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Jews of France: should they stay or should they go?

Middle East
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“I am French; I am a Jew,” said Rabbi Daniel Dahan, chief rabbi of Aix-en- Provence, at the Berkeley law school last week.  He came to deliver a lecture on the state of French Jewry, and he appended a subtext to his talk: “The end of a 2,000 year story?”  “It’s a question,” he said.

France has the world’s third largest Jewish community (~500,000). And, as you may have heard, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on them all to pack up their bags and leave for Israel. The pitch for this is Jews aren’t safe anywhere in the world and especially not in Europe, so they should all come and join fortress Israel. Presumably, from Netanyahu’s point of view, these immigrants should take up residence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and enlist their kids in the Israeli Defense Forces to help manage the occupation for the next 50 years.

Through the middle ages, and up to the French revolution, this call to move to fortress Israel would have been an easy choice for Jews had it been an option. France was Catholic and intolerant of minorities. Jews were massacred during the crusades and periodically expelled. They were not citizens. They were not equal in the eyes of the law. Others suffered too. For example, in August 1572, Hugenots were massacred by the thousands in an orgy of Catholic mob violence. Nevertheless, a Jewish presence persisted. The famous Talmudic scholar, Rashi, flourished in Troyes (on the Seine southeast of Paris) in the latter half of the 11th century.

An identity as “French and Jewish” as expressed by the Grand Rabbi of Aix-en-Provence, as opposed to “Jewish and precariously living in this foreign land,” is a relatively recent development. The story of Jewish citizenship in France starts with the declaration of the rights of man, the revolution of 1791, and Napoleon’s emancipation of the approximately 40,000 Jews living there at the time–primarily in two isolated communities in Bordeaux and Metz. In exchange for equal citizenship under the law, the Jews pledged their allegiance to the state. Through a gathering of Jewish notables (the Grand Sanhedrin) the Jews of France confirmed to Napoleon that “The Israelite is required to consider the land of his birth or adoption as his fatherland, and shall love and defend it when called upon.” In other words, the Enlightenment turned diaspora Jews into citizens of the countries where they live.

Viewed in this light, the Enlightenment marked nothing less than an end of the Jewish diaspora. Not everywhere, but in France and America and other places where Enlightenment values and modern liberal democratic states took hold.

In the wake of emancipation, the 19th century saw a great flourishing of Western European Jewry, as well as American Jewry. French Jews became active in the professions, business, banking, education, and government. It gave rise to the Yiddish saying, “As happy as God in France.” It resulted in assimilation, the Jewish Reform movement, and Jewish immigration to France. In 1860 French Jews formed an organization (Alliance Israelite Universelle) to carry this human rights progress forward, to foster the rights of Jews as citizens everywhere, and to combat anti-Semitism in societies all over the world.

In 1905 France passed its law of separation of church and state and formalized the principle of laïcité (French secularity). The 1905 law emphasized religious neutrality of the state, guaranteed the freedom of religious exercise, and prohibited public funding of religions. This secular identity of the state became increasingly entrenched in the fabric of French political culture during the early twentieth century, even as most French continued to identify as Catholic. It is very much in force and in evidence today.

During the great migration from Eastern Europe to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century, some Jews stayed in France, resulting in a significant increase in population. By 1900 Jewish population in France had doubled to 87,000; by 1911 population was 100,000; by 1922 it was 165,000; by 1933 250,000; and by the eve of World War II, Jewish population in France was more than 300,000.

This happy story of assimilation, prosperity, progress and growth in France was certainly not without blemish. It was sorely tested by a rise in anti-Semitism at the end of the 19th century, as highlighted by the Dreyfus affair. Albert Dreyfus, a Jewish French military officer, was wrongly accused of treason for divulging military secrets to the Germans. He was convicted in a miscarriage of justice by a prejudiced military court, spurred on by anti-Semitic publications and expressions of anti-Semitism in society at large. But Dreyfus also had his defenders, among them the novelist Emile Zola who published a famous letter “J’accuse” in the newspaper owned by George Clemenceau (Premier of France during World War I).

Dreyfus was not a diaspora Jew living tentatively in a hostile land, packing up his bags to go somewhere else when the going got tough. The significance of the Dreyfus affair is that Dreyfus asserted his claim as a loyal French citizen. Together with his political supporters he fought this miscarriage of justice and was able to make it right (or at least better). Dreyfus was exonerated in 1906 after spending five years in the infamous Devils Island prison in French Guiana. He resumed his military career and he and his family served his country as loyal French Jews during World War I.

World War II presented a much greater challenge still. Leading up to the war, anti-Semitism reached a fever pitch, with deadly consequences. The Vichy government of France cooperated with the Nazis and deported 76,000 Jews (nearly 25% of the Jewish population of France) to death camps.

The Jews of France bore an obscenely disproportionate percentage of the 550,000 total French casualties (25% of Jews vs. 1.3% for the country as a whole died as a result of World War II; Germany had an overall casualty rate of 10%). The Holocaust claimed a staggering 6 million Jews. Jewish world population in 2015 is still below its pre-war level.

After World War II the Jewish population of France increased with immigration of French citizens from the French colonies in North Africa: Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. As a result, the Jewish population of France today is approximately 500,000.

But the horrible calamity of World War II—with its 60 million to 80 million war dead overall–did not manage to destroy the Enlightenment project. After World War II, the Enlightenment project in Western Europe has been consolidated. All countries in Western Europe have working liberal democracies. Jewish citizens of all these countries have helped with this consolidation… this picking up of the pieces from World War II. In the United States, too, huge strides have been made in the realization of the Enlightenment promise since the end of World War II. In the United Sates Jews played a particularly instrumental role in the civil rights struggle in the South, and with implementation of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs. The promise of the Enlightenment in France, Western Europe generally, and the United States is stronger than ever; the reasons for French Jews to stand by the promise made by the Grand Sanhedrin that “The Israelite will consider the land of his birth or adoption as his fatherland, and shall love and defend it when called upon,” are stronger than ever.

The creation of Israel in 1948, and its subsequent expansion in 1967 did not change this. The creation of Israel did not suddenly weaken the citizenship rights and commitments of French Jews to France or American Jews to America; it did not reinstate the diaspora in Western Europe and America. After the creation of Israel, Jews in France continue to be French and Jewish; Jews in America continue be American and Jewish.

It does not mean that these countries are post anti-Semitic utopias. Challenges remain and will always remain as for any minority. These challenges must be met. Netanyahu has material to work with when he attempts to persuade French Jews to abandon their Enlightenment promise to France and to pick up their bags and move to fortress Israel. Take, for example, the Kantor Center for the Study of contemporary European Jewry’s annual report on world-wide anti-Semitism. The Kantor Center focuses on “violent” incidents—although their report does not provide incident reports and the criteria they use are not clearly explained. They say that “violent incidents” in France increased from 141 (2013) to 164 (2014). The total number of “anti-Semitic incidents” as reported by CRIF (conseils representatives des institutiones juives de France) (again no clear definition or incident reports) doubled from 423 to 851. Even though there is no substantial evidence that world-wide anti-Semitism has been on the rise if we look at the past decade [See, e.g. this BBC report from 8/21/14.] these are numbers to be very concerned with.

Norman Finkelstein has cited evidence that anti-Semitic attacks in Europe are correlated with violent Israeli assaults like last summer’s Gaza war. The Kantor report seems to agree when it attributes last summer’s Gaza war as the primary cause for the increase in this year’s statistics. This seems correct and is understandable when Israel’s prime minister purports to represent and speak for—and thus implicates—French Jews and American Jews as Israel assaults Gaza.

In his Berkeley lecture, Rabbi Dahan recounted the terrible tally of recent attacks against Jews in Europe: the bombing of a synagogue on rue Copernic in 1980, the bombing of a restaurant in 1982 on Rue de Roisiers, the gruesome kidnapping and torture death of Ilan Halimi in 2006, the murder of three school children and their teacher in Toulouse in 2012, the shooting of three people at a Jewish museum in Belgium last May, the rape and robbery incident in Creteil (a suburb of Paris) last December, and the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket (the Hypercacher) in January 2015. These attacks were initiated primarily by disaffected angry Muslim youths.

“You can understand that a lot of communities are afraid,” said Dahan.

We’ve heard that 7,000 French Jews emigrated to Israel in 2014. Rabbi Dahan described how, on a recent flight from Marseilles to Tel Aviv, he met 20 religious families making Aliyah (emigrating to Israel). But we don’t hear reliable statistics of what happens to these people; how long they stay, what they do. “Many are also coming back,” said Dahan.

Dahan lamented that a predominant portion of French Jews who emigrate are religiously involved in French Judaism and that it’s those who are most involved, the largest donors, who leave. It presents a challenge for French Jewish communities.

Statistics indicate that French Jews tend to be secular like the French in general. Only 15% of French Jews attend synagogue. Seventy-five percent of Jewish school age children attend public schools. The majority of French Jews do not wear traditional religious clothing; they have no particular reason to shop at the Hypercacher.

Rabbi Dahan feels strongly that French Jews should not leave because they are afraid. “For Jews to leave France because they are afraid is bad,” he said. It’s giving in to terrorism. If individual Jews want to emigrate to Israel because they want to live a religious life, good for them. But Jews should not heed Netanyahu’s siren song—or abandon their citizenship commitment to help make France a better place—because they are afraid.

For the past 15 years, ever since the rise of Islamist violence against Jews in France, the French government has gone to considerable lengths to protect its Jewish community. According to Dahan, since the Charlie Hebdo/Hypercacher attacks, the French government has been spending €1 million each day for security at Jewish schools and community centers throughout France. This is not like the 1930’s when state governments in Europe supported anti-Semitism. Just last week French Prime Minister Manuel Valls pledged to finance a plan to fight racism and anti-Semitism in France. The French government is working to keep its Enlightenment promise. French Jews should keep their citizenship commitment to fight to make France the best it can be.

As Finkelstein said in the lecture referenced above, there are things Israel can do to help. First and foremost, Israel can stop carrying out massacres like last summer’s Gaza war. Second, Israel can stop saying that it is carrying out these massacres in the name of world Jewry. There are also things that Jewish leaders in France and the United States can do to help, says Finkelstein: “they can cease defending Israel’s criminal actions so it won’t appear as if Israel when it carries out these actions is acting in the name of the Jewish state.” For an example from last summer, see here.

Japanese Americans did not abandon the United States and return to Japan after the travesty of the Japanese-American internment during World War II. They remained loyal citizens of the country and subsequently fought for their rights. Fighting for your rights as a minority is not always pleasant and you can get hurt. But it’s something that has to be done, and the post-enlightenment liberal democratic state provides tools and opportunity to do so. The proper response of French Jews (or American Jews) to unfriendly looks on the street, political discrimination, or political violence is the same: it is not to run meekly to fortress Israel; the correct response is to stand up proud and claim your rights as a French Jew.

It’s not exactly how the Grand Rabbi of Aix-en-Provence put it, but I think this was the essence of his message.

This post appeared on Roland Nikles’s site earlier this week.

Roland Nikles
About Roland Nikles

Roland Nikles is a Bay Area writer and attorney. He blogs here: rolandnikles.blogspot.com. And you can follow him on twitter @RolandNikles

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38 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    April 22, 2015, 2:40 pm

    Someone should ask him this question: “Do you believe that the antisemitism in France was, on the whole, by Muslims angry about Israeli war crimes, etc? If so, should not French Jews call upon Israel to mend its ways? And should they not disassociate from Israel as a group?”

    • catalan
      catalan
      April 22, 2015, 5:12 pm

      “If so, should not French Jews call upon Israel to mend its way?”- Pabelmont
      No they should not. French Jews can be communist (many are), far-right (some are), or apathetic. They can love Israel (many do) or hate Israel (some do). They pay taxes and fight in France’s wars. They “should” not do anything or say anything other than what pleases them. They don’t owe anything more than other citizens.
      It’s the loss for France of they go. Or gain, since then they don’t have to worry about over-representation of Jews among lawyers. And we know that’s the cause for both malaria and deforestation.

  2. marc b.
    marc b.
    April 22, 2015, 3:49 pm

    Others suffered too.

    there it is: one man’s history of Europe. a very thin book.

    • Walid
      Walid
      April 22, 2015, 5:51 pm

      The good rabbi left out the parts about Dimona, Suez in 56, the blackmailing of the SNCF by French and American Jews, the JDL in France

  3. Laurent Weppe
    Laurent Weppe
    April 22, 2015, 6:28 pm

    Albert Dreyfus, a Jewish French military officer

    Alfred Dreyfus. get the name right, please.

  4. RoHa
    RoHa
    April 22, 2015, 7:42 pm

    “Statistics indicate that French Jews tend to be secular like the French in general. Only 15% of French Jews attend synagogue. Seventy-five percent of Jewish school age children attend public schools. The majority of French Jews do not wear traditional religious clothing; they have no particular reason to shop at the Hypercacher.”

    I really find it difficult to see why these secular French Jews are classed as Jews, or regarded as a minority. They seem to be indistinguishable from the majority of French people.

    • Laurent Weppe
      Laurent Weppe
      April 22, 2015, 10:19 pm

      Because:

      1. Secular doesn’t mean atheist: many people who don’t participate much in rituals and collective ceremony still genuinely have faith.

      2. Having Jews in one genealogical tree makes one a potential target for antisemites (likewise, having muslim ancestors makes one a potential target for islamophobes, regardless of one’s actual faith of lack thereof)

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 22, 2015, 11:43 pm

      “I really find it difficult to see why these secular French Jews are classed as Jews, or regarded as a minority.”

      Well, as a practical matter aren’t they Jewish if they regard themselves as Jewish? Are you going to start telling them how frum they have to be to be Jewish? They say they are Jewish, that’s good enough for me.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 23, 2015, 12:12 am

        “Well, as a practical matter aren’t they Jewish if they regard themselves as Jewish?”

        Are they Inca royalty if they regard themselves as Inca royalty?
        Are they teapots if they regard themselves as teapots?

        You might say so, but I would be trying to tactfully suggest psychotherapy. (Probably unsuccessfully. Tact is not one of my strong suits.)

        “Are you going to start telling them how frum they have to be to be Jewish? ”

        No, but, if the term “Jewish” is to be meaningful, I think it needs to refer to more characteristics than just self-declaration and ancestry.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 23, 2015, 2:24 am

        Mooser,

        Most of them do NOT say they’re Jewish; they don’t care. No statistics seem to be available but I’ll eat my straw hat if those that make all that noise about being Jewish are not a small minority. Until very recently, there was no hyphenated-French.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 23, 2015, 11:26 am

        || RoHa: … if the term “Jewish” is to be meaningful, I think it needs to refer to more characteristics than just self-declaration and ancestry. ||

        IIRC, it also refers to:
        – different “sexual behaviour”;
        – funny hats;
        – a dessert topping; and
        – a floor wax.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 23, 2015, 9:03 pm

        “You might say so, but I would be trying to tactfully suggest psychotherapy.”

        You know, it’s that kind of small thinking, a one-horse, two-timing, three-strikes-you’re-out, four-flushing, kind of thinking which never takes the broad, flexible outlook, and some genocide and persecution which got us where we are today. I’m all in favor of loosening the entrance or retention standards. As they used to tell us in the Reform Jewish Hebrew School (wait, it might have been a Jewish Hebrew Reform School, it was a while back….) “Face it kids, frum is not fun.”
        And even extending the franchise to right-on Gentiles.

      • Walid
        Walid
        April 24, 2015, 7:37 am

        Special security arrangements for French Jews are costing the French Government about
        365 million euros per year. They are at risk everytime Israel kills Palestinians. The root of their problem is Israel itself.

  5. RoHa
    RoHa
    April 22, 2015, 7:48 pm

    From my non-Jewish point of view, living in France seems far preferable to living in Israel. The main drawbacks of France are that the place is full of French people and the cooking is weird. But French Jews, being French themselves, would probably find these easy to put up with.

    As far as I can tell, not even other Israelis can put up with Israelis.

    • Walid
      Walid
      April 24, 2015, 7:25 am

      “… and the cooking is weird. ” (RoHa)

      The only thing weird about it is how they put porc products in everything they cook, including the bread. It’s OK unless you have a hang-up about porc in your food.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 24, 2015, 9:23 am

        Ever tried getting a pie floater in France? Practically impossible.

        All you get is a few shreds of undercooked veg, and a tiny scrap of meat – almost raw – in a little puddle of strange gravy.

        And they don’t have bread. They have tubes of thin concrete with a little bit of something like cotton wool inside.

        On the plus side, it isn’t sushi.

      • Walid
        Walid
        April 24, 2015, 11:04 am

        Nouvelle cuisine, guaranteed to keep you hungry.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 26, 2015, 1:40 pm

        “On the plus side, it isn’t sushi.”

        Of course, that’s true, it isn’t. But I might just as well ask: “Well, what is?” Except sushi, of course.

        Anyway, I’d put up with the food if I could get to Rochefort. There’s two demoiselles there, and I’m sure they’re still waiting for me.

  6. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough
    April 22, 2015, 10:44 pm

    Leave France for a country that, according to its leaders, faces a perpetual existential threat from its neighbors, is under almost daily attack from rockets and other acts of terrorism, and is now facing an Iran hell bent on developing nuclear weapons so it can wipe out the entire country?? That doesn’t sound like too smart of a move.

    • Nevada Ned
      Nevada Ned
      April 23, 2015, 6:36 pm

      “according to its (Israel’s) leaders” Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons etc.

      But in reality, there is only one country in the middle east that really DOES have nuclear weapons.

      And the name of the county does start with the letter “I”.

      But it’s not Iraq.

      And its not Iran.

      (the answer is left as an exercise for the reader…)

  7. lysias
    lysias
    April 23, 2015, 11:20 am

    Atlantic, which ran that Goldberg article that suggested that it was time for the Jews to leave Europe, now has a much better article by Peter Beinart: The New Enemy Within: Some Republican politicians see sympathy for Islam as a liability. Why?:

    The right’s new focus on the danger that Muslims allegedly pose at home is McCarthyite in a very specific sense. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, conservatives were deeply frightened by communism overseas. But many of them also worried that the Truman administration’s military spending was creating budget deficits and that America’s entrance into NATO (and later the Korean War) was undermining American sovereignty. By hunting alleged communists in the State Department, and thereby suggesting that the real threat lay not overseas but at home, Joseph McCarthy reconciled those concerns. “The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores,” he declared in his infamous Wheeling, West Virginia, speech in February 1950, “but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this nation.” By suggesting that the real Islamic threat lies at home, today’s conservatives are saying much the same thing.

  8. lysias
    lysias
    April 23, 2015, 12:36 pm

    Dreyfus, like the rest of his family, was an Alsatian Jew. Like many Alsatians, they moved to France when Germany annexed Alsace after the Franco-Prussian War. This, in combination with the fact that he made the highly unusual decision for a French Jew to make a career in the French Army as an officer, suggests that he felt strong French nationalism.

  9. Froggy
    Froggy
    April 23, 2015, 2:47 pm

    French Jews gave Netanyahu their answer back in January after he finished his speech at the Grande Synagogue in Paris.

    • Walid
      Walid
      April 23, 2015, 7:18 pm

      It was a scene taken from “Casablanca”. Just imagine Netanyahu in a SS uniform:

  10. mcohen.
    mcohen.
    April 24, 2015, 4:07 am

    not sure why diaspora jews should suffer because of israeli policy ….attacking diaspora jews that pledge allegiance to the state they live in should be protected by that state as all citizens should….

    attacking diaspora jews is simply murder of innocent people and blackmail

    it like saying that if moslems attack jews in france then it is ok to kill moslems in america in retaliation….the two are citizens of seperate countries and there should be no connection

    after all……. justice for one justice for all

    • Walid
      Walid
      April 24, 2015, 7:21 am

      “not sure why diaspora jews should suffer because of israeli policy ” (mcohen)

      It’s because Israeli Jews keep bragging that they speak for ALL Jews, so you have Israel to thank for this erroneous and unjust interpretation by others. Netanyahu telling French and other Jews their actual home is Israel is not helping either. French Jews will always be happier in France, unless of course they are of the ultra-religious that perhaps would be happier in Israel for obvious reasons. I suspect those thousands of Jews leaving France for Israel are mostly comprised of the very religious.

      • eGuard
        eGuard
        April 24, 2015, 10:35 am

        not sure why diaspora jews should suffer because of israeli policy

        Indeed. Tell Netanyahu to stop interfering with French Jewish life.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      April 24, 2015, 9:04 pm

      “not sure why diaspora jews should suffer because of israeli policy ….attacking diaspora jews that pledge allegiance to the state they live in should be protected by that state as all citizens should”

      They shouldn’t suffer, and they should be protected. But, as Walid points out, Israel claims to speak for all Jews. Nor is the situation helped by the fact that most “official” Jewish organizations are so loud and fervent in their support of Israel that they cast doubt on the allegiance to the state they live in.
      However, these are reasons. They are not excuses.

  11. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth
    April 24, 2015, 4:39 am

    In the wake of emancipation, the 19th century saw a great flourishing of Western European Jewry, as well as American Jewry. French Jews became active in the professions, business, banking, education, and government. It gave rise to the Yiddish saying, “As happy as God in France.”

    This is certainly not correct. The expression ‘Living as God in France’ (leading a good life) or its older form ‘Living as the Gods in France’ exists in Dutch, Flemish, German, Frisian, Spanish and probably more European languages, so it is doubtful that the expression is originally Jiddish. It is also older than the 19th century, as in Dutch at least, it is found already in 1771, in one of the letters of the writer Betje Wolff.

    • Walid
      Walid
      April 24, 2015, 7:09 am

      “… so it is doubtful that the expression is originally Jiddish : (Elizabeth)

      The Grand Rabin of France refers to it simply as “heureux comme un juif en France” . He repeated it in a CNN interview during the Charlie-Hebdo jamboree in Paris. The word “God” was totally absent, so we have to assume that his version is the correct one. He said it in the context of Jews having always been happiest in France and that he wished for those happy days to return.

      The flourishing of Jews you mentioned happened only for the elitist Sephardic ones that were already emancipated to a certain degree. They dressed as elegantly as the Europeans, occupied high positions, did not have beards and blended easily into French and other Western European societies. The other ones, the Ashkenazi, had it very rough for a long while after the emancipation, even the Sephardic Jews did not want to associate with them or attend their synagogues and those that married into Ashkenazi became outcasts; the emancipation was meant to bring the overtaxed Ashkenazi out of the cellar.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 26, 2015, 2:13 pm

        “written by my French Jewish friend”

        Oh, he’s a friend of yours, Mayhem? Thanks for telling us there’s no reason to waste eye-power on it.

      • Elisabeth
        Elisabeth
        May 7, 2015, 9:35 am

        “The word “God” was totally absent, so we have to assume that his version is the correct one.”

        Huh????

        More likely his version was derived from the version with God in it, as this version is demonstarbly older.
        The original saying is apparently from Spanish: Happy as the (Visi-) Goths in France, which got bastardized to Happy as the Gods in France.

  12. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    April 24, 2015, 8:15 pm

    An excerpt from an article written by my French Jewish friend who ended up emigrating to Australia.

    “When I started junior high school in 1985, the Arab kids found out, I assume from my surname, that I was Jewish. I have never been religious, and never spoke about religion, but they knew.

    They called me ‘the Jew’. It started in the play area where I faced a lot of intimidation and nasty remarks. On the bus home, they would regularly stare at me and talk about how much they hated my ‘race’. I never defended myself, they were older, stronger and I was afraid. It was limited to verbal abuse – they never touched me. I still hated going to school because of them. In the late 80s the Arab community was still a minority in the school.

    I was a good student, and probably from a wealthier family than them. I think they mostly hated me for that; the fact that I was Jewish just gave them a reason to express their hatred. Islam didn’t seem important to them at the time. I think they were raised with traditional anti-Semitism through their parents, which was quite common among the North African Arabic community.

    One of my friends who went to a very good public high school in a posh suburb told me that he was also called ‘the Jew’ by the rich French kids there. Traditional anti-Semitism among the French Catholic families also existed. I was told by some kids who attended Catholic teaching at church that the priest had taught them that the Jews killed Jesus.

    The school environment degraded by the end of my 4 years of junior high school. Kids became more violent, there were fights between Arabs and ‘skin heads’, small gangs within the school, even gangs of girls, racketeering etc. I certainly didn’t want these new kids to know I was Jewish; they were far rougher than those picking on me before.

    When my brother, 5 years younger than me, started at the school, he was attacked by a kid with a machete. His heavy winter jacket protected him. The offender was evicted and sent to a special school where, a year later, a teacher was killed.

    In year 10 I started senior high school, located just across the street from the junior school. The principal of the high school was a terrifying man and he ran his school with an iron fist. He managed to filter out the bulk of the bad elements and had the best final year results for the area. The few Arab students there were mostly from good families and I never had any issues with them.

    The only difficult moments for me occurred at lunch time. The canteen was located at the junior high school. As I walked past the school, I was bullied by kids hanging outside. Not because I was Jewish – they didn’t know – but because I was white, female, and nicely dressed. One held a pellet gun to my head in one instance, ‘for fun’.

    I did have issues with the anti-Israel and anti-American pamphlets distributed by the Communist youth group at the gate in 1990. I think we all know now what really hides behind anti-Zionism but at the time, it was not commonly heard of. It was mostly expressed by those political minority groups and some leftist teachers. My history teacher in year 12 told us that the Jews kicked the Arabs out of Israel in 1948. I disagreed but was quickly shut up by the teacher and one of the communist kids. Those same kids called me a ‘Bourgeoise’, because my family had some money, a nice house, and also probably because I was good at school. Social racism. It was unpleasant but I wasn’t afraid of them.”

    http://jewsdownunder.com/2015/04/02/growing-up-as-a-jew-in-paris/

    Stories like this exemplify the poor prognosis today for European Jewry.

  13. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    April 25, 2015, 10:26 am

    The occurrence of some serious crimes directed at members of group A in society B do not of themselves prove that being in A in B-land is more dangerous in general than being just anyone in that country or that As do not have excellent prospects there. It may be that, even as some bad incidents occur, As have higher levels of education, greater levels of residency in low-crime neighbourhoods and significant esteem from the rich and powerful.
    I don’t believe that there is as yet a statistically valid argument for anyone to move, for safety and wellbeing, from any Western country for reasons of race.
    Perhaps I could wish that there were a valid argument for Jewish people in the West to call for an end to Gaza calamities in their own self-interest: such an argument might actually save some lives. On the other hand it’s not particularly wonderful to save some lives by dwelling on threats to the wellbeing of others. I’d rather seek support from all quarters on the valid moral grounds that certainly do exist.

    • Mayhem
      Mayhem
      April 26, 2015, 7:46 pm

      to call for an end to Gaza calamities in their own self-interest: such an argument might actually save some lives

      If Hamas had agreed to a ceasefire that had been proposed by Egypt and agreed to by Israel when the death toll of Palestinians had been at 200 then further loss of life would have been avoided but they didn’t, preferring to sacrifice the lives of their citizens to continue attacking Israel.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 28, 2015, 5:12 pm

        Maybe that is so, though not central to the argument. I didn’t say that an idea that would save some lives is always in this hard world a good idea.
        I had a look at the international homicide figures compiled by a UN agency interested in the effects of gangs, drugs and so on. They’re on Wikipedia somewhere: it’s pointed out that definitions of homicide are necessarily consistent across the world.
        The rate per 100,000 per year was 4.7 in the US, 1 in France and 1.8 in Israel. The editors commented that this would go down to 1.7 if the victims of one particularly bad attack in the year concerned were omitted. There was a separate and much higher figure for Palestine. If I’ve misremembered by a small amount forgive me.
        If there were residents of this trio of countries considering changing residence within the same trio and with the primary purpose of minimising their risk of homicide – a very unrealistic idea, but I hope acceptable for these purposes – then they would all go to France. France would have to be congratulated in providing the least lethal environment for all its residents, not excluding Jewish people or those of Muslim faith. Unless, that is, they considered the differences not enough to be statistically significant and the basis of a rational decision. The same result would ensue if their primary purpose was to avoid being responsible for homicide.

  14. Mooser
    Mooser
    April 26, 2015, 2:18 pm

    “Perhaps I could wish that there were a valid argument for Jewish people in the West to call for an end to Gaza calamities in their own self-interest:”

    Sure, sure, every Jewish congregation, every Jew, signs a petition which is presented to Israel, which responds “I’m sorry, but this is a democracy and we don’t take orders from religions.”

    The connection between Zionism and the rest of the Jews in the world is a one-way street. That should be obvious. They, the Zionists, boss us, and we keep our mouths shut and do what we’re told. Find me an instance, one, where it works any other way.

  15. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    April 27, 2015, 1:26 am

    anti-Semitic attacks in Europe are correlated with violent Israeli assaults

    An escalation in retribution by the Nazis against the Czech people in WWII can also be correlated with the assassination of the SS ‘Butcher of Prague’ Reinhard Heydrich, so should one have said to the Czech people to not carry such actions against their enemy?

    Anti-semites use events like the Gaza war as an excuse to accelerate their efforts. To think that placating the Nazis would have lessened their murderous actions is as naïve as suggesting that endemic Muslim judeophobia, which has blossomed into the full-blooded new anti-Semitism of today, would lessen its venomous actions against Jews if they were to fawn to Muslims as they were compelled to do in the dhimmi days.

    The writing is sadly on the wall.

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