Anti-Semitic violence has France’s Jews heading to the exits.
The violent, anti-Semitic nightmare Europe thought it would never see again after the Nazi Holocaust is raising its ugly head once more, this time on French soil.
Jew-hatred, mostly among France’s six and a half million Muslims, is reaching such threatening proportions that an increasing number of the country’s 500,000 Jews feel forced to leave their native land to ensure their safety. At one Jewish agency that assists French Jews to emigrate to Israel the telephone, it was reported, “does not stop ringing.
“For 2014, one will have to register a record number of departures of French Jews for Israel since its creation in 1948,” the agency’s director told the French newspaper Le Figaro. “It will safely exceed 5,000 people. In 2013, there were already 3,300, an increase of 73 percent compared with 2012.”
And one can expect the numbers to climb even higher after the recent displays of Jew-hatred in France that “shocked” and “dumbfounded” the country’s Jewish community. In two demonstrations on successive July weekends in central Paris, demonstrators, mostly Muslims of North African and Middle Eastern descent, allegedly protesting Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, shouted anti-Semitic slogans, attacked police, burned vehicles and damaged stores.
Authorities banned the second demonstration after the first one saw two synagogues and a kosher grocery store attacked, all accompanied by shouts of ‘Death to the Jews’. But the ban didn’t make any difference. The demonstration went ahead anyways. Mob rule and barbarism won out over law and order. And the government’s apparent powerlessness, or unwillingness, to enforce the ban was very noticeable.
“Saturday at the synagogue, there was only talk of packing one’s suitcases,” said the publication manager of a Jewish newspaper after the riots. “One has the feeling that this is only the start, that this is going to become more radical...”
According to Le Figaro, some young, French Jewish families are leaving both because of the country’s increasingly anti-Semitic climate, which, they believe, endangers their children, and the French economy’s poor performance. Representatives of France’s Jewish community told the newspaper parents fear putting their children into Jewish schools and summer camps because of possible anti-Semitic attacks. And who can blame them when one recalls French jihadist Mohammed Merah, who murdered four people, three of them children, at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012.
“In the face of civil society’s indifference, one senses a keen anxiety of some families concerning their ability to lead a quiet life of Jewish identity in France,” said the emigration agency director.
While this indifference is disturbing enough, the outright support the demonstrators receive from leftist segments of the French political class is equally disconcerting. France’s radical left parties, such as the Green, Communist and New Anti-Capitalist Party have made an alliance with the anti-Semitic demonstrators from the ‘banlieues’ (France’s immigrant ghettos). The New Anti-Capitalist Party, for example, helped organise the first demonstration, and a mayor, also a Green Party member, took part in the banned protest.
This alliance, according to French philosopher Robert Redeker, is due to radical leftists having abandoned their traditional hope of using the working class as the instrument to destroy society. To the radical left’s eternal disappointment, French workers were not revolutionary enough. But Muslim rioters are. In them, the extreme left sees the proletariat’s replacement in carrying out the historic duty of violent revolution.
Members of radical left parties have also made statements that are outrageous in content but nevertheless contribute to the increasingly poisonous and threatening anti-Semitic climate facing France’s Jews. For example, a French deputy to the Europe-Ecology-The Greens (EELV), another environmental political outfit, justified the attacks on the synagogues, claiming on Twitter they are like “embassies.
“When the synagogues are acting like embassies, it is not surprising that they are subjected to the same attacks as an embassy,” he wrote.
Unsurprisingly, the communists were also not behind in making similar, illogical claims to rationalise the violence and Jew-hatred. France’s Communist Party, along with the other radical left parties, was upset authorities banned the second demonstration. It issued a communique calling this measure a “very serious and extremely worrying hindrance concerning the right to demonstrate.” The communique also claimed “small, pro-Israeli groups” were the cause of the first demonstration’s “acts of violence and incitements to hatred.”
Well, one has to admit, it is nice to see someone finally calling for human rights and freedom of political expression while waving the hammer and sickle. But it seems to have escaped the French communists' notice, along with their party’s history between 1917 and 1991, that it was rioting, anti-Semitic Muslims attacking synagogues and not Jews attacking mosques that led to the ban. Besides, Islamists hardly need anyone to incite them to hate Jews. They’re self-starters.
One communist deputy to France’s national legislature even asked President Francois Hollande, in an open letter, to ban the Jewish Defense League (JDL), whose members defended the synagogues during the attacks. He called the JDL a “criminal, fascist organization,” since it was equally “responsible for the provocations” that led to the violence. Again, this particular communist politician needs a serious history lesson when it comes to “a criminal, fascist organisation.”
France’s mainstream Socialist Party (SP), which currently rules the country, is also a cause for concern. The head of France’s Jewish student union said Jewish students are still waiting for the government to “provide not only answers regarding security, but real proposals to re-establish co-existence in our neighbourhoods, our universities.
“We are posing questions on the ability of the Republic to protect its citizens,” he said.
These students might have to wait a while longer, however, if the SP’s left wing is charged with finding security and co-existence solutions, since it appears to be in the anti-Israel camp. Thirty-three SP deputies of the National Assembly signed a joint communique “for peace and justice in the Middle East” that was sent to media outlets. It called for “French and European authorities to use all their influence to stop immediately and without delay the violence which has been going on since July 8,” the date of Israel’s Gaza invasion. No mention was made of the rockets Hamas had fired at Israel prior to this date that brought about the Israeli military response.
“Together, we have the duty to use our freedom of expression and right to demonstrate peacefully,” the communique further stated.
Understandably, some editors took the communique as a SP call to demonstrate against Israel’s Gaza intervention at an upcoming protest march. Several signatories immediately denied this and blamed the media for misinterpretation, professing their opposition to anti-Semitism. However, about 30 SP deputies did take part in the authorised demonstration, which went off peacefully, possibly because the organizers had to put up security guarantees.
But the socialist deputies’ presence at the demonstration can be understood in a different, darker context as concerns France’s Jews. After the synagogue attacks, Francois Hollande, France’s president and SP leader, declared the fight against anti-Semitism “a national priority.” But the fact that a block of his party’s national deputies chose to be present at an event where anti-Semitic outbursts, possibly violent ones, could have occurred, shows they are not interested in any project that rejects this evil, even one initiated by their own leader. This also casts doubt on their professed anti-Semitism.
Even worse, the Socialist deputies’ presence at the protest can be viewed as a silent endorsement of the previous demonstrations’ anti-Semitic violence. While the extreme left directly supports such vileness by openly blaming the Jews, mainstream socialists are doing the same, but indirectly and with subtlety. Which can only encourage further, anti-Jewish attacks.
France’s Jewish community should also not place much hope on their country’s political class resolving the deteriorating security situation, which, some believe, is now not only unresolvable but “explosive.” Hollande himself, for example, switched from a pro-Israeli position at the start of the Gaza conflict to one now termed “balanced.” This was obviously done to please France’s Muslims, which his party regards as a voting constituency. So after first appearing resolute in supporting Israel, he is now vacillating. France's Jews can probably expect similar treatment in the future, especially around election time. Besides, one also must be quite cynical to begin with to be able to strike a “balanced” position between Israel and Hamas.
Considering the recent anti-Semitic riots and jihadist attacks their community has endured over the years, including murders, it is no surprise Jews are fleeing France in record numbers. And it is wise they do so, since, with increasing Muslim immigration, one can only expect a corresponding rise in anti-Semitism. No one speaks of a decrease.
But the best reason for France’s Jews to emigrate was revealed in the open letter the communist deputy sent to Hollande, calling for the JDF’s banning. By wanting to strip the synagogues of any defense, such as the JDF represents, the radical left displays its true goal, albeit its short-term one, which is for France to have its own ‘Kristallnacht’.
This also converges nicely with the aims of their anti-Semitic Muslim allies, already experienced in destroying synagogues and churches in Islamic countries. In a nice, Nazi-like touch, the radical left can also be expected to twist any future synagogue destruction to appear as the French Jews’ own fault. The two allies’ long-term goal, which, history has shown, occurs after a ‘Kristallnacht’, is a second Holocaust.
So when anti-Semitic demonstrators are yelling ‘Death to Jews’ on central Parisian streets, France’s Jews should realize they mean it. Some of those leaving now know that they do.
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