Wednesday, 12 Dec 2018

Comparison of Pittsburgh shooting and attacks on Jews in Europe, where anti-Semitism has developed

The smoky window of Mireille Knoll's apartment can be seen in Paris in March after the old Jewish woman was stabbed and left to die in her burning apartment. (Christophe Ena / AP)

PARIS – The killing of 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday made an immediate comparison with the problem of anti-Semitism in contemporary Europe, where violent incidents claimed the lives of at least 18 Jews in the last century. decade. In addition to these deadly incidents, a number of anti-Semitic currents are crossing Europe from 2018 – on the continent and across the political spectrum. What are the connections, if any?

The Pittsburgh authorities identified the suspect during the shootings in the synagogue as being Robert D. Bowers, whose social media history indicates that he targeted Jews because of a crime. vision of the white supremacist world. This context only corresponds to one of the strands of anti-Semitism currently seen in Europe. This is particularly the case in Hungary, where the right-wing populist leader Viktor Orban has successfully presented for re-election this year on a platform demonizing the Jewish financier George Soros, accused of having undermined the country by importing foreign migrants. Prior to the mid-term elections next month, President Trump and his political allies also began to target Soros more and more frequently, and one of Bowers' targets of anger was a Jewish refugee resettlement agency. Historical revisionism is often part of this state of mind. In Poland, for example, now under the control of the right-wing Law and Justice Party, the government has attempted to enact a law this year that would have criminalized the speech on Poland's collaboration in the Nazi holocaust; the legislation was withdrawn after an international reaction.

But contemporary European anti-Semitism is by no means the exclusive province of the political right. It has also experienced a recent resurgence on the left, mainly through recycled caricatures portraying Jews as greedy capitalists or presenting all Jews as colonial lords of Palestinians. Notably, the British Labor Party, led by left wing Jeremy Corbyn, has been criticized for failing to deal more decisively with accusations of anti-Semitism by some members. The British Jewish community denounced party leaders and anti-Semitic incidents in Britain reached a record high in 2018.

In general, it is difficult to attribute a common narrative to all the anti-Semitic violence observed in Europe in recent years and the crimes were perpetrated by people of different motivations. In France, in particular, where the vast majority of recent anti-Semitic murders in Europe took place, most of the suspects come from immigration and a number of them are affiliated with Islamist terrorist networks. France is also home to the largest Jewish and Arab populations in Europe, and some incidents have seen the Arab-Israeli conflict translate into an internal political context. In a very general way, recent cases – in France but also in Germany – have led many political leaders to wonder whether the same countries that facilitated the Holocaust could again be exposed to anti-Semitism, this time from An "imported" variety.

Here is a list of some of the cases of violent antisemitism that have occurred in Europe in the last 10 years.

2012: Toulouse, France

Four Jews were shot dead at the Jewish Ozar Hatorah School, in the suburbs of Toulouse, in the south of France. Among the victims were Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, 30, and two of his children: Aryeh Sandler, 6, and Gabriel Sandler, 3. Another student, 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, was also killed. The French authorities then identified the author as being Mohammed Merah, aged 23, who had a clean criminal record and who had been killed three days later during a stalemate. While Merah – a French citizen of Algerian origin – had killed three French police officers a few days before his attack on Ozar Hatorah, the Toulouse attack was widely seen as the beginning of France's recent fight against terrorism perpetrated by its own citizens. According to a book published by Merah's brother, he was reportedly raised in an atmosphere of anti-Semitism and his hatred of Jews would be to some extent a function of his hatred of Israel.

2014: Brussels

Four people were shot dead during an attack at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels. Two of the victims, Emmanuel and Miriam Riva, were in the city on vacation from their home in Tel Aviv. The third victim was a French woman identified as Dominique Sabrier; the fourth was Alexander Strens, who worked at the museum and later died of his wounds. The suspect was identified as 29-year-old Franco-Algerian Mehdi Nemmouche, who was apprehended by the authorities at the Marseille train station several days after the attack. The suspect was linked to a terrorist cell of the Islamic State.

January 2015: Paris

A few days after the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, four Jews were killed during the siege of Hyper Kosher, a kosher supermarket on the outskirts of Paris: Francois-Michel Saada, Philippe Braham, and Yohan Cohen. Yoav Hattab. . The authorities discovered that the attacker, Amedy Coulibalay, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and met the two brothers who had perpetrated the Charlie Hebdo attack in a French prison. In the aftermath of the Hyper Hide attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Paris and urged French Jews to consider leaving France for Israel.

October 2016: Moscow

One day, an armed man carrying a gas cylinder tried to enter the Moscow Choral Synagogue in the city center, a day before Rosh Hashanah's services. While he was trying to get in, the man struggled with one of the guards. The attacker then shot the goalkeeper, who was slightly injured. All we know about this attacker is that he was a 40-year-old man that synagogue leaders considered a Russian ethnicity. The 2016 attack took place 10 years after a new attack in Moscow, in which a 20-year-old man, identified as Aleksandr Koptsev, targeted the Chabad Loubitchitch Synagogue in Moscow. Koptsev shouted "Heil Hitler!" And "I will kill Jews" as he raged through the halls of the synagogue with a hunting knife, eventually stabbing at least eight people, four of them seriously wounded. He was later described by police and security services as a skinhead belonging to an unidentified right-wing nationalist group.

April 2017: paris

In the French presidential election, Sarah Halimi, an orthodox Jewish woman who lived alone in a social housing project in Paris, was beaten to death and thrown to the window. Police identified her neighbor, Kobili Traore, a 27-year-old Malian Muslim, as a suspect. Neighbors surveyed by the police said they heard him shout "Allahu Akbar" during the attack. In what has become a national scandal, the Paris prosecutor initially refused to investigate the crime, considered a case of anti-Semitic violence, but President Emmanuel Macron officially declared the assassination of anti-Semitism several months later, in July 2017.

December 2017: Amsterdam

Just hours after President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a 29-year-old Palestinian flag waving broke the windows of the kosher HaCarmel restaurant in a Jewish neighborhood in Amsterdam. Dutch television broadcast a video of the incident and the film shows the man breaking the window and breaking the door. The incident followed a similar incident that occurred in 2016, while another kosher restaurant in Amsterdam had been stabbed. The authorities later concluded that there was no connection with anti-Semitism.

March 2018: Paris

In an episode resembling the Sarah Halimi affair, Mireille Knoll, 85, a Holocaust survivor who was also living in a social housing project in Paris, was stabbed eleven times and left to burn in her apartment . The investigators identified her neighbor, Yacine Mihoub, 28, with an accomplice, Alex Carrimbacus, 21, as a suspect. This time, the authorities immediately included the dimension of antisemitism in the investigation and less than a year after the death of the Halimi case, Knoll had become a lightning rod that had leads thousands of people in the streets of Paris to protest against anti-Semitism in France.

April 2018: Berlin

Two men – aged 21 and 24, including at least one wearing a cap – were attacked in broad daylight by an attacker who was whipping them with a belt in the mired Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg. Three authors seem to have been involved, according to the testimonies of the victims. One of the victims, Adam Armoush, later stated that he was not Jewish, but that he was wearing a cap to prove to a friend that doing so did not constitute a risk in contemporary Germany. "I said it was really safe and I wanted to prove it, but it ended like that," Armoush told German television. The incident became a national scandal and German leaders got their hands dirty. Chancellor Angela Merkel called the attack "horrible", and the Foreign Minister, citing the country's Nazi past, said that "Jews will never feel threatened here again".

Amie Ferris-Rotman in Moscow contributed to this report.

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