June 11, 2004
French justice rewards anti-SemitismBy Olivier Guitta
About three months ago, the French Jewish (it is unfortunately important to mention her religion) singer Shirel was performing at a gala attended by, among others, France's First Lady Mrs. Bernadette Chirac. Upon entering the stage and during her song, Shirel was welcomed by young Muslims sitting in the first rows yelling, 'Dirty Jew. Death to the Jews. We'll kill you.'
If this were not disgusting enough, the loud silence of Mrs Chirac speaks volumes about the condition of French Jews today. It is not then surprising that recent Court decisions confirm this increasing trend of official hostility to Jews.
Two judicial cases vividly symbolize this trend.
First: during a very popular program on State TV, on December 1, 2003, 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, saluting the Nazi way, and yelling ' Israel, Heil '. He was then, of course, sued, because France has tough laws, perhaps a vestigial remnant of an earlier era, against anti—Semitism.
But last week the verdict came in: ACQUITTED!
Second: a young Jewish kid was regularly beaten—up and insulted inside his school for months, by two Arab kids employing the ever so common epithet nowadays: 'Dirty Jew.' The two aggressors never denied the facts, and were expelled.
But in response, the two miscreants filed a lawsuit against the school.
And last week, the verdict came in, stunning those French citizens with residual decency once more. The Paris tribunal condemned the school, ordering it to reinstate the two Muslim kids, and pay each of their families 1,000 Euros (around 1,200 USD).
In another similar incident, Muslim students persecuted a young Jewish girl at school.
Her family sued the oppressors, and, in the bizarre world of French justice, got condemned to pay a fine of 4,000 Euros (about 5,000 USD). So, they decided to appeal the decision and the Court of Appeals deemed that a 8,000 Euros (about 10,000 USD) fine was more appropriate.
Being a Jewish victim turns out to be very costly in France: not only physically and morally, but also financially. Perpetrating anti—Semitic acts, on the other hand, can be very lucrative. So, what kind of message does this send?
Obviously, if you attack Jews or insult them, you are the victim and you get financial reward. In this environment, anti—Semitism in France is not going away. Quite the opposite.
Most often, French justice simply releases the culprits, rather than rewarding them — at least so far. A few months ago, at an ice rink in the Paris suburb of Boulogne, a group of Muslim teenagers beat up a Jewish kid. The police arrested them, but the judge decided to release them, ordering one of them, a 14 year—old, to write an essay about anti—Semitism. What a severe sentence!!!
Unfortunately, this is for real. Last week, Boulogne's rabbi's son was ambushed leaving his home by five Muslim teenagers, who attacked him very violently. A few days later, they were caught. Unsurprisingly, this same 14— year old from the previous incident was among them. Once again, the judge released the suspects right away...
Finally, regarding the young Jewish student, Israel Ifrah, who was stabbed last Friday in Paris by a Muslim aggressor yelling 'Allah Akhbar' ('God is great' in Arabic), the excellent newsmagazine Proche—Orient.info reported that while at the hospital his family was spit—upon by two Arabs. Even though there were a lot of people around, nobody moved or said anything.
France is now the country of the cycle of silence: from the President's wife to the common Frenchman.
The young Israel's father, deciding he had enough of France, went to the US Embassy in Paris to ask for political asylum.
Alain Finkielkraut, one of the leading French philosophers, interviewed on June 7, 2004 by the radio station RTL declared that: 'The pogrom for the Jews" appears today in France like "a possible future.'
There might come a time not far distant where French Jews might have no choice but to leave the country of their birth, in search of liberty, equality, and fraternity.