Ilan Halimi

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Ilan Halimi (1982-2006) ...

Gabriel Piterberg reports (November 2013):[1]

Laor's non-fiction prose does not lend itself to succinct summary. Its forte is the juxtaposition of self-contained insights on a text – a film, a novel – or a fragment – a headline, a paragraph – which nevertheless cohere into a striking and original cultural critique. This is as true of Myths of Liberal Zionism as it was of Narratives with No Natives. Thus the lead essay in the latest collection, 'The Shoah Belongs to Us (Us, the Non-Muslims)', begins with the 'unprecedented spectacle' of the entire French political spectrum, including the racist extreme right, uniting in 2006 in a joint protest over the death of Ilan Halimi. This was unanimously described by the media as an anti-Semitic crime, even though the gang that abducted him may not have known at the time the young man was Jewish. Laor analyses the ideological uses to which the event was put: the 'new anti-Semitism' defined not by reference to the objective situation, but to an alleged perception ('many Jews see it as . . .'); the shadow of the Nazi past insistently presented as the immediate context – 'Memories of the 1940s, when France collaborated with the Nazis and sent tens of thousands of French Jews to death camps, have come flooding back', wrote the Haaretz correspondent – even when the supposed new anti-Semites had nothing to do with Europe's fascist past, and when such memories were the preserve of the over-60s.

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