Geopolitics

Jihad Makes Anti-Semitism Deadly Again In Europe

Like the Toulouse shootings two years ago, the cold-blooded killings at Brussels' Jewish Museum show radical Islam mixing with anti-Semitism to target Jews 70 years after the Nazis' demise.

Tel Aviv funeral of the Israeli couple killed in the Brussels Jewish Museum shooting
Tel Aviv funeral of the Israeli couple killed in the Brussels Jewish Museum shooting

-Editorial-

PARIS — In early 21st century Europe, men, women and children are being killed for the sole reason that they are Jewish. These are not random attacks. They are targeted with precision and perpetrated against victims chosen for who they are, not for what they do or might have done.

The truth about the May 24 shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels is brutal and tragically simple. On the eve of the European Parliamentary elections, in the European Union's "capital" and just two weeks before the 70th anniversary of D-Day — a crucial step in the defeat of Nazism — anti-Semitism killed, again.

It will be up to a court to decide whether the Frenchman arrested yesterday in Marseille is responsible for last Saturday's killings. In mid-afternoon on that day, a man entered the Jewish Museum in Brussels' city center. He was carrying a bag from which he withdrew a gun before opening fire. He shot a dozen times before leaving, less than two minutes later. Four people were killed.

The events remind us of the March 19, 2012, crimes committed by Mohammed Merah at a Jewish school in the southern French city of Toulouse. He killed one teacher and three children in the school's playground because they were Jewish. As one girl tried to escape, Merah grabbed her by the hair and shot her in the head.

What's clear from both the Brussels and Toulouse shootings is that the pure racist hatred that is anti-Semitism is back.

The evidence strongly suggests that the suspect arrested Sunday is the killer. In his luggage, the police found an Kalashnikov assault rifle bearing inscriptions from a jihadist group fighting in Syria, a revolver, ammunition and a camera similar to that used by Merah to film and "sign" his crimes.

Like Merah, the young man seems to have combined gangsterism and jihadism, killing in the name of an al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist fight, for which Syria is the newest battlefield. He is said to have gone there for a year, like hundreds of other young Europeans, many of whom have north African origins. Syria has become a jihad training camp for these new terrorists.

The Internet, and more particularly Facebook, have served as recruitment and communication platforms. That's where jihadist groups broadcast their implausible ideological jumble, inspired by old-fashioned European anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories that flourish online. And these online meeting spaces are where they have resurrected the most horrific racist archetypes.

The liberalization of anti-Semitic rhetoric is a sign of the times, and it cannot simply be reduced to one or another geopolitical explanation. It is relayed by radical Islam and the diatribes of a too-famous French "humorist." Seeing it as mere police business would be like shirking our responsibilities.

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Society

How The Top Collector Of Chinese Art Evades Censors In New Hong Kong Museum

Swiss businessman Uli Sigg is the most important collector of Chinese contemporary art. In 2012, he gave away most of his collection to the M+ in Hong Kong. Now the museum has opened as the Communist Party is cracking down hard on freedom of expression. So how do you run a museum in the face of widespread censorship from Beijing?

''Rouge 1992'' by Li Shan at the M+ museum

Maximilian Kalkhof

The first test has been passed, Uli Sigg thinks. So far, everything has gone well. His new exhibition has opened, visitors like to come, and — this is the most important thing for the Swiss businessman — everything is on display. He has not had to take an exhibit off the list of works.

The M+ in Hong Kong is a new museum that wants to compete with the established ones. It wants to surpass the MoMa in New York and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Sigg, a rather down-to-earth man, says: “There is no better museum in the whole world.” That is very much self-praise, since Sigg’s own collection is central to the museum.

The only problem is: great art is often political; it questions the rulers. Since the Chinese Communist Party has been cracking down on critics and freedom in Hong Kong, the metropolis is a bad place for politics and art. So how did the collection get there?

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