Skip to comments.France and its Jews: Solving the conundrum (and France and its Muslims)
Posted on 05/27/2003 3:30:02 PM PDT by fightinJAG
France and its Jews: Solving the conundrum By Maria Sliwa May 27, 2003
Nathalie Soussan loves her native France but thinks she may have to build a life elsewhere.
At 21 she is an intern for the French House at Columbia University in New York City, and says she is afraid to return to France because of the pervasive acceptance of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in her country. Soussan is Jewish.
There are about 5 million Muslims and 650,000 Jews in France, the largest number for both communities in Europe. Most of the attacks on Jews occur in Paris suburbs and other neighborhoods where Jews and Muslims live in close proximity.
"Since the French, Jewish and Muslim communities are both the largest, it is not surprising that misinformation and lack of education can lead to anti-Semitic hate crimes in France," Laila Al-Qatami, spokesperson for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination League, said in a recent e-mail. "As documented by the recent national report on hate crimes in France, these quadrupled in 2002, with over half the attacks aimed at Jews."
The outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada on September 28, 2000 sparked a wave of Middle East related anti-Semitic incidents worldwide, with the largest number of European anti-Semitic attacks occurring in France: 1,300 recorded since 2001, the highest level since World War II, according to the Wiesenthal Center.
At the same time there has been an increase in the number of Jews leaving France to live in Israel. According to Israeli government figures, 2,556 French Jews immigrated to Israel last year. This is double the number a year earlier and the most since the 1967 Six Day War. Though the Jewish Agency in Paris said these figures were "more about protecting Israel than fleeing France," a recent poll published by the JTA Global News Service said that more than a quarter of the Jews in France are considering leaving in the wake of the serious attacks targeting the country's Jewish community.
As incidents increased, many French Jews gave up calling the police and claim authorities are downplaying anti-Semitism. Instead, they are logging complaints with the SOS Truth and Security Organization, a grass roots group established in Paris by a former police commissioner. Data on the incidents is compiled, analyzed, and published by the Wiesenthal Center.
"Though a lot of Jews in France feel very French, they also feel abandoned by their government because the officials have not acted strongly enough to stop the violence," says Soussan, who will return home to Paris in June.
"The French government is doing what it can. There have been anti-Semitic incidents in the past, and unfortunately there will likely be more again," Emmanuel Gagniarre, of the French Embassy in DC said in a recent interview. "Most of the time these incidents are the deeds of young people of Arab and North African descent, who live in the rougher neighborhoods, in the suburbs of big cities, with the backdrop and international environment that is not very conducive to peaceful relations."
Early last month, Agence France-Presse reported that Jacques Chirac called for the "utmost vigilance and firmness," in the face of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic acts, noting he was worried that the war in Iraq would spark further tensions between Jewish and Muslim communities in France. Around the time of Chirac's statement, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy publicly briefed police officials on the new "double zero tolerance" security legislation against racism and anti-Semitism just passed by the government. As part of this new regulation, demonstrators will not be allowed to carry flags with swastikas and other anti-Semitic, non-neutral symbols. The French police also recently announced the formation of a new unit to investigate racist and anti-Semitic crimes, and stepped up police protection at synagogues and Jewish schools.
This was not the first time officials acted according to Gary Ratner, executive director of the American Jewish Congress West Coast Region.
Ratner met with members of the French government last summer to discuss concerns over the country's rising tide of anti-Semitism. He praises the work of Sarkozy and says that during these meetings, Sarkozy not only made commitments to crack down on anti-Semitic acts but also followed through on his promises.
"There was a beefed up police presence at Jewish institutions," Ratner said during an interview. He also noted a decrease in the number of incidents.
But Soussan says Sarkozy and government officials are not really tackling the problem: "They are not taking preventative measures at all, but rather wait for something to happen first and then act."
Anti-Semitism is not new to France. "France never purged itself of anti-Semitism, just hid it," said Daniel Pipes in a recent e-mail. Pipes, an expert on militant Islam, was recently nominated by President Bush to serve on the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace.
"It is important to remember that Muslim anti-Semitism is different from Christian anti-Semitism and is relatively new for France in modern times," said Toni Kamins, author of The Complete Jewish Guide to France in a recent e-mail. Both Pipes and Kamins say that of the two, Muslim anti-Semitism is more likely to erupt in violence.
Social and economic factors may be to blame. Today, many of the Muslim families from North Africa live in grim, drug-infested high-rise suburbs on the outskirts of French cities. Their community lacks cohesion and is split within itself by ethnicity, history, religiosity, politics and class. Kamins says Muslims are regarded with fear, suspicion, and hatred by many French; and while Jews were eventually accepted into French society, Muslims are not. "Unemployment among Muslim immigrants is high, education is an afterthought, access to mainstream French society is nearly impossible, and being arrested for suspicion of this or that is common," Kamins says.
Experts note that these impoverished Muslims feel they have become the victims of institutionalized racism, and see the Jewish community as more affluent and better integrated than they are.
Some Muslim experts blame the violence on the growth of radical Islamic movements. Dr. Gilles Kepel, a Muslim and director at the French Centre for Sociological Research, explained during an interview with an Arab weekly magazine, Ain-Al-Yaqeen, that a majority of these radical movements are the result of an alliance between poor urban Muslim youth, the Muslims of the petite bourgeoisie, (who feel marginalized and excluded from political privileges), and those he calls the "bearded engineers," or graduates of state universities, who distort the broad tenets of Islam to serve their political needs.
Other French Muslims, like deputy mayor of Sannois in Val d'Oise, Rachid Kaci, encourage the cultivation of an Islam that is cut off from the foreign influences of extremism, and are outspoken against anti-Semitism.
These radical movements are encouraged by various cooperating associations, Kaci says. Fundamentalist proselytizers diligently work the housing projects and the prisons in France for new converts. With monies obtained from Saudi Arabian subsidies, and donations from a sincerely openhearted and pious community, the Union of French Islamic Organization (UOIF) appeals to the unemployed North African Muslims in the ghettos, providing an alternative social-service network that is often better than the French one.
At the same time, the U.S. has also experienced an increase in reported anti-Semitism. "There were 1559 anti-Semitic cases reported in the U.S. last year, which is up eight percent from the year before. Many of the events grew out of anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses," Aaron Brietbart, senior researcher at the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in an interview. The Anti-Defamation League also reports an increase in pro-Palestinian rallies across the country, which the ADL says go far beyond legitimate criticism of Israel to promote anti-Semitic hatred and anti-Israel sentiment.
Extremism may be a factor of increasing anti-Semitism worldwide. According to Pipes, every militant Islamic organization across the globe preaches anti-Semitism, many in public, some more discreetly: Nearly all refer to a battle to the death with Jews. The assassination of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, for example, was filmed by Islamist executioners who forced him to look into the camera and confess his Jewish origin before they beheaded him.
"This way of thinking has damaged the Islamic religion over the years more than it has served it," Kepel says. He predicts a decline in extremism will give way to a generation of Muslims who will free themselves from Islamic movements, and will open up a new era for Islamic society, which he calls "the era of Muslim democracy."
Ihsan Alkhatib, an immigration attorney and doctoral student of international relations in Dearborn, Michigan, says the issue of Israel has created tension between Arab Muslims and Jews almost everywhere.
"Jewish support for Israel is due to tribal solidarity, regardless of the merits of the case," Alkhatib said in a recent interview. "The animosity displayed against Jews by the French Arabs or Muslims is also due to tribal solidarity or 'Assabiyeh.'"
Al-Qatami notes that there have been hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs as well in France, following the September 11, 2001 attacks. She is hopeful that the recent actions by the French government, including the formation of a Muslim National Council, will "serve to prevent future hate crimes for all the citizens of France."
In the wake of the violence, Kamins encourages Jews not to remain silent. "France is the third largest Jewish community in the world," she says. "It is important that the Jewish community of France assert their rights for protection. Pressure from other governments should also be exercised."
Well, that's cheerful. Throw in French, Jews, and Muslims and the Jews will be beaten up. The only thing new is the large amount of Muslims in France.
This article and the ideas it puts forward are ridiculously oversimplified. Since the Roman form of Christianity spread throughout Europe nearly two thousand years ago, Christians were encouraged by the church to hate Jews as the murderers of the Messiah.
The influence of Muslims upon both the RCC and the Europeans who embraced them in the name of enlightenment and progressiveness a thousand years ago has made European hatred of all things 'Jewish' that much worse.
Why else would FRANCE bear the honor of being the first country to force Jews to wear the yellow badge A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, if European hatred of Jews was not perpetuated among the peasants by the state: the Holy Roman Emporor, who happened to be French?
LOL...there is no peace : just pieces, from the religion of pieces. They're somewhere around the same level of cultural evolution as Christianity was a thousand years ago. There is no telling whether they're capable of further cultural evolution. It sure doesn't look that way right now.
As for France: as long as the French government claims President Bush is controlled by Ariel Sharon...there will be no peace for Jews in France.
Is she Curtis's sister??? I know that she is very much involved in the anti-slavery movement in the Sudan.
I doubt many French Jews would take up the offer, but it would really highlight French hypocrisy.
The problem is that Islam was founded by a radical man named Mohammed who was a wanted killer and theif. He spread his new religion by force; so the very foundation of Islam is radical. You can't moderate it because radicalism is built right into it. The koran tells them it's good to kill Jews and Christians who refuse to convert to Mohammedism. And anybody with any spiritual light whatsoever will instinctively know that a religion that promises an eternity of carnal, bodily pleasure with virgins as a heavenly reward for killing "infidels" and dying by them or by blowing yourself up, has just got to see Islam as a total sham. Worse than a sham, it's a massive human tragedy.
Roman form of Christianity? What other kind of Christianity was there back then, since Rome ruled the civilized world, including Israel, when Christianity was formed, and a Roman Procurator named Pilate ordered Jesus put to death because the angry mob of Jews demanded it? After the Jews arrested Jesus and marched Him off to Caiaphus for a kangaroo "trial", the Jews then dragged Him off to King Herod, who also condemned Him. Next, the Jews marched Jesus off to Pilate to have Him crucified. On at least five occassion, (according to two gospels), Pilate vainly tried to save Jesus from the Jews. He had Him whipped, hoping that would appease the angry mob. He pleaded with the Jews that Jesus "had done nothing to deserve death". Pilate even tried to barter Jesus for Barabbas on the annual day of pardon for a prisoner; but the Jews demanded Barabbas instead. "His blood be upon us and our children", the Jews shouted, (Mathew 27:25). Now this is recorded history, in the gospels. I don't believe for a second that the "Roman form" of Christianity preached hatred for the Jews. I think they just weren't as afraid of the truth as you'd like them to have been. Actually, the "Roman form" of Christianity always taught Christians to "love thy neighbor", and to "pray for thine enemies", and to "forgive seventy times seven times", as Jesus taught. The early Christians were, in fact, all of Jewish ancestry. The first recorded hatred and persecution was that of Jews, (and Romans), persecuting and killing the Christians. The "Roman form" of Christians, were, infact, driven underground in Israel, to worship in hidden places, due to persecution by the Jews, as Saul of Tarsus, (St. Paul), records in "Acts". In Rome the Christians retreated into the Catacombs to worship, due to the persecution. And when you actually take the time to read what the Saints and early bishops of the "Roman form" of Christianity were teaching, you will see that never did they teach anyone to harm Jews. And never did they teach hatred for Jews. They taught the truth, that the Jews put the Messiah to death, (in the physical sense, as they did all the Prophets), and that the Jews rejected the Messiah. This is not hatred, it is historical fact. It is simple truth. But never, ever was harm or reprisals agaisnt Jews taught by the "Roman form" of Christianity. What some individual Christians may have done to Jews, (and vice versa), has nothing to do whatsoever with Church teaching, no matter how many revisionsist "historians" try to make it seem otherwise.
The world is getting pretty scarey these days, the winds of change are sweeping over our planet like a tornado as evil spreads all over the earth. Canada is about to allow perverts to marry each other, Islam has found a peaceful way to infiltrate traditionally Christian nations with millions of Muslims, Australia has banned guns and is allowing lesbians to be be called "fathers", In America SUV's are evil but abortion is good, marriage is no longer binding, women are seeking domination over men, public expression of Christianity is illegal, good is evil, evil is good.......well you get the message, need I really go on? Sometimes I wonder if this phenomenon of inverted, twisted thinking in the world is the darkness before the dawn, or merely the eye of the hurricane that is about to bring even worse destruction. But, like it says in the Bible, "fight the good fight to the end".
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