Paris Update or, “Who Should I Believe? You or My Lying Eyes?”

 

This post begins and ends with an apology for being guilty of what’s driving me nuts. The other day I wrote what turned out to be a very widely-circulated post in response to a headline I saw on the Drudge Report: “Every Jew I Know Has Left Paris,” which linked to a Daily Mail article attributing the quote to Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle. Now, who should have known better than to trust a sensational headline? Who should have thought, “Drudge and The Daily Mail may not have quoted Mr. Pollard properly? Perhaps I should check to be sure?”

Yep, that would be me.

Stephen Pollard contacted me to let me know that this was not precisely what he said. You may read his own words in the Telegraph. They were “Anecdotally, every French Jew I know has either already left or is working out how to leave.” I agree that the words on Drudge are a sensationalized version of this, and not an accurate quote.

But I’m not sure that the words were so so far from his point as to suggest I missed it, so my response still stands. However, I apologize to Mr. Pollard for failing to treat with proper suspicion the things I see in the news, and ensure to my own satisfaction that the quote was entirely accurate. I’ve asked him to join us here on Ricochet to discuss his column — if ever he’d like to join a very civil conversation among friends — and hope that he’ll agree; I believe he’d find this a welcoming place.

Which brings me to my next point:

What the Hell? Why is every journalist in the world getting everything wrong? Where are all these idiot ideas about what’s going on in Paris coming from?

Which I believe I just answered.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of journalists are spreading ideas about France that are simply not true. They’re now in wide circulation in America, widely believed, and so wildly wrong that I don’t understand how anyone could believe them. Unless the world were, say, full of sensationalist and irresponsible journalists who can’t get their facts straight or properly confirm a quote. Which I guess is a possibility.

But some of these things are really untrue, and also important to understand. And I’m sure that they’re true because I’ve seen them. I do get a bit exercised when people keep insisting to me that my own eyes are lying because they know for a fact what they do because they read it on The Drudge Report.

Untruth 1: Muslim Silence

If another person tells me that “No Muslims are speaking out against this,” I will personally insert the entire Grand Mosquée de Paris in his orifices. How many more Jews do French Muslims have to save from terrorists — as one did at that Kosher deli (and fifteen of them, at that) — before people stop slandering them this way? Was the death of a cop who happened to be a Muslim and died trying to protect the victims of these animals not enough of a statement?

Is this enough? Or this? How about this:

In case you don’t understand, he is describing them as Satans. He is denouncing them as barbarians, criminals; he is saying we cannot stop weeping; he is saying they attacked liberty and the people who protect us; he is saying there can be no excuse, no qualification; that it is a disaster; they have outraged everything we treasure … and then he had to stop speaking, because he couldn’t keep from crying in public.

What more do you want? Have the people who keep saying Muslims refuse to denounce terrorism no decency? And why — in the first place — should every Muslim in the world be repeatedly insulted by the demand that they say they oppose murder? As far as I’m concerned, unless someone is either a murderer or someone who has clearly stated that he approves of murder, he or she is entitled to the presumption that he or she is opposed to it. Particularly if he or she is a member of a community that has recently been the object of it, not merely its subject.

Does France have a lot of home-grown, Islamist filth who murder or, at least, approve of murder? Indeed it does. I saw that with my own eyes folks, and in a particularly unpleasant way, so don’t don’t tell me it’s not true.

Does it also have many more Muslims who are appalled by this, outraged, and speaking up as loudly as they know how, to the point of screaming and wailing? To the point that it breaks my heart for them? It does: I saw thousands of them yesterday, too, perhaps tens of thousands. Do not tell my my eyes are lying. They are French citizens! They were born here. They have nowhere else to go.

And do not tell me they do. Not until you have personally spoken to one of them. One who has told you why she was born here. And I assure you, once you have, you will understand why he or she cannot go back. Does “Every one of my classmates was massacred by the Muslim Brotherhood in Algeria and I was the only one who survived, and only because my father had a shotgun” sound like a good enough reason? Do you want to look that woman in the face and say, “You have somewhere else to go to?” Well do it, if you want, but not in front of me.

Untruth 2: French Police Are Unarmed

480px-SIG_SAUER_SP_2022_with_magazine_and_reverseWhere did this idea come from? I’ve just seen this too many times and I can’t figure out why people believe it. What do people think those things on their hips are? Some kind of weird Gallic cellphone?

And I keep hearing this from people who laugh at journalists who confuse earplugs with bullets, too! If you can’t figure out that what the French police are carrying are weapons — and some very heavy firepower at that — I don’t think you’re in a position to laugh.

Now, at some point — because I know Ricochet is one of the few places where people will be interested in this — I will provide very full details of the kinds of weapons with which the French security forces are armed, and I know that many people here will appreciate that a SigPro 2022 is a perfectly reasonable choice for a standard service weapon. It’s not a cellphone and its magazine doesn’t hold earplugs. And it’s not the only kind of weapon they carry.

(Sidebar for those many who will be interested: Chamber: 9x19mm Para, .357SIG, .40 S&W; Weight with empty magazine: 760 g (9mm); 790 g (.40 & .357); Length: 187 mm; Barrel length: 99 mm; Capacity: 15 (9mm) or 12 (.40) rounds. Fitted with typical SIG frame-mounted decocker lever; slightly different from earlier SIGs in that there’s no separate disassembly lever on the frame and the slide release lever looks weird. Comes equipped, if you like, with a detachable silencer. Fixed sights dovetailed into the slide.)

So believe me, next person who tells me that French police are unarmed is… well, let’s just say I’m in no mood to defend to the death your right to say it, even with my own firearm.

Untruth 3: The French Themselves Are Unarmed

Which brings me to the next “I can’t believe people believe this” point. Why do people keep telling me that French citizens aren’t allowed to arm themselves? Of course they can. Limit of 1,000 rounds per weapon, but frankly, if you need more than that, you’ve got an aim problem, not a gun-control law problem. You can have up to 12 weapons. I don’t know how many you can handle at once — some of you may be unusually talented — but I suspect even the best of us wouldn’t use that many at once, and the best of sure wouldn’t have to.

Now, it is true that to acquire the amount of firepower I would ideally have in my apartment would put me at greater risk of dying of frustration with the amount of paperwork I’d have to fill out than of dying at the hands of a terrorist. But I suppose I don’t really need my own personal force de frappe, and probably wouldn’t even be able to acquire that all that easily even in the US. Though I suspect that if I filled out all the correct forms at my local préfecture, documented by several years’ worth of gas and electric bills, and submitted in triplicate, I could get even that.

Or I could do it the easy way: Believe me, if those bozos could get that many AKs in their hands despite being — and looking like — exactly the people who shouldn’t have them, I could get ten times as many in my apartment by tonight. It wouldn’t be my weapon of choice, for reasons those who can tell a bullet from an earplug will understand, so I’d probably go for something a bit more to my taste. But believe me, getting them wouldn’t be a problem. I mean: technically, it’s illegal to smoke weed in Paris. It sure doesn’t mean no one gets stoned.

Beyond that, for obvious reasons, I won’t further advertise all the details of my home protection strategy. But let’s put it this way: if I say, “I’m going to kill the next person who tells me I’m unable to arm myself in Paris,” you might consider taking my ability to do that literally.

Untruth 4: Neither The French Government Nor The French Has Shown Support for Jews

Where did you hear that one? When yesterday the President of the Republic said he’d call in the military to protect every synagogue, school, and kosher hot dog stand in France, even this Jew thought he was going overboard, martial law not being to my taste. Been there, done that. An enhanced police presence will be fine. As will better police training. As will listening to what your intelligence services are saying to you.

“But where are the signs saying Je suis Juif?” I hear. I throw up my hands at this point. See these? They’re not some elaborate photoshop conspiracy (and who would be behind that? I mean, the usual objects of conspiracy-theories are busy with more important things these days, I promise you.) I saw all of them yesterday with my own eyes.

Not my eyes lying. It’s your media, I’m afraid. So whoever is telling you that, ditch them.

And that’s all I’ve got to say for now.

Once again, my apologies to Stephen Pollard. Very careless of me, and I hope you’ll accept my apology as sincere. I hate it when jounalists do these things. It makes the world a vastly worse place. No one needs more arrant nonsense and sensationalism at a time like this. I’m sorry I contributed to the problem.

However, if you’d like to come to France and meet some Jews who aren’t leaving, I’d be happy to introduce you to them. I saw a lot of them yesterday. A lot of them feel just the way I do. Over our dead bodies. Literally.

But more likely: over yours, you terrorist scum. And yes, we do know how.

Image Credit: Tutti Frutti / Shutterstock.com

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There are 74 comments.

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  1. Moderator

    Many thanks for posting this. You might be interested in this one as well:

    French Mini-14

    French civilians are better armed than the Brits (not that this is saying much – the Brits actually have nearly disarmed themselves) and have a lively firearms hobbyist base. Where they are technically restrictive in France is with regards to the available civilian calibers – very difficult to acquire a “military” caliber (say 9mm Luger), so you are restricted to ammo choices that are not actually in use by any military. But they don’t have the same anti-gun paranoia that has plagued Britain for the last 40 years.

    On another note – there has been much talk here of “no-go” zones for police and EMT, and where women have to have their heads covered, etc. Could you address the accuracy of this claim?

    • #1
    • January 12, 2015, at 7:25 AM PDT
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  2. Thatcher

    Thanks for the Claire-ification! Nice to have the facts! Please staff safe.

    • #2
    • January 12, 2015, at 7:25 AM PDT
    • Like
  3. Inactive
    • #3
    • January 12, 2015, at 7:29 AM PDT
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  4. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    skipsul: On another note – there has been much talk here of “no-go” zones for police and EMT, and where women have to have their heads covered, etc. Could you address the accuracy of this claim?

    Accurate. Have written about it a lot, actually. Hold on–CHANCE TO SELL A BOOK. I must remember this! As other Ricochet members have reminded me, I tend to miss these.

    • #4
    • January 12, 2015, at 7:34 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Member

    Regarding the police being armed, I have a question. In Britain, the beat cops – beat Bobbies?- aren’t armed, but the SWAT teams are, or those doing drug raids and the like. Is that the case in France? I read somewhere that the first cops who responded in this attack were on bicycles and not armed. Is this true?

    • #5
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:02 AM PDT
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  6. Moderator

    Thanks, Claire. There are people who will not believe you because they only want to hear confirmation of what they already believe. I think you are a wonderful resource of Ricochet’s.

    • #6
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:09 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Inactive

    My wife is a Pakistani Muslim. She has friends and acquaintances whose children have been killed and kidnapped. She has friends who have been threatened. This kind of stuff happens in her hometown every day. She is terrified, sad, angry, frustrated. Her family and friends too.

    It’s easy to say moderate Muslims need to reform but what the hell are they supposed to do? Really. What?

    • #7
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:12 AM PDT
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  8. Thatcher

    Claire,

    Thank you for the clear reporting on France on the ground. You know well that the MSM never misses a photo op but could care less about a host of relevant facts that you have covered well.

    However, I have something on my mind that I would also like your opinion. I am going to quote Aaron Miller from the other post first as background.

    Aaron Miller

    Zafar, Abbas devoted his doctoral dissertation to denying the Holocaust. He presides over a country (by any other name) that spent recent years constructing a giant system of concrete tunnels for the purpose of kidnapping and murdering Jewish men, women, and children. Nothing – certainly not a presentation of “balance” – could justify his inclusion.

    If this march was a privately organized demonstration, then there might be cause for Netanyahu to respect their request to abstain. But it was not. Membership was not a condition of participation.

    I’m sure not every Jew in France is a Zionist. But Israel must be involved in any international discussions of this massacre to remind the world that this is why Israel exists and why Europe’s Jews continue to emigrate there. Israel is now established and here to stay regardless of ongoing need. But any European who objects to the idea of a Jewish state must at least be willing to ensure similar protection and freedom for Jews in Europe. Netanyahu’s presence is a reminder of that.

    Aaron is quite correct in being concerned about the Abbas presence. It was required by Holland if Bibi were allowed to be there. My question is about who wasn’t there. Le Pen was excluded. I frankly found this hard to believe at first. She is a major political force in France. The line that she is an extremist is an exaggeration that the socialists want to maintain to keep control. The economy is a disaster. This whole episode makes the multi-cultural nihilism of the socialists look as it should, bankrupt. Here is an interview of Le Pen that I find interesting. The interviewer prejudges her completely and is rather offensive. Le Pen handles herself well and makes good sense.

    I’d rather you took a vacation and enjoyed yourself as you have earned it. Sorry, but this is of interest to me. Please give me your thoughts.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:23 AM PDT
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  9. Contributor

    Claire Berlinski:

    skipsul: On another note – there has been much talk here of “no-go” zones for police and EMT, and where women have to have their heads covered, etc. Could you address the accuracy of this claim?

    Accurate. Have written about it a lot, actually. Hold on–CHANCE TO SELL A BOOK. I must remember this! As other Ricochet members have reminded me, I tend to miss these.

    The idea of a “no-go” zone for cops is decidedly frightening. Since when do radicalized religious minorities get to maintain their own jurisprudence separate from that of a nation? That’s Balkanization in a very real sense.

    Also, why was the first cop to respond not armed? Was it just dumb, bad luck that he happened to be the first one to show up and happened to lack a sidearm?

    • #9
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Reagan
    iWe

    The United States spends more on its military than most other countries all rolled together. But it is the will to fight and win that is actually most important. We lose when we are not committed. Indeed, we turn victories into defeats (Vietnam and Iraq) with little more than discouraging speeches.

    In order for France to “win” it must stand for something. Civilizational confidence in Europe is at an all-time low. And it shows: jihadists are often home grown precisely because they aren’t buying the static socialist paradise that stands for nothing greater than the maximization of hedonism.

    Firepower is not enough. It may be necessary, but it is surely not sufficient. In the Long View, France will be overrun, just as surely as the great cathedrals in Istanbul were converted into mosques

    “Moderate” Islam is also in a marketing battle. It, too, must convince people that it is the right way to go. And because terrorism can be carried out by so few people, it is not enough to get 90% or 99% – which is a far cry from the mere 64% of French Muslims who say that suicide bombings are never justified.

    I spend time in France on business. When I do so, I remove my head covering, comb back my sidelocks. Because when I have not hidden my Jewishness in the past, I was the recipient of nasty words and poorly-aimed rocks. There is a time and place to stand one’s ground. My family decided 10 years ago to abandon Western Europe to its demographic, cultural, and Islamic fate.

    • #10
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:37 AM PDT
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  11. Member

    Claire Berlinski: What the Hell? Why is every journalist in the world getting everything wrong? Where are all these idiot ideas about what’s going on in Paris coming from?

    Michael Crichton identified this situation some time ago and dubbed it the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

    I quote:

    Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

    • #11
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Carol:Regarding the police being armed, I have a question. In Britain, the beat cops – beat Bobbies?- aren’t armed, but the SWAT teams are, or those doing drug raids and the like. Is that the case in France? I read somewhere that the first cops who responded in this attack were on bicycles and not armed. Is this true?

    OK, subject for a post soon will be: What happened as best I saw it and understand it, the timeline, and the astonishing number of total screw-ups involved–not involving unarmed cops, but the failure to protect such an obvious terrorist target properly in the first place. I don’t know if the first responders were unarmed. By the time I got there (12:20), there was enough firepower coupled with enough very freaked-out cops to make me think, “Huh, people with common sense would get away with this situation, fast, but since I’m a journalist maybe I should ask what’s going on.” What is true is that one of the cops they killed was a 26-year-old traffic cop on the outskirts of the city: She was unarmed. She had only been assigned to active duty 15 days previously–which may have had something to do with that. I need to do a lot more research before I can say with confidence whether this would be a common situation: I’ve definitely seen armed traffic cops. It may be that I’ve only seen them in neighborhoods where that’s considered appropriate; it may be that for some bureaucratic reason you can be assigned to duty but not considered “properly trained for weapons yet” … dunno. But definitely, there were major screwups involved here: including the most obvious: If I’d wanted to do what they did without even entering the building, I could have done it from across the street. Look closely at the office (Google earth)–look like “proper understanding of perimeter security” to you?

    • #12
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Don Tillman:

    Claire Berlinski: What the Hell? Why is every journalist in the world getting everything wrong? Where are all these idiot ideas about what’s going on in Paris coming from?

    Michael Crichton identified this situation some time ago and dubbed it the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

    I quote:

    Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

    I more than “like” this because I’d never seen this before … and it’s sums it up so well. For any given subject I do know a lot about, I find myself infuriated with the way it’s being treated. And the realization, at some point in the past decade, that logic entails this must be true of everything else I’m reading has in fact led to a profound midlife epistemological crisis. I am not exaggerating in saying that.

    • #13
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:49 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    iWc:I spend time in France on business. When I do so, I remove my head covering, comb back my sidekicks. Because when I have not hidden my Jewishness in the past, I was the recipient of nasty words and poorly-aimed rocks.

    Just curious: Where exactly were you when this happened? As everywhere, neighborhood matters–and if you were in France for business, I’m assuming you were in a business district, where that would shock me. It wouldn’t shock me at all if you’d said it happened in neighborhoods where the only business is selling drugs and/or the places I’d shop for home protection if the bureaucracy seemed insurmountable. Can you remember the street, time of day?

    • #14
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:54 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Majestyk:

    Claire Berlinski:

    skipsul: On another note – there has been much talk here of “no-go” zones for police and EMT, and where women have to have their heads covered, etc. Could you address the accuracy of this claim?

    Accurate. Have written about it a lot, actually. Hold on–CHANCE TO SELL A BOOK. I must remember this! As other Ricochet members have reminded me, I tend to miss these.

    The idea of a “no-go” zone for cops is decidedly frightening. Since when do radicalized religious minorities get to maintain their own jurisprudence separate from that of a nation? That’s Balkanization in a very real sense.

    Also, why was the first cop to respond not armed? Was it just dumb, bad luck that he happened to be the first one to show up and happened to lack a sidearm?

    The first cop was armed–but killed. That was the one (and only) cop assigned to protect the office, which is part of the “incredible lack of protection assigned to an obvious terrorist target” story.

    • #15
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:56 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Reagan
    iWe

    Claire Berlinski: For any given subject I do know a lot about, I find myself infuriated with the way it’s being treated. And the realization, at some point in the past decade, that logic entails this must be true of everything else I’m reading

    Yes. I realized this when I was 15, and attending an AIPAC convention. The news coverage of the event and speeches bore no resemblance to what I was seeing, and I realized then and there that I would be foolish to ever assume a news report was factually correct.

    That single event probably went a long way to ensuring that every time thereafter that the media publicized some kind of scare, I knew that they were wrong. I was mocking Global Warming as soon as it popped up in the early 1990s. When the Mad Cow Disease scare hit England, I went out and stocked up on beef.

    The media are not trying to report the facts. They always – ALWAYS – have ulterior motives.

    • #16
    • January 12, 2015, at 8:59 AM PDT
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  17. Thatcher

    I’m sick of all being told, after a Muslim, or multiple Muslims, commit murder in the name of Islam, that Islam is not to blame, and or that not all Muslims are terrorists. No one, literally no one, has ever said that all Muslims are terrorists.

    But if Muslims are “repeatedly insulted by the demand that they say they oppose murder,” maybe it’s because they belong to a religion that condones murder.

    If you leave Islam: murder.

    If you’re a Jew: murder.

    If you’re a woman and have sex before marriage: murder.

    If you “insult” (there’s that word) Mohammed: murder.

    The list goes on.

    Islam is a murderous religion.

    So all these aggrieved Muslims can go stick their heads in the sand.

    • #17
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:00 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. Member

    James Gawron:Claire,

    Thank you for the clear reporting on France on the ground. You know well that the MSM never misses a photo op but could care less about a host of relevant facts that you have covered well.

    However, I have something on my mind that I would also like your opinion. I am going to quote Aaron Miller from the other post first as background.

    Aaron Miller

    Zafar, Abbas devoted his doctoral dissertation to denying the Holocaust. He presides over a country (by any other name) that spent recent years constructing a giant system of concrete tunnels for the purpose of kidnapping and murdering Jewish men, women, and children. Nothing – certainly not a presentation of “balance” – could justify his inclusion.

    If this march was a privately organized demonstration, then there might be cause for Netanyahu to respect their request to abstain. But it was not. Membership was not a condition of participation.

    I’m sure not every Jew in France is a Zionist. But Israel must be involved in any international discussions of this massacre to remind the world that this is why Israel exists and why Europe’s Jews continue to emigrate there. Israel is now established and here to stay regardless of ongoing need. But any European who objects to the idea of a Jewish state must at least be willing to ensure similar protection and freedom for Jews in Europe. Netanyahu’s presence is a reminder of that.

    Aaron is quite correct in being concerned about the Abbas presence. It was required by Holland if Bibi were allowed to be there. My question is about who wasn’t there. Le Pen was excluded. I frankly found this hard to believe at first. She is a major political force in France. The line that she is an extremist is an exaggeration that the socialists want to maintain to keep control. The economy is a disaster. This whole episode makes the multi-cultural nihilism of the socialists look as it should, bankrupt. Here is an interview of Le Pen that I find interesting. The interviewer prejudges her completely and is rather offensive. Le Pen handles herself well and makes good sense.

    I’d rather you took a vacation and enjoyed yourself as you have earned it. Sorry, but this is of interest to me. Please give me your thoughts.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Mme LePen sounds quite reasonable to me in this “interview.” Our current crop of pols seems incapable of even recognizing the existence and growing strength of those who want to destroy Western civilization altogether and impose sharia. I hope someone in the field for 2016 can find the gumption to also condemn Islamic fundamentalism and vow to fight it.

    • #18
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:02 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. Thatcher

    We are at war with Islam. Let’s stop sugar-coating the reality of thus by talking about “Islamic extremism.” As Andy McCarthy has written extensively, so-called “extremism” is in fact mainstream Islam.

    • #19
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:02 AM PDT
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  20. Member

    Pre 9/11 I had travelled to France as a tourist a few times. Naive young American that I was, I thought America was the gun and hyper-militarized and police culture, while Europe had evolved beyond that into some giant cafe culture. Boy, was I disabused of those notions. My memories include seeing 30 to 50 police lining a Paris street, all with machine guns. Then my stay in the countryside was cut short when the daughter of my French hosts was shot in the face! By a freak bullet fragment escaping from a shooting range – but still! Then it seemed I was continually strafed by military jets as I bicycled into Switzerland. And when I flew back home out of Amsterdam, I was suddenly manhandled at the Airport by 2 paramilitary guys with machine guns and a German Shepherd who had to see what was in my bags. To this day, I have never seen anything like these events in the US

    • #20
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. Reagan
    iWe

    Claire Berlinski: Just curious: Where exactly were you when this happened? As everywhere, neighborhood matters–and if you were in France for business, I’m assuming you were in a business district, where that would shock me. It wouldn’t shock me at all if you’d said it happened in neighborhoods where the only business is selling drugs and/or the places I’d shop for home protection if the bureaucracy seemed insurmountable. Can you remember the street, time of day?

    Le Marais. Weekday afternoon.

    When I lived in London, I attracted this kind of attention all the time, but it was only words. “We should have gassed you all.” “Satanic Rabbi.” “We should have let Hitler finish the job.” All from Caucasians. And many variations on “Dirty Jew.” I actually caused a traffic accident when the driver was so busy screaming at me (I was a pedestrian in the sidewalk) that his car clipped a central divider and blew out both tires. That was pretty satisfying from my perspective.

    Arabs in London are not so subtle. They prefer “Bin Laden! Bin Laden!” or, in the events which made me decide to leave, lots of “Kill the Jews!” signs, combined with physical assaults that almost killed friends of mine, knifings on the public transport, and a statement by police that Jews should not expect any support from police officers in the event of an altercation – we should know better than to be where we are not wanted.

    And what do the Jews in England say in response to these events? “It is worse in France.” True.

    • #21
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. Member

    Claire Berlinski:

    Don Tillman:

    Claire Berlinski: What the Hell? Why is every journalist in the world getting everything wrong? Where are all these idiot ideas about what’s going on in Paris coming from?

    Michael Crichton identified this situation some time ago and dubbed it the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

    I quote:

    Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

    I more than “like” this because I’d never seen this before … and it’s sums it up so well. For any given subject I do know a lot about, I find myself infuriated with the way it’s being treated. And the realization, at some point in the past decade, that logic entails this must be true of everything else I’m reading has in fact led to a profound midlife epistemological crisis. I am not exaggerating in saying that.

    That also is a fair tie-in to a problem that we’ve been dealing with lately in Europe (and to a lesser extent in the US) with Internet comments, particularly of Russian Kremlin keyboard warriors, some of which who are paid by the government.

    Recent media research has shown that no matter how truthful, or solid gold-plated the information is in a story, if you scroll down to comments that are diametrically opposed to the information presented, no matter how much the comment is composed of BS, the studies show that it causes doubt in a reader’s assessment of the factual information presented.

    • #22
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:27 AM PDT
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  23. Member

    Claire Berlinski:Beyond that, for obvious reasons, I won’t further advertise all the details of my home protection strategy. But let’s put it this way: if I say, “I’m going to kill the next person who tells me I’m unable to arm myself in Paris,” you might consider taking my ability to do that literally.

    This line made me chuckle. :-) A great read.

    • #23
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:31 AM PDT
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  24. Member

    iWc: “Moderate” Islam is also in a marketing battle. It, too, must convince people that it is the right way to go. And because terrorism can be carried out by so few people, it is not enough to get 90% or 99% – which is a far cry from the mere 64% of French Muslims who say that suicide bombings are never justified.

    This statistic largely explains the perception about Muslim silence, I think. Our perceptions of the world are of course skewed by the habit of journalistic corporations everywhere to favor sensationalism (and laziness) to increase profit margins. But in this case that sensationalism is combined with the sad reality that whenever some Muslim murders people there are more than a few Muslims in Western streets who are comfortable cheering for the slaughter.

    In a more sensible, self-respecting society, those cheerleaders would be slapped and beaten for daring to publicly applaud murder. Freedom of speech means one cannot be arrested or otherwise legally punished for voicing reprehensible views. It does not mean such blatant evil must or should be tolerated by fellow citizens in the public square.

    I agree, Claire, that we should generally assume a person condemns murder and explicit oppression without evidence to the contrary. Thank you for your corrections and clarifications. The Pollard quote didn’t need clarification, really, since the full quote is provided in the Daily Mail article.

    By the way, you might might interested in this article at Breitbart by Pamela Geller.

    • #24
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:44 AM PDT
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  25. Member

    Your column heartens me a lot, Claire. Perhaps we never hear the context because of the very problem you detest about contemporary journalism: it’s as shallow as its faulty headlines. On the other hand, as a lesbian I’m only too aware of the caricatures that so many gay people have of Christians, also (mostly) the creation of hyperbolic reporting. Some of it, though, is the result of a genuine conflict of values (i.e., modernity), and I think that’s what we have here as well.

    • #25
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:54 AM PDT
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  26. Inactive

    Albert Arthur: Islam is a murderous religion.

    Would you also agree that it isn’t a murderous religion at all? Because if you don’t then you don’t remotely understand the complexities of Islam or the problem we’re dealing with.

    We’re one Archduke away from total chaos and all anyone seems to care about is religion and freedom of speech.

    • #26
    • January 12, 2015, at 9:57 AM PDT
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  27. Member

    I second the comments on the Murray-Gellman effect. I have reached the point where I assume the news is blowing every story that isn’t just reporting on a press conference. And even those, sometimes…

    Opinion journalism -the old-style newspapers from 200 years ago -may be just as bad on the facts, but the fact that their wear their biases on their sleeve and that they argue with each other means that there will be opportunities to find the truth in there somewhere.

    True story -5 or 6 years ago I worked in a city of about 30k people in the City Manager’s office. Around the time I started, the local paper got a new reporter for the city hall beat. She was fresh out of college and didn’t know how government worked, at all, let alone how local government worked. Sometimes the interviews with the CM would be a 20 minute “background” explanation of how local governments work, followed by a 5 minute on the record interview. Now, the CM was basically honest, and everything he said squared with my knowledge (my expertise is in local government), but the reporter didn’t know that.

    She, at least, had the decency and sense to recognize that she didn’t know anything, and wanted to learn. (Though she might have been worried had she ever heard the mayor refer to the CM “breaking her in.”) But the journalists who rocket to the top in elite journalism, or worse, Vox? They have no clue.

    • #27
    • January 12, 2015, at 10:18 AM PDT
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  28. Reagan
    iWe

    Casey: We’re one Archduke away from total chaos and all anyone seems to care about is religion and freedom of speech.

    So how would you prioritize what we should be doing? I think we need to pick SOME clear line, and free speech seems like a good one to me.

    But maybe I am wrong. What do you suggest?

    • #28
    • January 12, 2015, at 10:21 AM PDT
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  29. Reagan
    iWe

    Tolerance of the beliefs of others is perhaps the single most astonishing product of the American Experiment. For the first time and place in history, it was universally acceptable for neighbors to worship a different deity, and nobody felt the obligation to use force of arms to set their fellows straight.

    I think that freedom of speech, freedom to offend, is the litmus test for that tolerance.

    • #29
    • January 12, 2015, at 10:29 AM PDT
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  30. Contributor

    Aaron Miller: By the way, you might might interested in this article at Breitbart by Pamela Geller.

    I was going to quote the article, in response to Claire’s assertion that better police training will do the job:

    Joseph himself has been stabbed, and his mother was assaulted because she was Jewish. Joseph recalls: “A couple of Muslim guys came in, popped her in the head, called her a dirty Jew, dirty Jewish whore. My mother went to the police station with her head banged up, went into the police station and said, ‘I was hit by Muslims, they called me a dirty Jew.’ The police officer looked my mother in the eye and said, ‘Well, you’re lucky you’re alive.’ Because as a Jew they shouldn’t be. My mother was shocked. And this is France today. I’m not even talking about the stabbings, the insults, the beatings. I’m not talking about that, because that is a daily occurrence that happens maybe 50, 60 times a day. And you’re afraid to go to the police station because if you go to the police station then you’re dead, because they’ll find where you live.”

    Claire, I’m skeptical that better police training is all that is needed to overcome such an environment.

    Perhaps Joseph is also exaggerating. Or maybe his story is true, but not representative. Nonetheless, there have been too many other incidents of murders and stabbings and shootings for me to discount this account in favor of your more sanguine take on the situation.

    • #30
    • January 12, 2015, at 10:30 AM PDT
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