Seems Pretty Honest To Me
The problem is a real one in France. But any government is a reflection of its people, whether the people all agree with the government's actions or not. Foreign policy? who knows. But is France harboring anti-semitism? it appears they are indeed. Francophobes don't just fall off trees. They are created for a reason. It appears there's some pretty good reasons out there.
Anti-Semitism in France: reality check
5/10/2002 | zefrog
Posted on 05/10/2002 2:00:50 PM PDT by zefrog
Disclaimer: I am French, not muslim, not leftist, my father is a jew but I'm not. I would like to expose my point of view on what is "really" going on in France these days with regards to antisemitism. I feel that the American informations have been highly unbalanced on this issue.
Fact #1: There has been antisemitic acts in France perpetuated by muslim teenagers. The socialist governement, which has been consistently lousy on crime issues, has been slow to realize (and consequently, to admit) that this violence was not just part of rising crime in general, but that there was a real specific agressivity targetted at the Jews. One reason for this is that, when the French hear the word "antisemitism", they tend to look at the reactionnary right, while here the problem came from the muslim community, mostly leftist (for those who are involved in politics). Hence the first state of denial from the French governement: since there was no problem from the reactionnary right, how could there be an antisemitism problem? After this delay, the governement realized it was dead wrong. The president, the prime minister and others made harsch statements to condemn these acts (contrary to what the journalist Christopher Caldwell wrote: he claimed that no major candidate to the presidency clearly condemned the antisemitic acts: this is plain, absolute bullshit). Since then, the police has been sent in large numbers to protect the Jewish community, with pretty good results.
Fact #2: The accusations of antisemitism against France have first been launched by Sharon himself (who does not live in France...) and by his interior minister when the French governement became critical of Sharon's policies. This has been, by the way, a consistent part of Sharon's strategy: any non-jew who his critical of his policies is accused of being anti-Israel and antisemitic... These accusations were relayed by a prominent spokesperson of the French Jewish community, Daniel Cuckiermann, who happens to be Sharon's lapdog: among other things, he has a "Sharon's quote of the day" on his website. Cuckiermann became the main provider of informations for American journalists. Problem is, Cuckiermann is not only Sharon's unofficial spokesperon in France, he is also an hysterical who compared the antisemitic acts with the Kristallnacht in nazi Germany: this was so out of line that he was harschly criticized by a part of the French Jewish community itself. He also later said that thanks to Le Pen's strong showing, "the muslims would keep quiet now": he drew himself even harscher criticism from the Jewish community, again. Excuse-me, but I really don't think that these "sources of information" are unbiased, do you?
Fact #3: A French ambassador in te UK made an highly inappropriate remark. One unique remark, made by one unique individual, in a private party, in an unknown context. The reason why he was not fired is the usual one: a basic rule in diplomacy is to "never fire a diplomat", whether we're talking about France, the US, or any other nation. This is the very same reason why an American diplomat is not fired when he calls France "a banana republic" (and on a regular basis)... Anyway: apparently, this remark was sufficient to trigger hysteria among francophobes, persuaded that old-style antisemitism was back on the whole French nation.
Fact #4: the campaign of the American press on France's antisemitism, later relayed by francophobic sketches in the SNL and others, started, based on the sole elements mentioned above, and especially on Cuckiermann's "informations".
Fact #5: The union of French Jewish students published a detailed study of antisemitism in France in major French newpapers. Conclusions: there has not been a surge of antisemitic acts between 2001 and 2000, antisemitism in France is at a very low level, the integration of jews in France is exemplary. Of course, American journalists were not there to listen, or probably considered that these kind of informations would not sell enough paper... apparently, full-fledged France-bashing is better for business than balanced articles in connection with reality.
Fact #6: There are regularly major members of the French government which happen to be jews, including prime ministers, and neither the French people nor the media even notice. This is what real integration is about. Compare this situation with all the comments generated by Liebermann's candidature to vice-presidency in the US.
This being said, it is true that France is having a real problem with its huge unintegrated muslim community, and the hatred of these people is targetted at jews first. Because of this, the fear felt by jews in France is perfectly understandable and justified. What is not justified are the accusations according to which France would be globally antisemitic, as well as the complacency and the lack of seriousness and honesty of the American press.