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Anti Semitism in France

Anti Semitism in France

By Annonymous

From: "Romesh Diwan" <diwanr@rpi.edu>
Sent: Thursday, May 09, 2002 5:33 AM
Subject: Anti Semitism in France

Friends, nameste. Got an interesting piece from a friend I respect. It provides details about antisemitic activities going in France for quite some time. Any discrimiation, specially a prejudice like anti semitism, is disastarous; because tomorrow they will come for us. If this seems reasonable to you, please spread this word as much as you can.

With kind regards.


Anti-Semitism in France
By Annonymous

"That shitty little country, Israel." Daniel Bernard, French Ambassador to England (and former French ambassador to the UN), December 2001.

 A brief recap of recent events:

* April 3, 2002: Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue outside of Paris;

* April 2, 2002: Or Aviv Synagogue in Marseille was burned to the ground;

* April 2, 2002: Arsonists struck a pavilion in a Jewish cemetery in the eastern town of Schiltigheim, France;

* March 30-31, 2002: Arsonists attacked synagogues in Strasbourg, France after an anti-Israel demonstration;

* Fifteen masked men drove two cars through the gates and into a synagogue in Lyon. They then set fire to one of the cars in the prayer hall;

* A gunman opened fire on a kosher butcher's shop (and, of course, the butcher) in Toulouse, France;

* A Jewish couple in their 20s were beaten up by five men in Villeurbanne, France. The woman was pregnant.

* A Jewish school was broken into and vandalized in Sarcelles, France. This was in the past week.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, from September 9, 2000, at the start of the intifada,through November 20, 2001, there were some 330 acts of anti-Semitism just in and around Paris. In addition to literally scores of firebombing of synagogues, just before Rosh Hashanah, 200 Arabs attacked Jews on the Champs Elysees. The pace has only picked up since then.

In December, a French cinema in Paris refused to allow a Hanukah showing of Harry Potter to 800 Jewish children because of French-Palestinian threats (the threats were confirmed by French police who then went on to do nothing, not even giving details). It was one incident in an eventful month when synagogues continued to be firebombed and a Jewish kindergarten was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti and set ablaze.

We can understand anti-Semitism among the French people. There is nothing the French love like their traditions and, on the question of hating Jews, they certainly have tradition galore. What, however, can explain the sometimes muted, sometimes defensively outraged reaction of French officials? Simple. There are approximately 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 Muslims presently living in France and many more arrive daily. There are only about 600,000 Jews still living in France. Moreover, France is the number one European exporter to Iraq, totaling over two billion dollars per year in exports since 2000. To those who are at a loss to explain why French elected officials seem"helpless" to stem the tide of anti-Semitism, I say that something smells awfully Vichy around here.

You already know that Israel is at war against a fearsome enemy, which has brought the fight to its streets. Much of the civilized world (well, at least on this side of the Atlantic), finally understands this fact. What is not being acknowledged, however, is that this is not a war against Israel, or, as propagandists and demagogues worldwide would have it, occupiers. This is a war against each and every individual, Israeli or not, religious or not, Zionist or not, right, left or center, who identifies himself or herself as Jewish. Israel is only the publicized front line and if you are not in Israel, and the fight has not arrived at your front yard, just wait.

Or, perhaps, we shouldn't wait. Perhaps history has finally taught us, of all people, that waiting and hoping for succor and sympathy from the nations of the world will lead only to more burned synagogues, pogroms, and, down the road, grim faced dignitaries mouthing "never again" while dedicating yet another memorial museum.

We cannot wait, inactively and hope to have security or peace for our children or ourselves. We dare not privately rail against irrational, virulent hatred while letting the world believe that we remain disinterested, accepting our lot with equanimity or, worse, resignation. We can, and must, do more than merely grieve.

So I call on you, whether you are a fellow Jew, a friend, or merely a person with the capacity and desire to distinguish decency from depravity, to care enough to stay informed. Don't ever let yourself become deluded into thinking that this is not your fight.

Think of all of the people of good conscience that you know and let them know that you and the people that you care about need their help. Remind your non-Jewish friends that France may not care much for them either today, The number one best selling book in France is "September 11: The Frightening Fraud" which argues that no plane ever hit the Pentagon.

Our only strength is the strength of our community and there can be no community without communication.

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