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A dark tale from Netanyahu Nation

Assassinations, lies and conspiracy theories. 

If you want to know about the right-wing culture that rules Israel today, the following isn’t a bad illustration. Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday that Netanyahu’s pick for director-general of the Communications Ministry, Shlomo Filber, wrote an article in the settler publication Nekuda after the Rabin assassination blaming the Shin Bet for the murder, which is sort of the Israeli right’s answer to Holocaust denial, that’s how popular a conspiracy theory it is. (Filber, along the way, was Netanyahu’s chief of staff in his first term, and headed the Likud campaign in the last election.)

Filber’s response in Yedioth: he always believed, then and now, that Yigal Amir and no one else killed Rabin, but agreed, as a junior employee of the Yesha settlers council following the assassination, to sign his name to the article because the true author, Uri Elitzur, then Nekuda editor and a senior figure in the Yesha Council, thought it would hurt his standing as an opinion writer to have his name signed on to it. Filber says that “out of regard for Elitzur and desire to help put down the incitement campaign against settlers, I agreed to sign in his place. Since then, I have expressed myself forthrightly that the conspiracy theory is delusional and illogical.”

Let’s look at this. First of all, it’s very convenient for Filber to say the article was written by Elitzur because Elitzur can’t deny it, being dead. Elitzur, by the way, wrote the infamous article posted on Facebook by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked last summer calling for the killing of not only Palestinian terrorists, but also their mothers, the people who write Palestinian textbooks, people who give terrorists “moral support” — basically all Palestinians except collaborators.

Here’s the thing: what sort of person agrees to sign his name to a long article making a very controversial claim, one that he considers “delusional and illogical,” when he didn’t even write it? And what kind of writer would write such an article and ask somebody else to take responsibility for it?

Setting aside the issue of Elitzur, who is not relevant and cannot defend himself, Filber is a liar any way you look at it — either he is lying about not having written the article (and is slandering a dead man, not to mention being a believer in vicious nonsense), or he is telling the...

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Beyond racism: What's keeping Ethiopian-Israelis down?

Racism is a severe problem for the community — and the country — but that doesn’t fully explain the difficulties faced by Ethiopian-Israelis.

To the extent that they were protesting against face-to-face racism from “white” Israelis, the thousands of Ethiopian Israelis who raised hell in Tel Aviv Sunday night had more than a legitimate gripe. When I was in the army 25 years ago, I saw such insulting patronization toward Ethiopian immigrant soldiers it was hard to believe; from what one hears, such treatment hasn’t disappeared from Israeli life by any means. I don’t know if Israeli cops harass them and treat them more roughly – a videotape of police manhandling an Ethiopian soldier on suspicion of some crime is what set off the recent protests – but I wouldn’t be surprised.

However, to the extent that the demonstrations are aimed at the state for discriminating against Ethiopian immigrants and native-born, I don’t think they’ve got the right address. The State of Israel may have done more for Ethiopian Jews, between the effort to bring them over and the investment in them after they arrived, than any state has ever done for any group of immigrants. In the early 90s, after Operation Solomon airlifted nearly 15,000 of them to Israel, the state gave each of the families an apartment, paying off 98 percent of the cost, leaving them to pay the remaining 2 percent in monthly payments and the apartment was theirs to own. Between the state and diaspora Jewish philanthropic organizations, there are more programs to help Ethiopian Israelis than can ever be imagined.

And yet they are a well-entrenched Jewish underclass, as seen in the completely disproportionate number of Ethiopian youths living in state boarding schools or being held in juvenile prisons; dropping out of school; going AWOL and/or to army prison; and later being unemployed or working at the lowest-paid, lowest-skilled jobs.

Is that because of discrimination against them by the state, or by police or by Israelis on the street? No, it’s in spite of the extraordinary amount of help the state and diaspora Jewry have given them. There is a class of Ethiopian-Israeli achievers, of course; the 20 or so I lived with in an immigrant absorption center in 1985 all went directly to university after finishing the course in Hebrew; I imagine they’re doing fine now. Not coincidentally, they were all from Addis Ababa,...

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America’s choice on Iran: Obama’s peace or Netanyahu's war

If Bibi, the Israel lobby and the GOP stymie this historic nuclear deal, it will be very bad for Israel, America and America’s Jews.

Anybody who thinks Obama has won, that Israel and the Israel lobby and the Republicans are just going to concede the Iran nuclear deal without a fight, could not be more wrong. For the Israeli and American Jews involved, this is the supreme cause of their lives – preventing another Holocaust, as they see it. The framework agreement announced last Thursday looks to them like Munich. These are the terms they use.

For the American gentile politicians involved, it’s partly this badly misplaced notion of “never again,” partly (for the Republicans) Obamaphobia, partly Islamophobia, and partly fear of the Israel lobby’s wrath if they let Obama and the Iranians sign a final deal, whose deadline is June 30, three months from now. All in all, the deal’s opponents have more than enough motivation to ensure that so long as there’s the slightest chance to head it off, they will be fighting with everything they’ve got.

And they’ve got much more than the slightest chance. The Republicans are pushing a Senate bill that would effectively give America’s last word on the deal to the GOP-controlled Congress, which would guarantee the setting of terms that Iran would  never accept, and the negotiations would collapse. Obama has promised to veto this bill and any other designed to kill the Iran deal, but if 67 senators sign this legislation, it becomes veto-proof. The Republicans reportedly have 66 senators committed to signing it.

I don’t think they will get to 67; instead, I think Obama will peel off some of the bill’s Democratic supporters because he is the president; because this is his “legacy” achievement and he and his supporters want it awfully bad; because this is a matter of war and peace; and because the Iran deal is very popular with everyone outside the Republicans, Israel, the Israel lobby and Iran’s Middle East enemies such as Saudi Arabia. So in the end, I’m betting that the deal will be done, and it will make the world a better place. But it’s not a sure thing by any means.

The engine behind the deal’s Republican-led opposition is Netanyahu and the Israel lobby. The top story in Sunday’s Jerusalem Post begins:

As if anyone had any doubt.


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The Iranian nuclear threat and other phantoms

The ‘framework agreement’ announced Thursday night in Lausanne is a lot better than no agreement. But an approach to Iran involving no sanctions and no hysteria would have been best of all.

NOTE: This post has been changed to reflect the author’s happy surprise that the framework agreement was not the dud he thought it would be – even after it was first announced – but is, according to all accounts, a very meaningful step.  

Remember the threat of North Korea going nuclear? The sanctions, the scare rhetoric from the United States, the specter of the craziest, cultiest nation on earth, one that starves its own people en masse, having the Bomb? So what happened? North Korea got the Bomb. They fired test shots until, in early 2013, it was recognized internationally that they’d built a nuclear weapon. Today Pyongyang is estimated to have a dozen to two dozen of them, plus missiles to fly them toward distant targets – the capability to destroy, for instance, nearby Seoul and Tokyo. By next year that nightmarish country is expected to have twice as many bombs as it’s got now.

So? Is anybody losing sleep? Are any South Koreans or Japanese fleeing their country?

No. The world has gotten used to a nuclear North Korea. It’s another danger to be dealt with, to contain, not something to go hysterical over. In hindsight, the world dealt with a nuclear Soviet Union and nuclear Communist China under, respectively, Stalin and Mao, two of the three most ruthless mass murderers of the last century, so it can deal with a nuclear North Korea.

And if necessary, with a nuclear Iran, too. If Tehran were to build nuclear weapons, the world – even Israel – would get used to it like the world, including Israel, got used to nuclear weapons in the hands of much crazier, incomparably more violent and aggressive countries than the Islamic Republic.

But the world’s leaders don’t see things this way, and Israel certainly doesn’t. They’ve decided they can’t let Iran get the Bomb, and that even starting a war would be preferable. (That one measly war wouldn’t stop Iran’s nuclear program is something world leaders and Israelis don’t discuss publicly.) So the “framework agreement” announced Thursday night between Iran and the U.S.-led world powers – assuming that it leads to a final pact by the June 30 deadline –...

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What's an Ashkenazi leftist to do?

One Ashkenazi leftist’s view of the post-election rumblings of class warfare between the “State of Tel Aviv” and the mainly Mizrahi periphery.

Last Tuesday’s election saw Likud’s traditional popular base — Mizrahim in the poor, development towns and cities of the Negev and Galilee, and poor neighborhoods and suburbs of the central region — vote for Likud and Netanyahu in very big numbers. This caused a backlash among many Ashkenazi liberals who voted Zionist Union and Meretz. They’re saying they are through caring about the Mizrahi poor; let them go to Bibi from now on. This, in turn, has caused a counter-backlash by many other Ashkenazi liberals and leftists, who are saying this is a racist, right-wing attitude, and that a big reason why poor Mizrahim vote Likud is because of Ashkenazi liberal offenses against them, past and present.

The following is my view of the Ashkenazi leftist/Mizrahi Likudnik divide. I want to stress that I am referring only to poor, generally under-educated Mizrahim who make up the base of Likud supporters. I am not talking about middle-class, well-educated Mizrahim, who I have a strong hunch leaned away from Likud and toward the more liberal parties in the election.

1. Israeli leftists, who are disproportionately Ashkenazi, want to be in solidarity with the “weakened” classes, which include the poor, under-educated segments of the Mizrahi population. But it turns out that the latter tend to hate Israeli leftists. They also hate the “weakened” classes who are not Jewish: Arabs and African refugees. In disproportionate numbers, they expressed that sentiment — against the Left and the Arabs (the Africans weren’t much of an issue) by voting for Bibi.

So what is an Israeli Ashkenazi leftist to do? If we lash out at Mizrahi Likudniks, we’re racists, which we don’t want to be, and if we blame them for their own racism, then we’re not good leftists, because good leftists don’t blame the “weakened” classes for anything. So we blame the powers that be, we blame Israeli capitalism, we blame Bibi — and, being good leftists, we blame ourselves. We’re racist, we live in a Tel Aviv bubble where everyone is just like us, we’re patronizing, we put the poor Mizrahim in miserable immigrant transit camps when they came to Israel in the ‘50s and ‘60s, we don’t listen to them, etc. And we think that if we take this fearless personal inventory, if...

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The silent majority of complacency: Israel's right-wing voters

The 20-kilometer road from “Israel proper” to the West Bank settlement of Ariel used to be narrow and slightly risky, running past a few Palestinian villages where teenagers might want to throw a rock at a passing car with yellow Israeli plates. But no more; now there’s a wide, sleek, protected highway that doesn’t pass anywhere near a Palestinian village, and on whose lanes not a single green Palestinian license plate can be seen. No, the status quo is not static.

Ariel itself seems much bigger than I remember, with wide boulevards swooping up and down the rim of the hilly city. City? It looks like a city, but there are only 20,000 people living here. This must be the biggest town of 20,000 in the world.

The billboards give an idea of how people here will be voting on Tuesday.

“It’s us or them – only Likud, only Netanyahu.”

“We’re through apologizing – Jewish Home – Bennett.”

“Tachlis (Bottom line), Liberman – Capital punishment for terrorists – Umm el-Fahm to Palestine.”

“Yahad – the Torah-true Right.”

On the second-to-last Friday afternoon before the election, at a local shopping center, Nadav Oshri, 67, a pensioner who worked in hospital maintenance and has lived here since 1980, tells me he’s voting Likud as always. He agrees with the central message of Likud and Jewish Home that the right wing’s rival, Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni’s Zionist Union slate, is “leftist” and “anti-Zionist,” pointing out that they want to divide the land with the Palestinians.

Why does he prefer Likud over Jewish Home? “First, I’m not a religious Jew, I’m traditional. And I like things to be done in a way that people will accept. I don’t like Bennett’s aggressiveness.”

Bella Olshansky, 53, a librarian married to a factory worker, Russian immigrants who’ve been living in Ariel for 19 years, tells me, “Bibi is weak – push him and he’ll give in.” What about Liberman? “We don’t need separate parties for the Russians or any other group.” Though secular, Olshansky is voting for Bennett. “I want somebody from the hard right. We moved to Ariel because of ideology, not for the lower price of housing, or not only for that.”

Then she says something I heard repeatedly from the people I interviewed in Ariel, Jerusalem and Bar Ilan University – “normal” settlers, the non-professional middle class, Russian immigrants, elderly Mizrahim and the moderate national...

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The lie at the heart of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress

You can’t describe a country as he described Iran and believe it will negotiate its own surrender.

First Netanyahu tells Congress that Iran is the modern Nazi Germany – bent on annihilating Israel, nuking America, conquering the world in the name of an evil ideology, and lying all the way to its goal. But then he says America can get this modern Nazi Germany to surrender – to give up its entire nuclear program and let inspectors inspect where and when they want, to give up its foreign policy and stop supporting its Shi’ite allies, to stop threatening to retaliate against an Israeli attack (what Netanyahu calls “threatening to annihilate Israel”), to behave exactly as Israel and the Republican Party want it to behave – and America can get this Iran to surrender without firing a shot! Just by negotiating! And keeping up the sanctions! Think of it – bringing Nazi Germany to its knees – without having to fight World War Two!

No wonder those idiots in Congress were giving him standing ovations. Bibi was promising them the Republicans’ notion of 72 virgins in heaven.

As Isaac Herzog likes to say, Enough, Bibi, enough. He was lying, once again. Bibi doesn’t believe there’s a “better deal” to be had in the negotiations with Iran; the only better deal he believes in is war. That’s what he wants America to do, either with or without Israel – that’s what he’s always wanted: to bomb Iran to its knees. But he knows that won’t fly in the U.S. anymore, so he tells Congress they can successfully demand terms of surrender from Iran in the negotiations – and then, when the Iranians walk away, well, that leaves no option but war! See, he told the Americans to try the old jaw jaw, but those Nazis in Tehran didn’t leave America and/or Israel any choice but war war, as his good friend and supporter Winston Churchill used to say.

Luckily, the Obama administration doesn’t buy this bullshit. It’s just such a shame and disgrace that so many Israelis and American Jews do – or pretend to.

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Is an anti-occupation revolt brewing in the British Jewish establishment?

Leader in top communal organization announces he is leaving post to speak out freely against Israeli policies — and gets standing ovation from membership.

For many years I have felt that the only way to end the occupation is through outside pressure because Israel is just scorched earth politically, and will never do it on its own. On that basis, the announcement last week by a prominent figure in the British Jewish establishment, and the reaction to it by his colleagues, was a more hopeful sign than anything that’s happened in the current Israeli campaign or is about to happen on Election Day on March 17.

What happened was that Laurence Brass, treasurer of the leading British Jewish organization, the Board of Deputies, told a meeting of the board’s plenary that he was quitting the leadership ranks after the board’s May election, The Jewish Chronicle reported. The reason, he told the plenary, was:

When he had tried to voice his opinions in the past, he said he faced “very harsh and often quite abusive personal criticism …”

What’s even more encouraging is that Brass, according to The Jewish Chronicle, “received a standing ovation after his speech.”

Is something happening in the British Jewish establishment? It sure seems that way. It sounds like there’s a potential revolt against Israeli policies simmering in the ranks of the most pro-Israel – or supposedly most pro-Israel – citizens in all of Great Britain.

When I look at how far the international movement against the occupation has to go before it will be strong enough to force Israel’s hand, I tend to despair. But then I see how mortally frightened the Israeli and pro-Israeli establishment is of this movement, and I say – maybe something is brewing here.

The attempt to muzzle Brass when he first began speaking out, following his visit to the West Bank last spring, was remarkable for the fear it revealed on the part of Israel’s mouthpieces. A lone individual, the treasurer of the British Board of Deputies, starts criticizing the occupation – and NGO Monitor’s hit man-in-chief Gerald Steinberg, as well as Netanyahu’s former head of hasbara and current head of the blue-chip Institute for Zionist...

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Why Israel picks fights with Hezbollah

And why it will probably pick another one before too long.

After Hezbollah’s fatal attack on Israeli soldiers Wednesday, the two enemy sides are in a rare configuration: they’re even. Israel killed six Hezbollah guerrillas and an Iranian general on January 18, so Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven more, and now they’re quits, for the time being. They each told UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon that they didn’t want to escalate things anymore, they wanted calm, and that clearly seems to be the case today.

What an opportunity. From this point forward, Israel and Hezbollah could start fresh, they could each decide not to attack the other, and, in theory, this unofficial cease-fire could last indefinitely.

I believe Hezbollah would go for that, for one simple reason – they know Israel is the incomparably stronger side (which is why they absorbed so many Israeli attacks in the last couple of years with very little response, until Wednesday). They know that starting up with Israel would get them bashed up badly. I think Hezbollah’s ally Iran would go for an indefinite, unofficial cease-fire too – for the same reason – and so would their ally Syria.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Israel would accept that arrangement. The strong in this world get away with things the weak wouldn’t dream of trying, and Israel flies spy jets and drones over Lebanon regularly, it blows up sophisticated weapons on their way from Syria to Hezbollah, and it assassinates Hezbollah and Syrian military officers as well as Iranian nuclear scientists and generals.

Would Israel be willing to give up all those prerogatives in return for Hezbollah unofficially putting down its weapons? I don’t think so, because Israel is filled with too much fear and aggression to trust its deterrent power; instead, it trusts the use of force.

And lately Israel has been zooming in on a whole new Hezbollah “threat” it must “defend against”: the organization’s recent military build-up on the Syrian Golan Heights, across the border from Israel.

After the Hezbollah attack, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “For a while, Iran has been trying, through the Hezbollah, to form an additional terror front against us from the Golan Heights. We are acting with resolve and responsibility against this effort.”

This is Israeli paranoia at work. Hezbollah isn’t gunning for Israel from the Syrian Golan Heights, it’s defending the territory...

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Netanyahu on how his old U.S. high school ‘changed’

More evidence that his racism doesn’t stop at Arabs.

I’ve never written about a particular comment Bibi Netanyahu made when I interviewed him in the summer of 1993, because as objective evidence of anti-black racism, it’s not exactly slam-dunk.

But this weekend Netanyahu accused Israel’s friendliest, most unthreatening Arab public figure, broadcaster-turned-candidate Zohair Bahloul, of “praising Hezbollah” in a court testimony. What Bahloul actually said was the exact opposite. For Netanyahu this was a personal low in terms of anti-Arab racism, which takes some effort. And recently I saw a Washington Post account of the blatant anti-Hispanic racism Netanyahu showed in a 2002 speech to white Texans, which was perfectly in line with the anti-Hispanic attitudes he expressed in his 1993 book “A Place Among the Nations – Israel and the World.”

So even if the evidence I’ve gathered of Netanyahu’s anti-black racism is not conclusive, not undeniable, it was a tell-tale sign as far as I’m concerned. And between his documented disdain for Hispanics and his ever-deepening contempt for Arabs, Netanyahu is coming into focus not just as an Israeli Jewish hater of Arabs, but as an old-fashioned white bigot. So I want to put that comment he made to me in early summer 1993 on the record.

Netanyahu had just been elected leader of the Likud, and I was doing a magazine profile of him. The interview, conducted in English, took place in his Jerusalem office. Before we started, we made small talk, and I mentioned the high school he’d gone to, Cheltenham High, just outside Philadelphia. He said it had been a very good school when he was there in the mid-60s. Then, with a conspiratorial expression on his face, he added:

“It’s changed.”

His meaning was clear to me: Cheltenham was a good, white school when he was there, then the blacks moved in and it went to hell. There’s no other reasonable interpretation of those words in the mouth of a person who lived in America in the 1960s and 1970s, when they’re directed in private, presumably off the record, to an American immigrant of roughly the same age, and when they’re accompanied by a conspiratorial look on one’s face.

The Wikipedia entry on Cheltenham High School, one of the oldest in Pennsylvania, says that as of the 2011-12 school year, the student body there was 49% Black, 40% White, 7%...

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Israeli air strike in Syria: Lies, aggression — at what cost?

From close up, the assassination of a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general was probably preemption. In the big picture, it was definitely aggression.

During the Second Intifada, (late 2000-2004) Israel made a habit of carrying out “targeted assassinations” of Palestinian militant leaders. The Palestinians, in turn, had a predilection for blowing up buses and cafes. After an assassination of a high-up Hamasnik or Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades man, some Israelis and many foreigners would question whether it was a good idea, whether it was worth the risk, given the likelihood that the Palestinians would be out for revenge. The routine response from the national leadership was that these Palestinian terrorists are always trying to kill as many Israelis as they can, no matter what Israel does or doesn’t do, so targeted assassinations do not put Israelis in any more danger than they’re already in.

Yet after every targeted assassination of a major Palestinian figure, the political, military and intelligence heads would warn the public that the threat level had just gone red, so they should be on high alert, keep their eyes open.

And I would wonder: if Palestinian terrorists are not influenced by Israeli targeted assassinations, why do Israel’s authorities put the public on high alert after each one?

The answer was that Israel’s authorities – the prime minister, defense minister, IDF, Shin Bet and Mossad – were bullshitting themselves and the public. They wanted to kill big-time terrorists, and they didn’t want to be put off by the risk of major revenge attacks, so they decided that there was no risk, and peddled that bullshit to the public.

Which brings us to Israel’s air strike on Sunday in the Syrian Golan Heights, which killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general and six Hezbollah fighters, including Jihad Mughniyeh, son of Imad Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah military chief whom Israel assassinated seven years ago.

Another head-on contradiction

The security establishment and “Western intelligence sources” immediately put out the word that Mughniyeh “was already planning, and had prepared, more major murderous attacks against Israel in the Golan Heights. These attacks include rocket fire, infiltrations, explosive devices, anti-tank missile fire, etc., with the goal of killing soldiers, hitting Israeli communities in the Golan Heights and killing Israeli civilians,” according to Yedioth Ahronoth, echoing the general coverage.

At the same time, though, Israeli authorities were saying that Hezbollah was not expected to...

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No, Mr. Netanyahu, answers to terrorism are not all the same

The prime minister compares Israel’s predicament with the Palestinians to France’s current one with jihadists, but the true comparison is to France’s struggle with Algeria in the 1950s and early 1960s.

In Paris early this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drove home a message he’s been delivering for decades: “Israel supports Europe in its fight against terrorism, and it’s time Europe support Israel in the same exact struggle.”

But he’s wrong. Europe and Israel are not caught up in the same struggle. They don’t face the same terrorism, either.

Despite Netanyahu’s claim, which he says was only reinforced by the jihadist murder spree in the French capital, Islamist terrorism against a country, France, that is not ruling over any Muslim nation cannot be compared to Islamist terror against a country, Israel, that is.

France is not doing anything to any Muslim nation to warrant violent attacks by Muslims. There is nothing France can do against jihadism but fight it.

Contrast this with the terrorism France faced in the 1950s and early 1960s from Algerian guerrillas. At the time France held Algeria under colonial rule, as it had for over a century. In 1962, after years of fighting what it characterized as a war against terrorism, the French ended it by finally getting out of Algeria and granting the country its independence.

Netanyahu compares Israel’s predicament with the Palestinians to France’s current one with jihadists, but the true comparison is to France’s struggle with Algeria.

Israel has been ruling the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip against their will since the 1967 Six Day War. (Israel withdrew from Gaza’s interior in 2005, but maintains harsh control over its borders, coast and airspace, thus keeping it under occupation.) The main threat of terror facing Israel comes from Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs Gaza in the shadow of Israel’s army.

In Paris, Netanyahu lumped Hamas together with global jihadist groups such as Al Qaida and ISIS, whose stamps were on the murders of cartoonists, police officers and Jewish shoppers in Paris. Hamas runs a frightful regime, it can fairly be called an Islamofascist movement, its charter contains anti-Semitic declarations, and its denunciation of the Paris massacres should be taken with several grains of salt. But none of that justifies Israel’s blockade of the Strip and its throttling of nearly 2 million Gazans. And nothing whatsoever justifies Israel’s full-on military dictatorship...

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France needs no one's advice on fighting Islamist terror

A look at the facts.

In Israel and America, France has this reputation of being the ultimate effete, left-liberal country – so politically correct, so multiculti, so morally relativist and scared to death of offending any minority, especially Muslims, that it’s incapable of dealing with the threat of jihadist terror. Israelis and Americans (led of course by Bibi Netanyahu) are now lecturing the French that they have to wake up, get tough, crack down on these bastards or they’re going to be conquered by them.  (A lot of right-wing French are saying the same thing.)

I don’t think that’s going to happen. When it comes to fighting Islamist terrorism, the French are world-beaters – going back to the 1980s. It’s difficult to say which attack was France’s 9/11, but it happened a long time before the massacre at Charlie Hebdo. France probably has the West’s toughest laws against terrorism, and it has no problem targeting Muslim suspects. One other thing – France’s mainstream Muslim population joins the rest of the country (except for adamant civil liberties advocates) in supporting the policy. And another point – France’s fight against terror is aided greatly by undercover French Muslim agents infiltrating certain mosques.

Two weeks after 9/11, TIME Magazine ran a story whose title pretty much tells it all: “Fighting Terrorism: Lessons from France.” Given the popular images of France and America today, it’s a real jaw-dropper to read:

And from a 2004 Washington Post article, “French push limits in fight on terror”:

While other Western countries debate the proper balance between security and individual rights, France has experienced scant public dissent over tactics that would be controversial, if not illegal, in the United States and some other countries.

France has embraced a law enforcement strategy that relies heavily on preemptive arrests, ethnic profiling and an efficient domestic intelligence-gathering network.

The Directorate of Surveillance of the Territory, the domestic intelligence agency, employs a large number of Arabic speakers and Muslims to infiltrate radical groups, according to anti-terrorism experts here.

Other countries, including the United States, have long-standing policies that restrict law enforcement agents from...

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