On French anti-Semitism
From a Jew living in France
I AM A JEW -- therefore I am forwarding this to everyone on all my e-mail lists...I will not sit back and do nothing." Nowhere have the flames of anti-Semitism burned more furiously than in France:
In Lyon, a car was rammed into a synagogue and set on fire. In
Montpellier, the Jewish religious center was firebombed; so were synagogues in Strasbourg and Marseilles; so was a Jewish school in Creteil.
A Jewish sports club in Toulouse was attacked with Molotov cocktails, and on the statue of Alfred Dreyfus in Paris, the words "Dirty Jew" were painted.
In Bondy, 15 men beat up members of a Jewish football team with sticks and metal bars. The bus that takes Jewish children to school in Aubervilliers has been attacked three times in the last 14 months.
According to the police, metropolitan Paris has seen 10 to 12
anti-Jewish incidents per day since Easter. Walls in Jewish
neighborhoods have been defaced with slogans proclaiming "Jews to the gas chambers" and "Death to the Jews."
The weekly journal Le Nouvel Observateur published an appalling libel: It said Israeli soldiers rape Palestinian women, so that their relatives will kill them to preserve "family honor."
The French ambassador to Great Britain was not sacked -- and did not apologize -- when it was learned that he had told guests at a London dinner that the world's troubles were the fault of "...that shitty little country, Israel.
"At the start of the 21st century," writes Pierre-Andre Taguieff, a well-known social scientist, in a new book, "we are discovering that Jews are once again select targets of violence. . . Hatred of the Jews has returned to France." But of course, it never left. Not France; not Europe.
Anti-Semitism, the oldest bigotry known to man, has been a part of European society since time immemorial. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, open Jew-hatred became unfashionable; but fashions change, and Europe is reverting to type.
To be sure, some Europeans are shocked by the re-emergence of Jew- hatred all over their continent. But the more common reaction has been complacency. "Stop saying that there is anti-Semitism in France," President Jacques Chirac scolded a Jewish editor in January. "There is no anti-Semitism in France."
French Anti-Semitism: Finally and long overdue, your people, oppressed and disgraced by hatred and maliciousness, have achieved justice: now you enjoy full citizen's rights, but you'll remain Jews nonetheless." Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872), Austrian author.
A gunman opened fire on a kosher butcher's shop (and, of course, the butcher) in Toulouse, France; a Jewish couple in their 20s were beaten up by five men in Villeurbanne, France. The woman was pregnant; a Jewish school was broken into and vandalized in Sarcelles, France. This was in the past week.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, from September 9, 2000, at the start of the Intifada, through November 20, 2001, there were some 330 acts of anti-Semitism just in and around Paris. In addition to literally scores of firebombing of synagogues, just before Rosh Hashanah, 200 Arabs attacked Jews on the Champs Elysee. The pace has only picked up since then:
In December, a French cinema in Paris refused to allow a Hanukah showing of Harry Potter to 800 Jewish children because of French- Palestinian threats (the threats were confirmed by French police who then went on to do nothing, not even giving details). It was one incident in an eventful month when synagogues continued to be firebombed and a Jewish kindergarten was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti and set ablaze.
We can understand anti-Semitism among the French people. There is nothing the French love like their traditions and, on the question of hating Jews, they certainly have tradition galore. What, however, can explain the sometimes muted, sometimes defensively outraged reaction of French officials?
Simple. There are approximately 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 Muslims presently living in France and many more arrive daily. There are only a bout 600,000 Jews still living in France. Moreover, France is the number one European exporter to Iraq, totalling over two billion dollars per year in exports since 2000. To those who are at a loss to explain why French elected officials seem "helpless" to stem the tide of anti-Semitism, I say that something smells awfully Vichy around here.
So I call on you, whether you are a fellow Jew, a friend, or merely a person with the capacity and desire to distinguish decency from depravity, to do, at least, these three simple things:
First, care enough to stay informed. Don't ever let yourself become deluded into thinking that this is not your fight.
Second, boycott France. Only the Arab countries are more toxically anti-Semitic and, unlike them, France exports more than just oil and hatred. So boycott their wines and their perfumes. Boycott their clothes and their foodstuffs. Boycott their movies.
Definitely boycott their shores. If we are resolved we can exert amazing pressure and, whatever else we may know about the French, we most certainly know that they are as a cobweb in a hurricane in the face of well directed pressure.
Third, send this along to your family, your friends, and your co-workers. Think of all of the people of good conscience that you know and let them know that you and the people that you care about need their help. The number one best selling book in France is "September 11: The Frightening Fraud," which argues that no plane ever hit the Pentagon.
Our only strength is the strength of our community and there can be no community without communication.
This is really scary stuff. Read it very carefully and thoroughly. We cannot allow this to continue.
You MUST pass it on to as many people as you know, so we can curb this hideous