Sarah Halimi. Mireille Knoll. Ilan Halimi. Sebastien Sellam, to name just a few. Is Jérémy Cohen the latest victim of antisemitic murder in France? Video footage has recently emerged of the young man, who generally wore a kippa, running from a gang of antisemitic youths straight into the path of a tram in the northern Paris suburb of Bobigny.
The Guardian reports: the death of a young Jewish man in Bobigny, north of Paris, has shocked France and sparked outrage among French presidential candidates, who seized on it to denounce criminality and a possible antisemitic attack. Jérémy Cohen, 31, was killed when he was hit by a tram in Bobigny in February, which was initially reported in local media as a traffic accident.
But when his family leafleted the area to see if local people had more information on what had happened, a witness came forward with video footage, which circulated online this week.
Cohen, who had a disability, was surrounded by a group of men and attacked. As he escaped, he was hit by the tram and died shortly afterwards in hospital.
The former TV pundit and far-right, anti-immigration candidate, Éric Zemmour, was the first politician to raise the case on social media, asking if Cohen had died because of the violence of a group of thugs. “Did he die because he is Jewish?” Zemmour asked. “Why has this affair been covered up?”
Point of No Return adds: The districts of Bobigny and Saint-Denis in northern Paris were settled by poor Jews from Tunisia and Morocco. Radicalised Arab and Muslim youth have committed antisemitic incidents in recent years, creating a climate of fear. Many Jews have moved into central Paris for greater security. Those who could afford to leave the country have made aliya to Israel.
Bobigny train station has a sinister history. From the summer of 1943 until the summer 1944, the station, where a vast network of freight and passenger railway tracks converge, became the assembly point for Jews held at Drancy camp, located about 2 km away, before their deportation to Nazi death camps. such as Auschwitz . Bobigny replaced le Bourget station. In 13 months, 22, 407 men, women and children of all ages were forced to board sealed wagons at Bobigny station. Some 76,000 French Jews were deported and murdered by the Nazis.
To marginalise the wartime Grand Mufti’s contribution to the Nazi enterprise sets a dangerous precedent, and to erase him from Yad Vashem minimises the history of how Nazi ideology was imported into the Arab world, where it still partly festers today. Writing in JNS News, Ellie Cohanim and Maya Carlin wade into the controversy over Yad Vashem’s refusal to re-instate a photo of the Mufti.
Throughout Hitler’s rise to power, the mufti remained a leading figure in the Arab world, and his vehement anti-Semitism and contribution to organized war crimes against Jews have been and will remain significant facts in Holocaust history.
The mufti is best known for directly forming and training Arab refugees and Arab-Europeans in Waffen-S.S. (combat) divisions. He was tasked in 1943 by the S.S. with recruiting Bosnian Muslims in an effort to establish the “Mountain division.”
In Himmler’s Bosnian Division, author George Lepre explains the significance of the Nazis’ securing of a religious authority like al-Husseini in their expansion efforts, since local Muslim leaders prohibited Muslims from working alongside the Nazis. Due to the mufti’s commitment to the program and robust propaganda efforts, an estimated 27,000 recruits signed up.
In addition to his endeavor to recruit Arabs into Axis armies, al-Husseini wholeheartedly supported Hitler’s master plan for Jews and had personal knowledge of how Nazi concentration camps operated. In a series of photographs sold at a Jerusalem auction in 2017, the mufti is seen alongside a handful of other global leaders at the Trebbin concentration camp in 1942. This serves as proof that the mufti understood the fate of Jews in Europe and hoped to emulate that path for Jews in the Arab world.
While recruiting for the Waffen-S.S. and visiting concentration camps certainly aided Hitler’s wartime agenda, the mufti’s most profound contribution to Nazism was in the propaganda realm. He spearheaded efforts to politicize Islam through radio interviews, pamphlets and newspapers that ultimately helped facilitate the emergence of a new Islamic anti-Semitism.
In his constant broadcasts on the Arabic-language Nazi network RadioZeesen, he manipulated texts from the Quran to attack Jews as enemies of Islam. Between April 1939 and April 1945, Radio Zeesen broadcast in Arabic every day and al-Husseini was its key clerical voice.
The radio segments were professionally broadcast daily in various Arabic dialects to amass the widest range of listeners possible. The program severed as a significant tool for the mufti to propagate this new Islamic-based anti-Semitic narrative. By providing a religious justification for Jew-hatred, he was able to secure the Muslim supporters that the Nazi Party otherwise would have struggled to acquire.
In addition to Radio Zeesen, anti-Semitic Islamic literature spread like wildfire throughout Arabic-speaking communities. The manifesto Islam and Jewry combined anti-Jewish motifs in the Quran with modern European anti-Semitic tropes in a form that can be characterized as “Islamic anti-Semitism.”
As Matthias Küntzel explains in Nazi Propaganda in the Middle East and its Repercussions in the Postwar Period, the text exaggerated and highlighted classically minimal episodes of anti-Jewish moments in the Quran to appear to be central themes in the religious text. This propaganda disseminated among Muslims helped fuel the Jew-hatred on which Hitler would eventually capitalize.
The Egyptian-based publisher of Islam and Jewry, Mohamad Ali al-Taher, was an associate of the mufti’s and has been linked to facilitating relations between the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and German agents. Radio Zeesen and Islam and Jewry, which allegedly was written in part by the mufti, helped catalyze the rampant Jew-hatred in Egypt and fed into the Muslim Brotherhood’s vigor to annihilate the Jewish state.
In late 1945, on the anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, a wave of gruesome anti-Jewish pogroms swept Cairo. Several Jewish institutions were burned down, including the Ashkenazi synagogue in the Muski Quarter, and more than 100 Jews were wounded. By this point, the extent of the mufti’s war crimes was public knowledge. The mobs who perpetuated the pogroms chanted slogans defending him and vowed to murder every Jew if he were to be captured.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s ability to garner a massive mob to conduct such pogroms that year indicates that the Nazi ideology fueled and coordinated in part by al-Husseini had had a serious impact.
After the end of WWII, Jew-hatred remained so robust in Egypt that the country became a makeshift safe haven for Nazis. Collaborators like Johann von Leers, a senior S.S. official nicknamed “Hitler’s number one anti-Semite” for his work in Joseph Goebbels’s Propaganda Ministry sought refuge there.
In fact, the Mufti himself facilitated Leer’s entry into Egypt, where he would oversee anti-Israel propaganda as head of the Institute for the Study of Zionism. The author of dozens of books and articles published between 1932-1944, Leers was one of the most prolific anti-Semitic writers in Hitler’s Third Reich. According to recently declassified CIA documents, the work that Leers began in Germany and continued in Egypt irrefutably links to the decades of violent Arab-Israeli relations that would dominate the region for years to come.
Some scholars argue that the mufti was more concerned with achieving power or gaining a foreign ally than with exterminating Jews. Whether or not these alternative motivations played a part in his thinking is irrelevant, however. He unquestionably emerged as the leading non-European aide for the Nazis, and played a vital role in recruiting and training the S.S. soldiers whose main ambition was to secure Hitler’s reign by systematically murdering Jews.
Therefore, the marginalizing of his contributions to the Nazi wartime efforts is ludicrous and sets a dangerous precedent. Erasing him from Yad Vashem’s exhibit also minimizes the history of how Nazi ideology was imported into the Muslim and Arab world, where it festers in many corners of that world to this very day.
The killer of Sarah Halimi, the French woman murdered in 2017, has been let out on day release several times in recent months and could soon be freed for good, the Jewish Chronicle reports. The revelation comes as a parliamentary report into the case, absolving the authorities of any wrongdoing, enrages French Jewish leaders:
Kobili Traore repeatedly bludgeoned the Jewish pensioner in her Paris flat before throwing her from the balcony in the brutal 2017 murder.
A French court deemed him to have been suffering from a drug-induced psychosis at the time of the attack and unfit to stand trial.
The unprecedented decision sparked outrage and protests by Jewish communities in France and around the world demanding justice for 65-year-old Mrs Halimi.
Traore has since been kept in a psychiatric hospital for treatment. However, the JC can now confirm that he has been let out on day release a number of times.
On more than one occasion he has visited his old apartment block in Paris — the site of the murder of his neighbour, Mrs Halimi.
In another extraordinary twist, it has also emerged that he is taking no psychiatric medication, only underlying the absurdity of the decision to spare him trial.
Mrs Halimi’s grief-stricken family now face the possibility of Traore walking the streets of Paris as a free man, should two independent psychiatrists decide he is sane and no longer presents a threat to society or himself.
The shocking revelations came from three French MPs heading up an investigation into the alleged mishandling of the case by the police and judicial system.
Assuming that ‘victory is nigh’, a Hamas conference in Gaza planning for a dystopian future for Israel ‘s Jews has received surprisingly little press coverage. The new order after Israel ceases to exist will be that of ‘sharia’ law – Jews who are not killed or expelled would revert to submissive dhimmi status. It is interesting, though, that Hamas feels it would need to retain Jewish professionals to help it run its state. This conforms with the age-old tradition of exploiting dhimmi non-Muslims for their useful skills. Analysis by MEMRI (with thanks: Lily):
The September 30, 2021 “Promise of the Hereafter – Post-Liberation Palestine” conference, sponsored by Hamas leader in Gaza Yahyah Al-Sinwar and attended by senior officials from Hamas and other Palestinian factions, discussed preparations for the future administration of the state of Palestine following its “liberation” from Israel after the latter “disappears.”
The conference published a concluding statement listing “ideas and methods of operation [to be implemented] during the liberation of Palestine” after Israel ceases to exist. This list included, inter alia, a call for drafting a document of independence that will be “a direct continuation of the Pact of ‘Umar Bin Al-Khattab” concerning Byzantine Jerusalem’s surrender to the Muslim conquerors which took place apparently in 638; a definition of the leadership of the state until elections are held; recommendations for engagement with the international community and the neighboring states; a call for preparing in advance appropriate legislation for the transition to the new regime; a call for establishing apparatuses to ensure the continuation of economic activity once the Israeli shekel is no longer in use and to preserve the resources that previously belonged to Israel; and a call for compiling a guide for resettling the Palestinian refugees who wish to return to Palestine.
The conference also recommended that rules be drawn up for dealing with “Jews” in the country, including defining which of them will be killed or subjected to legal prosecution and which will be allowed to leave or to remain and be integrated into the new state. It also called for preventing a brain drain of Jewish professionals, and for the retention of “educated Jews and experts in the areas of medicine, engineering, technology, and civilian and military industry… [who] should not be allowed to leave.” Additionally, it recommended obtaining lists of “the agents of the occupation in Palestine, in the region, and [throughout] the world, and… the names of the recruiters, Jewish and non-Jewish, in the country and abroad” in order to “purge Palestine and the Arab and Islamic homeland of this hypocrite scum.”
The conference was organized by the Promise of the Hereafter Institute, which was established in 2014; the institute called it “a conference that looks to the future.” Dr. Issam Adwan, chairman of the conference’s preparatory committee and former head of Hamas’s department of refugee affairs, said that the conference’s recommendations would be presented to the Hamas leadership, which also funded the event. The recommendations were also included in the strategies that the Promise of the Hereafter Institute had been drawing up since its establishment to address the phase following the liberation of Palestine.
In his statements for the conference, which were delivered by Hamas political bureau member Kamal Abu Aoun, Hamas leader Al-Sinwar stressed that “we are sponsoring this conference because it is in line with our assessment that victory is nigh” and that “the full liberation of Palestine from the sea to the river” is “the heart of Hamas’s strategic vision.”
With the departure of Zebulon Simentov, arranged by business tycoon Moti Kahana, the ancient Jewish community of Afghanistan has officially become extinct. It was not the Taliban takeover which persuaded Simentov to leave, however, it was the fear of being kidnapped or killed by the far more radical Islamic State. Report in Israel Hayom (with thanks: Lily):
The last member of Afghanistan’s Jewish community left the country Tuesday. Zebulon Simentov – who lived in a dilapidated synagogue in Kabul, kept kosher and prayed in Hebrew – endured decades of war as the country’s centuries-old Jewish community rapidly dwindled. But the Taliban takeover last month seems to have been the last straw.
Moti Kahana, an Israeli-American businessman who runs a private security group that organized the evacuation, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the 62-year-old Simentov and 29 of his neighbors, nearly all of them women and children, have been taken to a “neighboring country.”
Kahana said Simentov, who had lived under Taliban rule before, was not worried about them. But Kahana warned him that he was at risk of being kidnapped or killed by the far more radical Islamic State group. He said Simentov’s neighbors also pressed him to leave, so that their children could join him on the bus out.
“For two weeks I pressured him to leave,” Kahana told Israel Hayom. “I explained to him that there were two ways for the Taliban to make money by having a Jew, one of which is kidnapping him, and the second one beheading him and negotiating [for the body] in any case. In the end, he agreed.”
Simentov asked to have 100 children from families in danger to be evacuated as well. Kan public broadcaster aired footage of the evacuation, showing a bus full of people traveling across what appeared to be Afghanistan, with all the faces blurred except for Simentov.
“Thus far, we have managed to get thirty children out, at Zebulon’s request,” Kahana said. “I am sure we will get to 100 children soon.”
The evacuees joined an exodus of tens of thousands of Afghans who have fled since the Taliban swept across the country last month. The US and its allies organized a massive airlift in the closing days of the 20-year-war, but officials acknowledged that up to 200 American citizens, as well as thousands of Afghans who had aided the war effort, were left behind.
Kahana said his group is reaching out to US and Israeli authorities to find a permanent home for Simentov, whose estranged wife and children live in Israel. For years, Simentov refused to grant his wife a divorce under Jewish law, which could open him up to legal repercussions in Israel. Kahana said he persuaded him to grant the divorce and has drawn up the paperwork.
“That was two weeks of being a shrink, a psychiatrist, talking to him like 10 times a day, and his neighbor at the same time to translate,” Kahana said.
This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, of the Middle East and North Africa, documenting the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution.
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Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries
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