France: The Early Diagnosis of the New Anti-Semitism – Op …

Posted By on June 27, 2015

Anti-Semitism in Europe has increased to a level where many committed Jews ask themselves if they should emigrate. The same is true for a significant number of more assimilated Jews. Even more widespread across the Jewish community is the question of whether their children should remain in their native country.

In an environment where the Jewish community has great doubts regarding its future, it helps to get a greater perspective by looking back to the European anti-Semitism that reached unprecedented post-war levels after the Second Intifada in 2000.

Of all the European countries, France is a good one to use as an example, for a number of reasons. Since 2000, the level and nature of anti-Semitic incidents occurring in France which included several murders of Jews by Muslims have been more severe than in other European countries. France not only has the largest Jewish community in Europe, with half a million Jews, but also has the largest Muslim community, with an estimated five million. In addition, the first high-level analysts who came forward to assess the new anti-Semitism which differs, to a large extent, from the classic religious and ethnic anti-Semitism, did so in France.

The work of these analysts is not well-known internationally because most of it was published in French. It remains of great importance, however, because so much of what they originally observed has expanded to even greater proportions. This is due, to a large extent, to the failure of governmental authorities. The sociologist Shmuel Trigano, one of Europes leading Jewish thinkers, was one of the first to make a substantial contribution in exposing and assessing the situation. At the end of 2001, Trigano began publishing a series of articles titled, Observatoire du monde juif.[1] (Observatory of the Jewish world), a series which lasted more than two and a half years.

Trigano succeeded in organizing the collaboration of a substantial number of authors who analyzed many aspects of the hate-fueled outbursts. The first issue, dated November 2001, contained titles indicative of the climate for the French Jewish community: The Jews of France Targeted by the Intifada?, An Atmosphere of Insecurity, The Middle East Conflict is Exported to Western Democracies, The Anti-Jewish Aggressions, The Perverse Logic of French Politics, Religious Anti-Semitism, Political Anti-Semitism, and The Extreme Left and its Ideological Manipulations.[2] These could very well be titles of current essays. since the situation has only worsened.

In another issue published in 2002, Alexandre del Valle explained the convergence of various totalitarianisms in an article titled, The New Red, Brown, and Green Faces of Anti-Semitism, referring to the coming together of communism, fascism and Islamism in regard to anti-Semitism.[3] In the next issue, Michle Tribalat described how the Islamist social network was full of messages comparing Israel with Nazis.[4]

Another important scholar who greatly contributed to diagnosing the anti-Semitic reality in France is Pierre-Andr Taguieff. This non-Jewish philosopher published his book, The New Judeophobia in 2002, which made a major contribution to the understanding of anti-Israelism. Taguieff discussed this latest mutation of anti-Semitism and how it hit French Jewry. He noted that although classic anti-Semitism is considered to be politically incorrect, anti-Israelism did not encounter such resistance and was thus able to expand rapidly.

...[Taguieff] identified the new myth of the intrinsically good Palestinian, or, in other words, that the Palestinians can do no wrong. Taguieff exposed the process by which the crimes of the allegedly deprived, a group to whom the Palestinians claim to belong, are condoned. He described the role of the media in justifying violence and portraying criminals as victims. He pointed out that the next step in the distortion process was to declare that the criminals, now disguised as victims, were not to be held responsible for their acts because they are molded by their socio-economic conditions.

Taguieff also exposed other key issues such as the belief that Muslims and Arabs behave as they do because they are supposedly humiliated or persecuted. He identified the new myth of the intrinsically good Palestinian, or, in other words, that the Palestinians can do no wrong. Taguieff stated that blind pacifism places both the aggressor and his victim at the same level of morality and turns legitimate self-defense into a criminal transgression.[5] These days we can see many examples of this phenomena, including the newly published report of the United Nations Human Rights Commission report on the 2014 Gaza war.[6]

Taguieff also exposed the widespread fallacy that Islamophobia was a larger problem than anti-Semitism. The risk for Jews of being attacked in France was and remains many times greater than the risk of Muslims being attacked.

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France: The Early Diagnosis of the New Anti-Semitism - Op ...

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