On July 4, 2012, a 17-year-old Frenchman was the victim of a violent anti-Semitic attack on a train from Lyon to Toulouse. The teenager is a student of Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, where three children and a family were killed by Mohamed Merah on March 19. A source close to the investigation said that the attackers noticed a chain around his neck. Aged about 18 years, the two suspects were arrested in an army recruitment office in Lyon. A police source told AFP that the two men, of North African origin, had no criminal record.
Why anyone is surprised about this attack is beyond me.
As we all know, like much of Europe, France has a long history of anti-Semitism. As noted scholar Dr. Daniel Pipes has said, “anti-Semitism is not new in France. France never purged itself of anti-Semitism, it just hid it.”
In 1895, Alfred Dreyfus, a patriotic French Jew, was convicted of treason for supposedly providing secret information to Imperial Germany. Dreyfus’ trial was a sham, and his conviction was largely based on anti-Semitic feelings among the French elites, the jury and the populace. Three years after Dreyfus’ exile to the French penal colony of Devil’s Island, on January 13, 1898, French Journalist Emile Zola published an article J’accuse (“I Accuse”) – in the form of a letter to the French President – in which he accused a cabal of high ranking military officers, and other members of the French elite, of making Dreyfus a scapegoat because he (Dreyfus) was a Jew, and even though many of them actually knew who the real traitor was. Zola published his article at high risk to himself – he could be – and was – prosecuted for criminal libel. Eventually, as a direct result of Zola’s actions, Alfred Dreyfus was exonerated, and released from Devil’s Island.
The Dreyfus trial may have caused some Frenchmen to reevaluate their feelings towards Jews for the a period of time. But if so, that was then, and this is now. Today, anti-Semitism, and violent attacks on French Jews – who number more than half a million – are prevalent. The French Interior Ministry has detailed that there were 148 anti-Semitic incidents in March and April of 2012, including 43 classified as violent — a huge jump over the 14 violent attacks recorded in the same period in 2011. The data also demonstrated that there were 69 instances of anti-Semitic intimidation and threats in March and 36 such incidents in April. Apparently, the vicious murder of three Jewish children and one man, in March by Mohammed Merah in Toulouse actually prompted more violence against Jews, rather than shaming the French populace to oppose anti-Semitism. In fact, in the 10 days following the Toulouse massacre, there were no fewer than 90 anti-Semitic incidents. And this anti-Semitic violence has been ongoing for at least a decade – anti-Semitic attacks accounted for half of all racist attacks in France in 2002.
Much of the anti-Semitism, and many of the violent attacks against French Jews, has been initiated by Muslim Frenchmen, the descendants of Algerians and Moroccans who have immigrated to France. The Muslim population of France is now between four to six million, about 6-10% of the total population. In 2004, the French government commissioned a report, called the Obin Report, on “the Signs and Manifestations of Religious Affiliation in Educational Establishments,” which showed a deep infiltration by radical Islam into the vast majority of French schools, and the development of a vitriolic hatred for Jews among the Muslim population. This report was so alarming to the French government that the report was initially buried. However, the results of this rise in Muslim anti-Semitism cannot be so easily buried. As a result of this Muslim anti-Semitism, according to the National Bureau of Vigilance against anti-Semitism, nearly four hundred physical attacks against Jews occurred in France in 2011 — more than one a day – and all of these attacks were committed by Muslims.
In addition to the Toulouse massacre, here are some other examples of attacks caused by Muslim Frenchmen against French Jews. On June 2, 2012, three young Jews wearing skullcaps were attacked in Villeurbanne, a suburb of Lyon, by a dozen individuals who beat them with hammers and iron bars. The attackers were described as “of North African origin,” and shouted insults against the Jewish religion of the victims before assaulting them physically. On January 4, 2009, a 29-year old Jewish man was attacked at a Paris subway station by a gang of 20 people who yelled “Palestine will win.” And in 2006, the best known case of French Muslim violence towards Jews, until Toulouse, was the brutal murder of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Parisian Jew. Halimi had been lured to an apartment, and sadistically tortured to death by Arab and African Muslim Frenchmen. One gang member later admitted to having put out a cigarette on Halimi’s face “because he did not like Jews.”
Jewish leaders continue to express their concern with the dangerous situation in France, and continue to be ignored by the French government, media, and elites. Joel Mergui, President of the Jewish group called Central Consistory, has said the country’s Jews are under constant attack. “Not a week goes by without anti-Semitic attacks in France. I refuse to believe Jews were forced to choose between security and Jewish identity.” The Chief Rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Lyon, Richard Wertenschlag, called the environment “unbearable. These incidents are becoming more frequent, so much so, unfortunately, so that they take it for granted,” he said. And Rabbi Michel Sarfati, who created a Jewish-Muslim friendship group, has lamented, “Don’t tell me French Muslims appreciate Jews – 50 percent of them hate Jews. Many hate Jews because extremist imams denigrate Jews in their sermons. They say we’re Israel’s puppets. Moderate Muslims try to fight this hatred, but they’re being threatened, and they get no support from the state.” Even former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in 2004, told a meeting of the American Jewish Association in Jerusalem that French Jews should relocate to Israel because of rising violence against Jews there.
So what are the French government, and the French elites, doing about this? Like the Rabbi said, pretty much nothing useful. Indeed, “(t)he work of the French media and academia reveals that a majority of members are not only leftist in their outlook, but anti-American and anti-Israel as well and, elements are allied with radical Islamists. Official policies of the French government since 1967 show they have sought cooperation with the Arab world at the expense of Israel. The actions of the media, academia and the government have all contributed to the rise of anti-Semitism.” Also, politically correct attitudes continue to squelch complaints or even reports of the incidents, even among so-called “anti-racist organizations,” which instead focus solely on the anti-Semitism of the native French extreme-right.
In fact, things are so bad that French Jews are just learning to live with the problem. Nowadays, most of the Jewish victims of anti-Semitic acts don’t even bother going to the French police anymore, as they know that their complaint is likely to be ignored. For the few incidents that result in an arrest by the police, the victims actually have to worry that those who were arrested may then seek revenge against those who complained, with the authorities refusing to protect the true victims. And many French Jewish students of Moroccan ancestry try to pass themselves off as Muslim – with some even going as far as to fast on Ramadan. Others simply emigrate to Israel or other safer nations.
I don’t think anyone should have to learn to live with this problem. “I dare (to criticize it). (I) Dare to tell the truth, for I have pledged to tell the full and complete truth if the normal channels of justice failed to do so. My duty is to speak out; I do not wish to be complicit.”
“This is the plain truth, Sir, and it is frightful… (But) Do not think that I despair of triumphing in the slightest. I repeat with the most vehement conviction: truth is on the march, and nothing shall stop it.”
The truth is, anti-Semitism is on the march in France, and the French government, media, and elite are doing nothing about it. And I – for one – won’t allow the French to ignore this fact.
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