June 7, 2004
France, land of hatredBy Olivier Guitta
While French President Chirac has been claiming for the past two years that France is not anti—Semitic, he nonetheless convened emergency talks with Jewish leaders in December 2003, to reassure them after the burning of a Jewish school. Right after this meeting, one of the participants, France's Chief Rabbi, Joseph Sitruk, declared that Jews should be wearing French—style caps, not the explicitly and obviously Jewish kipa, to blend in more and to avoid triggering violence against them.
A flurry of events in the past two weeks show how mistaken Chirac and his government are. Last week, a young Jewish student coming out of his school in suburban Paris was stabbed by an aggressor yelling 'Allah Akhbar' ('God is great,' in Arabic). Last week one of a Boulogne Rabbi's sons was beaten—up by six Muslim youths waiting for him outside his home.
Anti—Semitism in France is alive and kicking, and getting worse by the day. The state and other French institutions are unfortunately playing a major role in the spreading of this hatred. In the school system, two examples show the absurdity of the situation. First, here is what you can find in a French schoolbook issued by the Ministry of Education:
'A day of final exams in the occupied West Bank; Palestinian students cannot concentrate because of the noise of the tanks; some Palestinians arrested by the Israeli Army were released only the day of the exam and have no chances of passing the test.'
The accompanying study activities for French students are to answer this question: 'By whom are the Palestinians occupied?' and to write a letter to one of the Palestinians, telling him to go on with the resistance and keeping hope.
By teaching this blatant Anti—Zionism, the French authorities are fanning the flames of the constant anti—Semitic activities occurring in schools throughout the country.
The second example is: last December, an 11—year—old Jewish boy was repeatedly beaten by two of his Muslims schoolmates, who insulted him by yelling, 'Dirty Jew. Hitler should have finished the work....'
What was the reaction of the French authorities?
They said that this 'incident' —— that is the word the French media uses to refer to a violent attacks, even murde —— was not anti—Semitic, because such insults as 'dirty Jew' are now very common and could be compared to what 'jerk' was a few years ago. They added that if the boy were not Jewish, we would not have heard about it.
This reaction is typical of a government that does not recognize the problem, and does not go after the real culprits: principally, young males of the French Muslim community.
What role does the print media play in this environment of hatred?
Another 'incident' occurred in December 2003, when a young Jewish disc jockey was killed by a Muslim neighbor, who slit his throat twice and mutilated his face. The murderer, going back to his apartment, reportedly said, 'I killed my Jew. I will go to heaven.'
No major French newspaper covered this story. Not really surprising, because blaming a Muslim for a Jew's death does not go over too well in France.
What about the publishing world?
The translator, along with the intended publisher, of an American book called Islam Unveiled, by Robert Spencer, have been receiving numerous death threats and insults like 'dirty Jew pig.' Do you see a pattern here? This book, based on evidence found in the Koran, demonstrates how terrorists like bin Laden simply obey the Muslim holy book. Due to this physical threat, the book will not be published in France, so the Islamists have won.
On the other hand, there has been no problem publishing a book in France called Dream of Palestine, by a fifteen year—old Egyptian girl. The third largest French publishing house decided that this novel, describing the exactions of 'bloodthirsty Jews, who assassinate children and old people, profane mosques and rape Arab women,' and having as the hero a suicide bomber killing five Israelis, would fit perfectly in their catalog.
Another newly—published book, by a respected French philosopher called Jean Claude Milner, explains that by killing the Jews, Hitler did the work needed for Europe to modernize.
What about mainstream TV?
On French state TV, during a very popular program, on December 1, a famous stand—up comedian called Dieudonne decided it was time for a virulent Anti—Semitic act. He came on stage, disguised as a religious Jew wearing Army fatigues.... Here is a quick sample of his 'performance':
'I converted to Judaism not really because of political reasons but rather by professional interest, you know what I mean...Like me, convert to Judaism and join the Axis of Good, the US—Zionist Axis.'
He finishes by saluting the Nazi way and yells 'Israel, heil !' By playing on the usual clich�s of anti—Semitism —— references to money —— and adding a large dose of anti—Americanism and anti—Zionism, Dieudonne got a standing ovation from his audience.
There is no use hiding behind that new fashionable term 'anti—Zionism' because it is just a false pretext. As Dr Martin Luther King said it, 'When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti—Semitism.'
How does the Muslim community react to that wave of anti—Semitism, which is orchestrated by their own members?
Muslim institutions claim that they are the real victims of racist attacks. They even invented a word for it: "Islamophobia." But the statistics prove them totally wrong. According to the official French Ministry of Interior figures, there were, in 2002, four times more anti—Semitic acts than anti—Muslim acts. This statistic is even more relevant when you take into account that there are about 10 times more Muslims than Jews in France.
So when Prime Minister Raffarin denounced the Islamophobia trend in a speech on October 17, 2003, he was just endorsing the Muslim view that they are the only victims of racism, and that anti—Semitism is non—existent.
Are we really in 2004? The constant Jew—bashing in French schools, books and media —— most of it attributable, indirectly, to the French authorities —— has turned into a campaign of violence, which is not going to stop anytime soon. France has become a country where it is fashionable and acceptable to attack Jews, but Muslims are untouchable. France, boasting of being the Land of Human Rights, is violating them daily.
What France should never forget is that in history it always starts with the Jews. But then who will be next?