by Nidra Poller
Apparently the Right is divided and heading for a big disappointment in the coming legislative elections (1st round June 11, 2nd round June 18th). Determined, a few short weeks ago, to grasp a legislative victory from the jaws of an unfair presidential defeat, les Républicains are reportedly fissured and wobbly. Candidates and voters have wilted like cut flowers under the hot sunshine of Macron's victory. Even though the party minus François Fillon has toned down the platform, they can't stop the drift of the centrist wing to Macron's La République en marche powerhouse. Whatever happens this time around, les Républicains will sooner or later regroup and fortify. But the Front National is really truly falling apart. Years of effort to turn the autocratic family affair into a pseudo-party cleansed of its disgraceful antecedents have come to naught. Marine the Chief messed up her campaign because she was micromanaged by several different lieutenants pushing incompatible unworkable policies. All bluff and bluster, they now look pitiful. And yet polls are predicting the FN and LR tied at 20%. I don't believe it.
Is it really possible to poll overall percentages for more than 500 separate races where countless local factors will determine the outcome for thousands candidates? In some districts there are as many as 17 candidates in the 1st round.
Does Macron's right hand man know what his left hand is doing?
Le Canard Enchaîné does not slumber and will not sleep. Having pushed François Fillon out of the race and into political oblivion, the muckrakers drew fresh blood from Emmanuel Macron's right hand man, Richard Ferrand, Minister of Territorial Cohesion and parliamentary candidate in the 6th district of the Finistère. We have already reported on Ferrand's indulgent donation to France Palestine Solidarité, one of those questionable charitable organizations with Islamist ties. Now it seems he was far more indulgent with regard to his companion, Sandrine Doucen. A lawyer directly involved in the transaction confirms allegations that Ferrand, acting as director of Les Mutuelles de Bretagne, saw no harm in the health insurance company contracting with Ms. Doucen in 2011 for the rental of a property she did not yet own as head of a company that did not yet exist when she made the bid. Monsieur Ferrand claims les Mutuelles got a good deal, the lawyer says they should have bought the property instead of renting from Ms. Doucen, Richard Ferrand says he and his companion are neither married nor joined by a civil contract. They hold no property in common. The whole affair is perfectly legitimate and voters know he is an honest man.
The parquet national financier (PNF) that investigated François Fillon within 24 hours of the Canard's revelations concerning his wife's employment as parliamentary assistant and rushed full speed ahead to the mise en examen that sunk his candidature sees no reason to investigate the Ferrand case. Ditto for the jurisdiction of Brest. By the way, monsieur Ferrand also employed his son as parliamentary assistant because, he says, he was the only qualified IT technician in the region. Will voters turn their backs on Ferrand the way they abandoned Fillon? Apparently not. Because LREM has made a priority of moralization of political life. The inimitable ultimate moralizer François Bayrou, propelled to the Olympian heights as Justice Minister, has not descended to street level to scold or forgive or even acknowledge the eventual misstep of Richard Ferrand. Other members of the new administration have forcefully declared that there is no reason for Ferrand to resign because there is no Ferrand scandal, all of this is a distraction from the top priority Moralization project.
François Bayrou's right hand woman, Marielle de Sarnez, is under investigation for an alleged falsified work contract for her EU Parliamentary assistant. A former member of Bayrou's party claims this was systematic practice. Which confirms my position on the Fillon political assassination: whatever he did, it did not betray the gentleman's agreement of French politics. If citizens want moralization, they should have said so before the campaign. But if they were stupid enough to be influenced by the manipulation they will probably give Macron the legislative majority he needs to clinch his power grab.
After assiduously following the presidential campaign for months and days, I ran out on the winner and his République and boarded an El Al flight to Israel on the 10th of May. Four hours and some minutes later, I landed in a paradigm shift. The first time I visited Israel more than 20 years ago I felt like I was picking up a conversation with close or distant family members that had already begun years or centuries ago. Since then, the impression is sustained and intensified. I'm there as if I'd never left, I leave as if I'll be back the next day.
So many thousands of words composed with the sincere conviction that what happens here in France will resound and ricochet, such scrupulous attention to detail and earnest effort to make the twists and turns of French politics comprehensible to the outside world...and it fades to insignificance as soon as I am immersed in the chorus of birdsong and the symphony of sunlight of Eretz, the land, that small plot of land that amplifies beyond geography. So much substance in such an intense concentration, so much confidence solidly anchored in courage, the vitality, the energy, the constant overcoming of obstacles. And always a touch of bewilderment from my friends and colleagues. All of them are world travelers, recognized experts, original thinkers, active, experienced, well-informed and struggling to understand European surrender, American Jewish naïveté, stubborn Western refusal to recognize that Israelis are doing what has to be done to defend themselves against the same enemy that is hacking away at our common foundations.
Their children or grandchildren are in the army, in harm's way. They've lost brothers and uncles, they've endured years of atrocious shahid attacks, car rammings, stabbings, and they aren't asking anyone to shield them from realty or to fight in their place. They're wondering why the proliferation of martyrdom operations throughout the Western world hasn't led to acknowledgement of a distinct similarity. Instead of which they see powerful European nations and the United States of America responding with flowers and candles to yet another mass murder and still one more and so many you can't even count them but there's always a politician, an NGO, an academic, a concerned citizen to scold Israel for its "harsh treatment of Palestinians."
When I turned on my computer that day and caught a glimpse of "...attack... 22 dead, 59 wounded...I thought the dateline would be Baghdad or Idlib. After reading my emails, I came back to the death toll... in Manchester. Biggest "terrorist" attack since July 7, 2005. Like survivors rising from the dust, feeling for arms and legs, we reach out to friends and family members whenever jihad strikes in their vicinity. All clear for my Manchester. But twenty-two, mostly young people, are dead. The joys of being in Israel are always mixed with tragic landmarks. The Dolphinarium; young people waiting in line at a concert hall on the beach. The Moment Café, now Café de Paris. Sbarro Pizzeria, the daughter of dear friends. Mike's Place. And the gutted buses. Twenty-eight Copts assassinated in their bus on the way to Ascension services in Egypt. We pass the Hyper Cacher at Porte de Vincennes on our way to the airport in Paris.
Only one explanation fits all: jihad. I have been writing about it for 17 years, I've learned from specialists who know more and knew sooner, but I learn quickly. In my books and articles I patiently explain the mechanisms, the strategy, the specific examples as they occur. Israel is the key. Not because I'm Jewish and a Zionist, but because 21st century jihad conquest starts there. The persistent "Mideast Conflict" misconception acts as blinders and hobbles our resistance against today's totalitarian juggernaut.
It requires colossal effort to admit such a monumental sustained error of analysis before finally drawing lessons from Israel's experience and stop condemning Israel for doing what we must sooner or later learn to do. As British authorities systematically locate and detain members of the Manchester cell, families mourn their dead. Life is tragic. Young people may die in accidents, of overdoses, murdered by vicious boyfriends or diabolical rivals but these are precisely accidents of life. Those that died in Manchester are casualties of a war that is being fought as if it were criminality. In the UK as in France, intelligence services can't possibly keep an eye on some 3,000 high priority security risks. They should be in preventive detention.
Europeans rightfully assert that nations with strict controls-e.g. Israel, Russia, the United States-are also vulnerable to death by "terrorism." Yes, but there is a difference between losing battles and not fighting a war.
President Trump in Arabia & points west
You follow a presidential campaign, listen attentively to candidates, observe their behavior and attitudes. Most of them are so far from fitting the bill that you can't believe voters will choose them. But they do. And suddenly the candidate turns into a president ferried around in motorcades, meeting other heads of state in palatial surroundings, making decisions of international scope, squiring a first lady whose outfits are a subject of international attention, and you see before your eyes what it means to take power.
So, what do you think about President Trump's visit? Will he make peace? The question was raised by various taxi drivers during my stay in Israel. I was invited to comment on the question on i24 news [French channel, May 21st, 9:30 PM]. The most emphatic discourse was delivered at my expense by the oversize driver of a rather shabby taxi that had picked me up at Givat Shaul in Jerusalem. When he asked my opinion, I astutely returned the serve and listened respectfully as he outlined, with increasing volume, his peace plan. Roughly speaking it was '67 borders, divided Jerusalem and the rest after you sign. He said he lived just 3 minutes from my destination in the German Colony. Would his corner of the German Colony, I ask naively, be part of the Palestinian state? He lives, precisely, in Abu Tor and, yes, he shouts at me, he wants to live in a Palestinian state because, he's furious, look at this, and pulls out an administrative document, do you know what this is, he hollers, boiling with anger. It was a 500-shekel traffic ticket. He had of course done nothing wrong. "They hate Arabs." 500 shekels, he'll work two days for nothing. And his little boy wants a new bicycle. It costs exactly 500 shekels. He's enraged!
My informant tells me that Trump can make peace, because they'll do whatever he says. But not with Abbas, he grabs the money. Arafat was good, everyone loved him, he didn't grab the money. Hamas is good, they don't grab the money. Who's the man that will make peace? Barghouti. Everyone loves him.
As we arrive at my destination I feel a tinge of regret. Why did I give him the exact address? I could have picked a corner 2 blocks away. What's your name, he asked. And I went into a cheerful riff about my jealous husband. What's your name? Hani. Aha, I laughed, can't you see my husband when I tell him Hani from Abu Tor is coming to visit me? On that bubbly note, Hani announces a price that's 20 shekels over the normal rate-a sleight of hand with the meter-and while I'm looking for the small change he's passing me his cell phone with a picture that I'm hoping isn't a Daesh snuff video, no it's his adorable little boy against a multicolor background and the upshot is he succeeds in making me forget I gave him a 100-shekel bill so the total ripoff is about 70 shekels. When I walk into the kitchen, M. is there, and I blurt out "I got ripped off by an Arab taxi driver." She recoils. "It could have been a Jewish taxi driver."
That's true. But he wouldn't have done it by peace processing me.
On the other hand, 70 shekels is not too much to pay for a live demonstration of peace processing strategy and tactics. The mixture of intimidation, humiliation-provoked rage, domestic politics, seduction and exploitation of children made me forget what I was doing, to his advantage, and he expects, with the unanimously admired leader Marwan Barghouti serving several life terms in an Israeli prison he will make Israel hand over its strategic depth and half of Jerusalem. I like the way he told me that Abu Tor is 3 minutes from the German Colony. If that's not breathing down your neck...
So what did I expect from President Donald J. Trump in Arabia & points west? A holy alliance with some 50 Muslim states against "terrorism"? An art of the deal approach to the 2-state solution? An everything must go closeout of the lessons of recent history? The ladies did not wear hijab, Bibi wasn't welcome at the kotel, you're both great guys ready to make peace and compromise, this is a fabulous opportunity, a swing through Yad Vashem noblesse oblige...
Am I supposed to believe that none of this matters? It doesn't matter what the president of the US says in his maiden voyage, with a retinue of 900, to the heart of the problem? It doesn't matter if the leader of the free world talks terrorism shop with his Muslim buddies that finance totalitarian Islam in our fair lands, stoke the fires of genocidal anti-Zionism, and subscribe to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights? Of course they'll be glad to have a Magen [shield of] David against Iran but that doesn't mean they're giving up their claims to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and all that's waqf under the sun. The close to 400 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia clinches the sellout.
The nuances escape me. If the brave new Mideast policy means pulling the 2-state "solution" out of history's garbage heap, burnishing it with one's own personal luster, and selling it for twice the original price, I have to reply that the deal is going nowhere. And if going nowhere with so much ballyhoo is some subtle way of outsmarting all the predecessors that went nowhere down the same rabbit hole, I repeat, the nuances escape me.
Which is why I will report in the very near future on a promising initiative piloted by my friend Mordechai Kedar: the 8-emirates solution. http://www.palestinianemirates.com
"Successful Arab leadership must be independent, local and firmly rooted with a traditional and homogenous sociological foundation. Israel and the world should recognize and support local leadership in the Arab Palestinian population centers that desire lasting peaceful relations as independent city-states
"The eight city-states would comprise the areas of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Jericho, Tul-Karm, Kalkilya, the Arab part of Hebron and the Gaza strip. Local residents would become citizens of these eight independent countries.
"Complex problems require simple, workable solutions. The Palestinian Emirates vision is a viable alternative based on the Arab sociology of tribalism in Gaza, Judea and Samaria."
I missed Israel apartheid week
It's embarrassing but sometimes enlightening to make a faux pas. T., who knows about my interest in developing the Ethiopia-Israel connection, introduces me to O., an Ethiopian Israeli lawyer. What did I have in mind when I ask her if she goes "home" often? She smiles and says, "This is home, I was born in Israel." In fact she's been to Ethiopia once. And has already sketched out a typically Israeli development project with her non-Ethiopian friend. We'll be working together in the near future. I call this photo of us on a windy afternoon on the Yaffo beach promenade is called "I missed Israeli apartheid week."
Women in full Islamic dress (but not niqab) frolic on the Yaffo beach a few meters away from women in bikinis. Orthodox Jews, moderate and observant Muslims, tourists, yuppies, Russians, people to and from everywhere enjoy the beach promenade that goes all the way from the Northern Port of Tel Aviv to the Yaffo Port. They mingle in beachfront restaurants and cafés, Arab and Jewish restaurants offer delicacies all up and down the narrow Yaffo streets. The call of the muezzin is broadcast over and above rap music here, Mediterranean music there. Muslim families bring their rugs, barbecue paraphernalia, and shishas to picnic on grassy stretches behind the promenade. A young man on horseback gallops down the promenade leading a second horse by the bridle and you're suddenly in Marrakesh! There is more juxtaposition than intermingling, but there too, I missed Israel apartheid week.
Friends and colleagues tell me success stories of proud to be Israeli Arabs. It's not mushy and rosy, nothing is in this tough neighborhood. It's a scattering and smattering, like the urban scene where shabby, dingy, crumbling properties stand side by side with the sleekly modern and everything is under construction and under repair. In the same way, the budding harmony of loyal Arab and Muslim citizens can flourish in a minefield of resentment, enemies within, brutal attacks.
Update Sarah Halimi
While I was in Israel, new and horrifying information about the jihad murder of Sarah Halimi was revealed. The victim's brother, William Attal, has declared, based on the police report, that Kada Traoré beat and tortured his sister for one hour before throwing her out the window. She had twelve fractures on her face and body. The walls were splattered with blood. Neighbors heard the screams and tumult. One neighbor, sick with disgust at what he heard, recorded six minutes of the killer shouting allahu akhbar and koranic verses as he battered his victim. The "mentally deranged" but agile Traoré climbed from his family's second floor apartment to the victim's third floor balcony and smashed the window to burst into her apartment. The police, it is reported, were in the building waiting for reinforcements. For one hour. While a Jew hating madman pummeled and smashed a defenseless woman. The extent of his rage is no surprise to us. But the police? One hour? Waiting for reinforcements? They didn't hear what the neighbor heard? How many years will we have to wait for a response from the authorities? A trial? A conviction. In the meantime, Traoré is in a mental hospital.
Now that the presidential election is over, the story bobbed up briefly in mainstream media. And disappeared.
N. said "She should have had a gun." O., a journalist, said "I was in Belleville between the 1st and 2nd round, covering the election. I went around, spoke to people, I didn't know anything about this murder. Nothing.
N.B. I'll be reporting on the first round of the legislative elections from the United States. Back to Paris in time for the final round.
First published in Family Security Matters.