Finally, A Voice Of Sanity

At a time when the most egregious lies about Israel are being devoured eagerly by most of the world, here is a voice of reason. Former Spanish Prime Minister   José María Aznar, writing in The Times this week, said:


If Israel goes down, we all go down


By José María Aznar



For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion.

In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship.

In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organised a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.


In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN.

Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.


Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.


Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.


Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.


For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.


The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfilment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.


The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East.

Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.


Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down.

To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.


The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith.

To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.


This cannot be allowed to happen. Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.


It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.


What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.


Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.


José María Aznar was prime minister of Spain between 1996 and 2004.

Flotilla Farce Redux

As I write this,  the British media is falling over itself to condemn Israel anew. Yesterday a boat bearing terrorists attempted to reach Israeli shores; Israel managed to reach them first and opened fire. As would the defence forces of any sane, democratic nation on our planet.

Of course, the BBC and the Daily Mail, among others, are horrified at this event – what, Jews, defending themselves against terrorism? Whatever next?!

The Mail suggests that this latest terror threat doesn’t actually exist, while the BBC persists in referring to the Islamic militants on board the flotilla as ‘aid workers’.


The British media should be anti terrorism – and as a result should have the decency to at least put forward Israeli responses. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that Brits themselves were being slaughtered by the same terrorists who this week are so cheerfully running rings about both Israel and the court of world opinion.

Here is Melanie Phillips – do note the edits at the end of her article, both of which are significant.

Peace convoy’? This was an Islamist terror ambush




As the international community rushes to condemn Israel for the violence on board one of the ships in the Gaza flotilla, which left a reported 10 people dead and dozens injured, it is now obvious that the real purpose of this ‘armada of hate’ was not merely the further delegitimisation of Israel but something far worse.


Gaza’s markets are full of produce, thousands of tons of supplies are travelling into Gaza every week through the Israeli-controlled border crossings, and there is no starvation or humanitarian crisis.

It was always obvious that the flotilla was not the humanitarian exercise it was said to be. Here is footage of the IDF offering to dock the Marmara — the main flotilla ship — at Ashdod and transfer its supplies and being told ‘Negative, negative, our destination is Gaza’.


And now we can see that the real purpose of this invasion — backed by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a radical Islamic organization outlawed by Israel in 2008 for allegedly serving as a major component in Hamas’s global fund-raising machine — was to incite a violent uprising in the Middle East and across the Islamic world. As I write, reports are coming in of Arab rioting in Jerusalem.


The notion – uncritically swallowed by the lazy, ignorant and bigoted BBC and other western media – that the flotilla organisers are ‘peace activists’ is simply ludicrous. This research by the Danish Institute for International Studies details the part played by the IHH in Islamist terror in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya.

According to the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere testifying at the Seattle trial of would-be al Qaeda Millenium bomber Ahmed Ressamin, the IHH had played ‘[a]n important role’ in the al Qaeda Millenium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles airport. It was also involved in weapons trafficking, and played in addition a key role in galvanizing anti-Western sentiment among Turkish Muslims in the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq. ‘Peace activists’ these people most certainly are not.


And this flotilla was but the latest jihadi attack, deploying the Islamists’ signature strategy of violence and media manipulation.

Here from MEMRI (via Just Journalism) is a clip showing the hysteria against Israel being whipped up on board before the ships set sail, with the chanting of intifada songs about ‘Khaybar’ – the iconic slaughter of Jews by Muslims in the 7th century which is used as a rallying cry to kill the Jews today — and threats of ‘martyrdom’. This was not merely a propaganda stunt, but a terrorist attack.


This is what the Jerusalem Post reported earlier today about what happened last night:

According to the IDF, the international activists ‘prepared a lynch’ for the soldiers who boarded the ships at about 2 a.m. Monday morning after calling on them to stop, or follow them to the Ashdod Port several hours earlier.

… Upon boarding the ships, the soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passengers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. The soldiers used non-lethal measures to disperse the crowd. The activists, according to an IDF report, succeeded in stealing two handguns from soldiers and opened fire, leading to an escalation in violence.


Also in the Jerusalem Post, David Horowitz wrote:


Benayahu said soldiers, who had been dispatched to block the flotilla because of fears that it was carrying weaponry and other highly dangerous cargo into the Hamas-controlled Strip, were attacked with knives and bars and sharpened metal implements.

Benayahu said two pistols that had been fired were subsequently found aboard the one ship, the Marmara, on which the violence erupted. And, most dramatically, he said that one IDF soldier had his weapon snatched away by one of the ‘peace activists’ on board, that this weapon was then turned against the IDF soldiers, who came under fire, and that they had no choice but to shoot back in self-defense.

… What seems urgent now is to make publicly available footage that shows exactly what did unfold. In early afternoon, video footage screened on Israel’s Channel 2 appeared to show one of those aboard the Marmara stabbing an IDF soldier. Any such footage should have been made available hours earlier. Critically, if footage showing a soldier’s weapon being snatched and turned on the IDF troops exists, it should be broadcast, and the sooner the better.


Some of this footage is now available on the web but much of it is hard to follow: as ever, the Israelis have been far too slow in making the most telling images and information available in comprehensible form (including in English rather than in Hebrew, for heaven’s sake!).

This clip appears to show masked and armed flotilla activists beating Israeli soldiers (although here is the BBC report accompanying that footage, in which the voiceover appears to be claiming, perversely, that the people in masks were Israeli soldiers. That said, the report on Radio Four’s World at One was fair and balanced).


This clip shows an Israeli soldier being stabbed. This IDF clip and this one show attacks on the commandoes including throwing one off the deck, attacking others with a metal pole and a firebomb and an attempted kidnap of another.


It is also becoming clearer as the day wears on that, far from storming the boats in order to attack those on board, the Israelis were hopelessly ill-prepared for the violence they encountered. Israel’s Channel 10 and IDF radio have reported that the Israeli naval commandos were equipped with paint ball rifles to ensure minimum casualties among the flotilla terrorists, with their hand guns to be used only as a last resort.

The terrorists tried connecting the steel cables from the overhead helicopters to the boat’s antenna, in order to cause the helicopters to crash. Only when the terrorists beat the soldiers with iron rods, stabbed them with knives and tried to lynch them did the soldiers respond. The Israeli commandoes were pushed down stairs, thrown overboard, and shot at.


Here is a report by an Israel army radio reporter on board:

‘The activists had many things ready for an attack on the soldiers,’ Lev-Rom said, ‘including, for instance, a box of 20-30 slingshots with metal balls; these can kill. There were also all sorts of knives and many similar things. These are what they call “cold” weapons, as opposed to live fire.  It was quite clear that a lynch had been prepared.’


Lev-Rom said, however, that it appears the army, ‘even though it prepared for many different scenarios, was not ready for this one. The army seems not to have known what type of people were there and what type of weapons they had. It was hard for Israel to conceive that the ship, sponsored by the country of Turkey, would have such weapons. Israel was prepared to deal with anarchists, and instead had to deal with terrorists – that’s the feeling here.’


Here** is an even more vivid account showing how unprepared the Israeli soldiers were:

Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.

However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.

One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other ‘don’t shoot, don’t shoot,’ even though they sustained numerous blows.

The Navy commandoes were prepared to mostly encounter political activists seeking to hold a protest, rather than trained street fighters. The soldiers were told they were to verbally convince activists who offer resistance to give up, and only then use paintballs. They were permitted to use their handguns only under extreme circumstances.

The planned rush towards the vessel’s bridge became impossible, even when a second chopper was brought in with another crew of soldiers. ‘Throw stun grenades,’ shouted Flotilla 13’s commander who monitored the operation. The Navy chief was not too far, on board a speedboat belonging to Flotilla 13, along with forces who attempted to climb into the back of the ship.

The forces hurled stun grenades, yet the rioters on the top deck, whose number swelled up to 30 by that time, kept on beating up about 30 commandoes who kept gliding their way one by one from the helicopter. At one point, the attackers nabbed one commando, wrested away his handgun, and threw him down from the top deck to the lower deck, 30 feet below. The soldier sustained a serious head wound and lost his consciousness.

Only after this injury did Flotilla 13 troops ask for permission to use live fire. The commander approved it: You can go ahead and fire. The soldiers pulled out their handguns and started shooting at the rioters’ legs, a move that ultimately neutralized them. Meanwhile, the rioters started to fire back at the commandoes.


It is becoming ever more clear that Islamist terror attacks like this are fiendishly staged theatrical events in which the western media – and beyond them, western governments — play an absolutely essential role in the drama.

If those media and governments refused to swallow the lies and instead called operations like this and the players behind it for what they actually are, such terrorist operations would not happen. The Islamist strategy of war against Israel is carefully calibrated to deploy the most effective weapon in its armoury in the cause of jihadi violence – the western media.

Right on cue, western governments accordingly deliver their own script in condemning the victims of terror for defending themselves. And so, courtesy of the west’s fifth columnists, yet another nail is driven into the west’s own coffin.


Let’s see whether this time the western elites show any signs of waking from their lethal trance.


Update: I am told that the Jewish Chronicle website was taken down earlier (now restored) by a massive denial of service, apparently to shut down its balanced coverage of the Ashdod flotilla incident. The JC’s teccies, and the server hosts, say this hasn’t been caused by just one or tw908o people — it’s clearly now co-ordinated and growing.


**Update 2: The journalist who wrote this account, Ron Ben-Yishai, cannot be accused of being an Israel government stooge: it was Ben-Yishai who in 1982 was first into the Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila in Beirut and blew the whistle on the massacre there that had been perpetrated by the Phalangists while Ariel Sharon looked the other way.

Since When Do ‘innocent aid workers’ STAB people?

Let’s be crystal clear on this: what happened was not a conflict between ‘innocent aid workers’ and Israeli soldiers. It was between armed, violent, gagging-to-fight Hamas supporters and the Israeli army.

Here, posted by the always vigilant Elder Of Ziyon, is footage of one of these ‘aid workers’ STABBING an Israeli:

Jewish Blood Doesn’t Sell Newspapers

Let’s say it like it is: Jewish blood doesn’t make good headlines.


Nobody gives a damn when young Israeli soldiers are attacked and all but killed by ‘aid workers’ and ‘peace activists’. The only story that sells is when Jews fight – or to be accurate, fight back.


Thus the world media is revelling in the latest clash between Israel and Hamas – and yes, it is between these two factions. Every single person present on that flotilla supported Hamas and its openly stated aim of destroying Israel.


For more detailed and accurate reporting than you’ll get anywhere else, here’s a briefing from the excellent  Honest Reporting:


Connected to Terror: Who is Behind the Flotilla?


The organizations and passengers behind the Gaza flotilla have been variously described as “peace activists” and “humanitarian organizations”. This could not be further from the truth. The primary objective of this flotilla was not to deliver aid packages to Gaza but to spread anti-Israel propaganda in cooperation with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Playing a central role in the flotilla is the Turkish IHH organization, which besides its legitimate philanthropic activities is also, according to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a supporter of radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements.

See here and here for detailed information on the IHH.

Amongst the other organizations involved in the flotilla is the International Solidarity Movement. The ISM has a shameful record of placing foreign nationals in danger through encouraging ‘direct action’, which resulted in the death of American citizen Rachel Corrie. In 2003, ISM’s extreme ideology was underscored when terrorists, originating from the UK, used ISM as a cover to attack Mike’s Place, while an ISM activist has been jailed in the US, charged with “giving about $20,000 to a group he knew supported Hamas.”

An Al-Jazeera report from May 28, translated below by PMW, shows activists on board before departing for Gaza, chanting Intifada songs aimed at Jews and praising martyrdom. Chants include “Intifada, intifada, intifada! Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews! The army of Mohammed will return!” relating to a seventh century massacre of Jews in Khaybar by early Muslims.


“Peace” Activists Used Deadly Violence


Despite claims that the activists on board were only prepared to resist the IDF peacefully, the reality was quite the opposite. Upon boarding the Marmara, owned and operated by the extremist IHH, Israeli naval personnel were attacked by activists who had prepared themselves with weapons including knives and clubs. This, despite the following statement from a Free Gaza spokesperson:

We were not going to pose any violent resistance. The only resistance that there might be would be passive resistance such as physically blocking the steering room, or blocking the engine room downstairs, so that they couldn’t get taken over. But that was just symbolic resistance.

Is the clip below showing an IDF soldier being attacked with a crowbar “symbolic resistance”?

In addition,  IDF forces apprehended two activists holding pistols. The activists took these pistols from IDF forces and apparently opened fire on the soldiers as evident by the empty pistol magazines. This goes  some way to explaining the number of casualties as live fire was exchanged as IDF forces found themselves under severe threat as evidenced by the number of injured Israeli soldiers and the types of injuries.

One soldier suffered a serious head injury, two others were injured by gunshots and one more was stabbed. A total of seven soldiers were wounded – four soldiers were moderately wounded, of which two were initially in critical condition, as well as an additional three soldiers who were lightly wounded.

A First-Hand Account

Israeli journalist Ron Ben-Yishai gives a first-hand account of the incident:

Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.

However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.

One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other “don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” even though they sustained numerous blows….

During the commotion, another commando was stabbed with a knife. In a later search aboard the Marmara, soldiers found caches of bats, clubs, knives, and slingshots used by the rioters ahead of the IDF takeover. It appeared the activists were well prepared for a fight.

Read the full account here.

See the IDF video footage taken from above the boarded vessel, showing Israeli soldiers under attack by clicking on the image below.

See more at the IDF’s YouTube channel.

Propaganda Not Humanitarianism

If there was any doubt that these organizations were unconcerned with universal human rights, this was confirmed by the rejection of a request from the family of Gilad Shalit for activists to pressure Hamas to allow international organizations to bring letters and food packages to the kidnapped soldier in exchange for the family’s support for the international expedition’s attempt to dock in Gaza.

In fact, Israel offered to transfer the supplies on the flotilla to Gaza from Ashdod port through official channels, an offer that was rejected in favor of confrontation on the part of the anti-Israel activists. As flotilla organizer Greta Berlin stated: “this mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege.”

The flotilla was clearly warned by the Israeli Navy in advance of the boarding and the offer repeated by the IDF.

A Legitimate and Legal Operation

IMRA asked Hebrew University international law expert Dr. Robbie Sabel about the legality of the IDF action in international waters.

Dr. Sabel explained that a state, in a time of conflict, can impose an embargo, and while it cannot carry out embargo activities in the territorial waters of a third party, it can carry out embargo activities in international waters.

Within this framework it is legal to detain a civilian vessel trying to break an embargo and if in the course of detaining the vessel, force is used against the forces carrying out the detention then that force has every right to act in self defense.

Dr. Sabel noted that there is a long history of embargo activities in international waters.

Indeed, according to the San Remo Manual that governs international humanitarian law, it is permissible under rule 67(a) to attack neutral vessels on the high seas when the vessels “are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture.”

Fatah: We Will Never Recognise Israel

Fatah leaders have declared that the group will never agree to recognise Israel’s right to exist – and that it will continue to wage war against the Jewish homeland.

 “Fatah does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, nor have we ever asked others to do so,” said senior Fatah member Rafik Natsheh, a close associate of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

In an interview with the pan-Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Natsheh scorned reports that Fatah had called on Hamas to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist:  “It’s all media nonsense. We don’t ask other factions to recognize Israel; we ourselves do not recognize Israel.”

Fatah runs the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Authority does recognise Israel; if it didn’t it would be ‘unable to serve the Palestinian people,” Natsheh explained. However, Fatah does not have such constraints.

Fatah will never stop attacking Israel. Natsheh stated:  “Let those who are deluding themselves hear: this will never happen.”

A second senior Fatah member, Azzam el-Ahmed, agreed that Fatah would not drop its call to wage war on Israel.

Natsheh and Ahmed gave interviews in advance of the Fatah general assembly in early August, in which the organization will meet to discuss its goals and to hold elections. The meeting will be the first in approximately 20 years.

Bangladeshi Journalist Charged With ‘Insulting’ Islam – Because He Suggested Peace With Israel

A Bangladeshi journalist and peace activist is being punished for refusing to condemn Israel. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury was charged with sedition, treason and insulting Islam in 2003.


Choudhury, 44, has worked hard to oppose Islamic extremism through his articles, in particular those for the Weekly Blitz which he started in 2003. He has also called for interfaith dialogue and for normalizing relations between Muslim countries and Israel.


Yet this week will see Choudhary back in court, charged with ‘insulting Islam’.  It is possible he will be sentenced to death for this ‘sedition’.


In a letter which was made public at the weekend, Choudhary says:


“According to my lawyers in Bangladesh, the government is determined to conclude the trial as soon as possible.No one knows what will be the verdict. But, of course, seeing the past track record, we cannot hold any hope for a good result because the court is not applying its judicial mind, but trying to appease the Islamists.”


Choudhary has already suffered violence for his views. In 2006, his newspaper offices were bombed, after he publicly expressed sympathy for the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam.

And in October of that year, he was attacked in his office by a mob that included prominent members of the then-ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which historically has aligned itself with Islamist parties in the country.


In March 2007,  US House Resolution 64 referred to Choudhury and protested his ongoing  “harassment and intimidation” as well as his incarceration in 2004 for 17 months without legal recourse, during which he was placed in solitary confinement and “suffered harsh interrogation techniques and received no treatment for a debilitating case of glaucoma.”


The House resolution called for the Bangladeshi government to “immediately drop all pending charges against Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury… and take steps to protect Mr. Choudhury.”

The Terrible Case Of Ilan Halimi: Update

.Some of you will recall my earlier posts on the terrible murder of French Jew Ilan Halimi.  Back in 2006, he was lured to an empty basement in Paris and then tortured for several weeks. His killers were members of a Muslim mob who have recently stood trial in France.

The latest news on this tragic case is that fourteen of the twenty-five gang members will be retried. This is because of  protests about their having received absurdly lenient sentences.  The French Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie intervened just three days after the gang members – or evil, racist bastards as I prefer to call them – were sentenced for the 2006 killing of Halimi.

The gang leader and chief bastard, one Youssouf Fofana,  was sentenced to life in prison. He was the only gang member convicted of murder. The other mob members were given prison terms shorter than recommended by the prosecuting attorney. This sparked a massive protest by French Jewish groups and Halimi’s family.

Among the fourteen who will be re-tried, are  two of Fofana’s main accomplices, as well as the woman who acted as the ‘honeytrap’ and lured Ilan Halimi to that isolated basement in the first place.

One key thing to remember about the murder of Ilan Halimi is that he was not a random victim. Fofana and his mob had been, by their own admission, fixated on finding and killing Jewish men for a considerable length of time. Anti semitism was not incidental to this murder – it was a fundamental cause.

Ilan Halimi was 23 and had everything in the world to look forward to. Yet he ended up being tortured and beaten for three weeks nonstop, before finally being set alight by his abusers and then left, naked, by a railway line. By the time someone found him, it was too late.