitly aimed at separatism or even secession.”
The hostility of this counter-society does not only concern secularism, it is aimed much more broadly at our principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. Because there is no equality in a fundamentalist counter-society which is defined on an identity principle, for which the Muslim individual, the oumma, the dar al Islam are superior to any other non-Muslim individual, community or nation. No universal fraternity but a fraternity reduced to a community of believers which defines itself in conflict with the West in general and France in particular. There is no freedom in a group that operates in a clan-like mode, imposing on each of its members submission to God, to Islam, to its dogmas and to its struggles, including the conflictual positioning vis-à-vis the western civilization. This political Islam does not recognize one and the same humanity but different humanities. Some men are worth more than others in his eyes. And in the paroxysmal forms of this religious fundamentalism, some men are worthless.
We therefore understand very well why anti-Semitism thrives within this fundamentalist Islam. It is only one of the forms of a rejection of the other which is consubstantial with this Islamism and which also comes in the form of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism.
However, the hatred of the Jew remains the most intense. Some attribute this to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to Israeli policy and in particular to the continuation of Israeli installations in Palestinian territory. But they don't know or pretend they don't know that it has its roots in a much older story. In his reference book “Jews in Arab countries – The great uprooting: 1850-1975”, Georges Bensoussan reports the violence of this anti-Semitism in Arab countries from time immemorial; he explains how, from the Maghreb to Iraq and from Egypt to Yemen, the life of dhimmitude of the Jews in the Arab world had nothing to envy, in terms of suffered oppression, imposed misery, sub-citizenship , humiliation and occasional pogroms, to that of the Jews in the empire of the tsars. This anti-Semitism is not born of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it feeds on it. This conflict does not create this hatred, it does not increase its intensity; on the other hand, by giving it the support of an entire left which, as Jean Birnbaum demonstrates, definitely understands nothing about religion, it legitimizes its expression. By putting its networks, its culture, its verve, its access to the media, its privileged place at the university and in the world of research at the service of the Arab-Muslim struggles, both in France and abroad, the left – extreme, moral, “anti-racist” out of parrotism rather than conviction – is not only stupid, it is extraordinarily harmful. She provides our adversaries (whom she refuses to see are also, and in a certain way above all, hers) a humanist façade that their motives and goals do not have. Our alliances with Saudi Arabia or Qatar, our failed military interventions in the Middle East, the colonization of the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries are also used to justify what is presented as a legitimate resistance to oppression. But once again, it is our Western brains that are sensitive to these brilliant, well-argued, rational disputatio; in the conquering spirit of political Islam, the fight against the West does not need these justifications.
The support of these "useful idiots" is largely the cause of the state's silence on "neighborhood" anti-Semitism. Because despite its weak electoral representativeness, this left is extremely influential in the intermediary bodies, it has its way into a large number of media, has become a master in the art of manipulating elements of human rights language dripping with pathos. Today it is permissible to say certain things which twenty, ten or even five years ago would have earned their authors the pillory on the part of the moral left: one can say that it is possible to to be far-right without being anti-Semitic; one can even say that there is an extreme left-wing anti-Semitism; but we cannot yet say that there is an Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism. To talk about it, it is more prudent to refer to the "new" anti-Semitism and to remain in allusions, periphrases and innuendos. At the slightest error, at the slightest too direct reference, the obscurantist cabal of these modern inquisitors is unleashed and the offender is immediately sent to roast in the hell of racism, without any guarantee of his morality and real motivations, as irrefutable be it, cannot get him out of it. Because responding to such serious accusations and justifying oneself requires long, step-by-step explanations, incompatible with the immediacy of the media and their inability to convey subtlety and complexity. And we know it well, the denial has much less impact than the accusation: once the doubt hovers, it's dead, and our political leaders have understood this for a long time.
"The more a society moves away from the truth, the more it hates those who tell it" warned George Orwell. The political inability to designate this anti-Semitism because it is forbidden to analyze it historically, anthropologically and religiously and, consequently, to undertake the specific and targeted actions that would be necessary to defeat it. France is sinking every day a little deeper into a multiculturalist policy with – involuntarily, but inevitably – racialist overtones. Racialists, not to say racists, because this culturalist attitude which claims to be inspired by respect for different cultures is nothing other than the quiet abandonment of our integration model, deemed inaccessible for these populations, presumed by our political leaders chaperoned by part of our anti-racist associations, as if unable to get out of their archaic ways of thinking and functioning. We have given up on helping these populations, on reaching out to them. By abandoning the Jews, we have also abandoned the latter and, in doing so, we have lost ourselves.
The murder of Sarah Halimi must be understood as an alarm that reminds us of ourselves, of what defines us. This inertia is unworthy of us. France, country of the Enlightenment, cradle of the universal values of human rights, cannot be a country where Jews are attacked and killed, because Jews, in general indifference. We are all heirs to a history, we are all accountable for a heritage that goes from Salomon de Troyes to Vichy France, passing through the emancipation of the Jews in 1791 (which France was the first in Europe to agree ) and by the Dreyfus affair. Out of respect for what we are, for what we pride ourselves on representing, we do not have the right to watch without reacting to the rise of hatred against our Jewish fellow citizens. It is about our admiration for France and, ultimately, our pride in being French.
Source: © Le Figaro Premium – The Sarah Halimi affair and the taboo of the “new” anti-Semitism