What can one say to this...
Little Gabriel, 3, was the younger of Rabbi Yonaton Sandler's sons to be murdered in Toulouse.
Credit: Flash 90
It has been revealed that this beautiful child had been named for Rabbi Gavriel Horowitz, who was horrendously slaughtered in Mumbai shortly before he was born.
Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, father of Gavriel's wife Rivki, who was murdered alongside her husband, attended the Sandler funeral yesterday.
Gabriel's murderer is dead now: after a 36-hour police siege, a gun battle ensued and then, as Mohammed Merah jumped from a window, police shot him in the head. They say they had hoped to take him alive.
This doesn't bring back those whom he killed -- but police indicated he had been planning additional attacks and he is now out of commission for good.
I observed, in yesterday's posting, that the French cannot dismiss the Toulouse murders as an aberration, a case of one kook who was influenced by evil associates in a far-off place. The enemy, which is certainly radical Islam, must be named, I said: There are, without a shadow of a doubt, a good many radical Muslims in France...It's time to talk about these things.
That was before I saw the report from the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliyah. And now that I have (thanks to Judith N.), I am doubly convinced of the need to talk -- volumes -- about what's going on.
"According to various French sources, Merah was linked to Forsane Al'Izza [The Brave Horseman], a radical Salafist group that operates in France..."
The Institute describes a video by French Salafists calling themselves by that name that it had monitored. The video, "which was filmed in Paris and is in French, decries French Islamophobia and what Forsane Al'Izza calls 'the campaign of incitement and persecution' being waged by French public figures, led by President Sarkozy, against France’s Muslim population and against the group. In the clip, Forsane Al'Izza declares that it does not recognize France’s secular democratic regime, and is working to see shari’a [Islamic religious law] implemented in France...the clip praised the efforts of Forsane Al'Izza to protect the downtrodden Muslims in infidel lands..." (Emphasis added)
Daniel Greenfield, writing as Sultan Knish, doesn't mince words, and in "The New Nazis" he's especially on the mark with regard to what's transpiring today in France:
"There was a time when Jewish children were hunted down and killed in France. Their killers believed themselves to be members of a superior group that was destined to rule the world and enslave or exterminate members of inferior groups. The cowardice and appeasement of the French authorities allowed them to operate freely, to kill Jews and launch attacks on other countries.
"What was then is now again. The occupying army doesn't wear uniforms, it wears keffiyahs. It doesn't speak German, it speaks Arabic. It doesn't believe that it is superior for reasons of race as much as for reasons of religion. It does not view all others as Untermenschen, but as infidels. It looks forward not to a thousand year Reich, but to a thousand year Caliphate.
"Between all the non-stop coverage, the expressions of grief, the political pandering, no one is stating the obvious. France has been occupied all over again. Once again the occupation has been carried out with the consent of the authorities who have decided that cowardice is the only way. Vichy France has become Vichy Europe...where the blatant appeasement is disguised as honor...
"...The old Nazis marched in at the head of an army. The new Nazis bought a plane ticket. The old Nazis had to get by the French Armed Forces and the Royal Air Force. The new Nazis are welcomed in and anyone who says a word otherwise faces trials and jail sentences. The old Nazis deported Jews to camps. The new Nazis kill them right in the cities. And the killing will not stop until the Muslim occupation of Europe comes to an end." (Emphasis added)
Prime Minister Netanyahu has gone to visit the bereaved families from Toulouse. He told Ava Sandler that Israel will do everything possible to help her. And he said, "the State of Israel was established to be a shield for the Jewish People."
This is, in fact, a huge point, which should never be forgotten.
Before moving to other subjects, one last point. Obama has placed a somewhat delayed call of condolence to President Sarkozy with regard to what happened in Toulouse. What does it tell us that -- even though some of the murdered were Israeli citizens, and they were all buried in Israel, and all of Israel mourned -- he did not, to the very best of my knowledge, call Netanyahu as well?
I also mentioned yesterday that the Israeli Ambassador to Egypt had left the country. I now have it from a reliable source that this does not seem to be permanent and he is expected to go back in. Documents from the Embassy in Egypt apparently have been flown to Israel, however, suggesting a situation that is less than secure.
Last Wednesday, I heard Daniel Pipes, head of the Middle East Forum, address a Knesset committee on immigration. There was no Egyptian revolution, Pipes declared. There was only a coup d'etat. The military remains firmly in charge.
Saturday night, I head Israeli commentator and author Barry Rubin speak. Don't imagine for a second, he told his audience, that the military is solidly in charge in Egypt. The situation is very unstable and the Islamists are moving in.
A signal lesson on how difficult it is to interpret the very fluid and rapidly fluctuating events in this part of the world.
The fact that the Israeli ambassador to Egypt had left the country seemed to be -- but in the end apparently was not -- of particular significance because just last week Egypt's parliament, which is dominated by Islamists, voted to expel Israel's ambassador. This was just a symbolic vote, as the ruling Military Council makes the decisions on such matters and is not interested in breaking its relationship with Israel.
The overriding question is how long this situation will hold.
A NYTimes article on Iran of a few days ago irked me greatly, and I have been wanting to address it -- as many of you may have seen it.
In brief, the article said that US intelligence people believe that Iran stopped working on a nuclear bomb in 2003 and have not started again -- and that basically the Mossad agrees, even though Israeli politicians are pushing for a quick attack.
The goal here, once again, was to represent the Israeli government as "trigger happy": Look, even the Mossad says Iran isn't building a bomb.
But the logic here is seriously flawed. For Israel has never claimed Iran is building a bomb now. Rather the concern is that Iran is developing the potential to do so, and has, in fact, already reached what is called a point of no return. That is, Iran has done sufficient development domestically at present to be able to build that bomb should it want to, without having to resort to assistance or equipment from the outside.
This is a major point that is all too often glossed over. It represents a significant difference in what Israel and the US see as the red line with regard to Iran. The US, it seems, is prepared to wait until Iran is actually starting to build that bomb (which, depending on sources, might take anywhere from two months to a year). Israel is not prepared to wait that long.
Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was asked recently if there is proof that Iran has a nuclear program. His response: If you saw someone come into the kitchen and take out the bread, and the peanut butter and the jelly, you'd be pretty sure he was going to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This is where we are now with regard to Iran. All the elements are in place. They have enriched uranium beyond what they would need for domestic purposes. How much proof do you need?
Bret Stephen's "The Bogus Iran Intelligence Debate" offers both a similar analogy and a sophisticated analysis:
"All this [debate about intelligence] sounds like it matters a whole lot. It doesn't. You may not be able to divine whether a drinker, holding a bottle of Johnnie Walker in one hand and a glass tinkling with ice in the other, actually intends to pour himself a drink. And perhaps he doesn't. But the important thing, at least when it comes to intervention, is not to present him with the opportunity in the first place.
"That's what was so misleading about the 2007 NIE, which relegated to a footnote the observation that 'by "nuclear weapons program" we mean Iran's nuclear weapons design and weaponization work...[W]e do not mean Iran's declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.' What the NIE called 'civil work' is, in fact, the central piece in assembling a nuclear device. To have sufficient quantities of enriched uranium is, so to speak, the whiskey of a nuclear-weapons program. By contrast, 'weaponization'—the vessel into which you pour and through which you can deliver the enriched uranium cocktail—is merely the glass. (Emphasis added)
"...In other words, having a debate about the quality of our Iran intelligence is mostly an irrelevance: Iran's real nuclear-weapons program is hiding in plain sight. The serious question policy makers must answer isn't whether Iran will go for a bomb once it is within a half-step of getting one. It's whether Iran should be allowed to get within that half-step.
"...it should come as no surprise that an intelligence community meant to provide decision makers with disinterested analysis has, in practice, policy goals and ideological axes of its own. (Emphasis added)
"...For real intelligence, merely consider that a regime that can take a rock in its right hand to stone a woman to death should not have a nuclear bomb within reach of its left.
The toughest sanctions yet have now been imposed on Iran: Belgium’s Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which handles most international bank transfers, has eliminated Iran from its services.
There is no question in my mind but that this tougher stance was generated because PM Netanyahu -- as a centerpiece of his public statements -- has expressed Israeli concerns and maintained that Israeli has a right to defend herself. Sad, that it takes fear of an Israeli hit to make nations respond, when they should be responding simply because the situation requires such action.
Undoubtedly, these new sanctions will generate additional difficulties for Iran. Whether they will prove pivotal in convincing the Iranians to halt what they are doing remains highly dubious. There are always loopholes and nations willing to work with Iran. Just this week, the Obama administration announced that it will exempt a group of European countries and Japan from financial sanctions, because they have significantly curtailed their oil imports from Iran.
There is broad expectation, but not certainty, that in the course of time Israel will hit Iran. The over-riding question is when. What has become increasingly clear to me is that Israel may be in possession of bunker busters powerful enough to extend the window of time for doing so.
The UN Human Rights Council has now adopted a resolution that establishes a major "fact-finding mission" to investigate alleged violations of human rights committed by Israel with regard to "settlements."
Prime Minister Netanyahu's response to this outrage:
“This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel. This council ought to be ashamed of itself.
"Until today, the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran. One only had to hear the Syrian representative speak today about human rights in order to understand how detached from reality the council is. Another proof of its detachment from reality came last week when it invited before it a representative of Hamas, an organization whose ideology is based on the murder of innocents."
Let me close, then, with a wonderful video of Kenneth Meshoe, a black member of the South African parliament, who explains why the notion that Israeli is an apartheid state is ridiculous. See it, save it, share it when Israel is attacked.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.