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March 13, 2015

Under Attack, ISIS Threatens Jews and Israel

Screenshot from the ISIS video

Screenshot from the ISIS video

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) increasingly finds itself under attack in Iraq and Syria, it has used the murder of an individual it alleges was a Mossad spy to threaten Jews and Israel and thereby attempt to rally its supporters.

Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments are regularly utilized as tools by terrorist groups including ISIS to build support and mobilize followers.

The murder is depicted in a video with narration promising to conquer Jerusalem, praising the killing of Jews, and referring to anti-Semitic violence in France. Like the threats ISIS issued against Israel this summer, it maintains that the group is currently occupied in Syria and Iraq but aspires to attack Israel in the future.

Some quotes from the video include:

  • “O Jews, Allah has gifted us with killing your followers in your own stronghold in France”
  • “As for the near-term, you will witness the legions of the Khilafa pounding your lands and your fortresses. They will liberate Jerusalem from your filth, by Allah’s permission”
  • “Today we say to you, the Islamic conquests have begun, and the Jews have become frightened because the promise is near.”
  • “So we fight in Iraq and our eyes are on Jerusalem”

The video’s victim, an Arab-Israeli named Mohamed Musallam, is shot on camera by a boy who appears to be between 10 and 12 years old. Both the boy and the man supervising him are apparently French citizens, according to officials and news reports. Some experts believe that the man is Sabri Essid, reportedly the half-brother of Mohammed Merah. Merah is responsible for a 2011 shooting in a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, that left four dead, including three children.

At its conclusion, the video also names 13 other individuals, all of whom have Arab names, who it claims are spies for Israel. Several appear to be Musallam’s family members, including his father and brother. The video provides their names and maps their addresses. It also provides several pictures for most of the individuals it named. This information was reposted in a document that was also shared on Twitter.

According to his family, Musallam had traveled to Syria to join ISIS but later changed his mind and wanted to leave the group.

An ISIS supporter on Twitter wrote "Here is teh good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomorrow-God's willing - those cubs will kill the Jews."

An ISIS supporter on Twitter wrote “Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomorrow – God willing – those cubs will kill the Jews.”

Some ISIS supporters attempted to ensure the video was seen by Israelis by promoting the link with a trending Hebrew-language hashtag that translates to “the end that they don’t tell you.”

ISIS supporters online also responded to the video with additional anti-Semitic sentiments. One supporter, for example, tweeted, “For those who said why don’t you fight Israel. Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomorrow – God willing – those cubs will kill the Jews.” The term cubs is a reference to youth being indoctrinated to support ISIS, such as the boy in the video. ISIS militants are sometimes referred to as lions.

ISIS and its supporters have used anti-Semitism and threats against Israel to appeal to followers on multiple occasions, including through  threats against Israel this summer, a video issued in June 2014 that threatened Jews, and in a prominent speech by ISIS spokesman Mohammed al-Adnani that alleged Jews control U.S. foreign policy and are responsible for American intervention in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS supporters have also recently established a cyber-alliance with anti-Israel hackers in an attempt to increase cyber-attacks on behalf of ISIS.

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January 14, 2015

A French Jew Mourns a French Muslim Policeman

A guest blog by Eve Gani, Director of International Affairs, Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), ADL’s partner in France.

On January 11, millions of French citizens demonstrated in a historic moment of unity in defense of our democratic freedoms.  On January 13, we exercised one of those freedoms – freedom of religion – to bury 17 terror victims according to their respective families’ religious traditions, or absence of religious tradition: Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, atheist.

My colleagues at CRIF attended the Jewish funeral in Jerusalem and secular funerals in Paris.  I chose to attend the funeral of Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim policeman killed outside the Charlie Hebdo office.

I went with a Muslim friend, also a policeman.  I had met this friend a few months ago at a gala dinner to support the work of Latifa Ibn Ziaten, the mother of a Muslim soldier killed by Mohammed Merah, the terrorist who also murdered three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse. We came from two very different parts of French society, but both wanted to support Latifa Ibn Ziaten’s work with at-risk youth.

Immediately after the Charlie Hebdo attack, my friend called to alert me and urge us to be careful.  As he told me about the attack, his voice conveyed how nervous he was.  A policeman had been shot dead in the street, and he worried about his children’s future should the same happen to him. Recalling that conversation and the fact that a policewoman had also been shot in the interim, I knew I wanted to go with him to Ahmed Merabat’s funeral.

Funeral Procession of Ahmed Merabat

Funeral Procession of Ahmed Merabat

It was the first Muslim burial I had ever attended. During the prayers, I thought of the Muslim friends I have had through years, starting in high school. Some of them, like my Jewish friends, had left France. For Tunisia, London and Baltimore. They all wanted to build a better life, one safe from violence and all forms of hatred and bigotry.

At the burial, I saw Muslim colleagues of Ahmed proudly wearing their French Police uniforms, lay leaders from Muslim communities, a priest, and a rabbi.  The prayer leader thanked the Jews for attending and urged everyone to demonstrate their solidarity with the Jewish victims at an event in front of the kosher supermarket that was attacked.

Rector Dalil Boubakeur and others from the Grand Mosque of Paris were at the funeral, and we recalled a different meeting, not unrelated to the Charlie Hebdo terror attack.  Three years ago, CRIF and the Grand Mosque of Paris had organized an interfaith discussion on the topic of blasphemy and the laws of the Republic.  We underscored our common religious values and our common commitment to the rule of law, all of which the jihadists oppose.

Tragically, Charlie Hebdo was targeted because a jihadist interpretation of religion, incompatible with ours. And Ahmed, whose job was to enforce the law of the Republic, was killed on the way.

I watched as Ahmed’s coffin was borne by my friend.  My friend who fears to be next.

To my friend,

A French Muslim policeman,

May your children grow up in peace, with their father, in a France, respectful of and safe for all.


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March 28, 2012

Jihadists Pay Tribute to French Shooter Mohammed Merah

Members of several online jihadist forums have praised Mohammed Merah for his attacks on French Jews and soldiers. Comments on these forums include calls for similar lone-wolf attacks and describe Merah’s shootings as Allah’s revenge on France for its foreign policy and attitude toward Muslims.

Over the weekend, a video tribute to Merah entitled “The Lone Lion” also began circulating on the forums. The video begins with text commending Merah for killing “three French soldiers returning from Afghanistan” and “a Jewish rabbi and his children.” It also applauds him for fighting “the French special forces with courage until he was killed as a martyr.”

Funeral footage of Merah’s victims in France and Israel is juxtaposed with images of bleeding Palestinians and videos of Israeli airstrikes carried out by “the enemies of Allah, the Jews.” This section suggests the type of moral equivalence that Merah claimed prompted him to undertake his attacks. 

The video also includes recordings of Osama bin Laden speaking about a promised war “between us and the Jews” and of current Al Qaeda leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, describing England and the U.S. as legitimate targets because of the civilian casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza. 

The video concludes with a warning, apparently directed at French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that Merah’s wave of terror “is the beginning.”

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