mardi 28 mai 2013

A Growing Fear in France, French Jewry is facing a familiar test, Clémence Boulouque

"a growing sense of isolation now prevails in the Jewish community: The physical safety and the protection granted them by the French Republic seemed a broken promise."

La conclusion est néanmoins étonnante...  Voir ICI.
Clémence Bouloque
TabletA Growing Fear in France, As political and financial crises deepen in Western Europe, French Jewry is facing a familiar test, Clémence Bouloque, a writer and former literary critic for Le Figaro and France culture in Paris, is a doctoral candidate in Jewish studies and history at New York University.  Extraits:

[...] In the face of such events, the change in the public response to attacks on Jews in France—ranging from apathy to open support—is all the more notable. In 2006, a 21-year-old cellphone salesman named Ilan Halimi was kidnapped and tortured for 32 days in a basement by the self-styled “gang of the barbarians,” which consisted of 27 individuals whose main figure, Yussuf Fofana, calls himself a Salafist. The abduction was motivated more by financial concerns than Jihad, however: The kidnappers demanded a 450,000-Euro ransom—“because the Jews are loaded and have a tight-knit community.” The perpetrators were caught, and (in a striking example of the anti-Jewish landscape of the new millennium) the lawyer of “the barbarians,” Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, is herself the fiancée of Carlos, one of the most infamous terrorists of the past decades. (She was also just recently picked by the Iranian Republic to help it sue Ben Affleck for Argo, his Academy-Award-winning film about the hostage crisis.) The verdict of the trial against the barbarians handed down in 2009 was greeted with horror for its mildness because, despite Fofana’s life-imprisonment sentence, it included acquittals and suspensions. The minister of the interior called for a retrial, and the attorney general appealed the decision, and in December 2010, time was added to most of the sentences. Yet the necessity for exemplariness had been initially lost on the jury, and a growing sense of isolation now prevails in the Jewish community: The physical safety and the protection granted them by the French Republic seemed a broken promise.
In 2006, according to the police, 33,000 people marched in memory of Ilan Halimi—mostly politicians and Jews. People could not help but compare this march with another one, which took place 15 years before, in the wake of the desecration of a Jewish cemetery on May 14, 1990, when about 200,000 demonstrators spilled out into the streets of Paris, marching down the avenues that link the Place de la Bastille and Place de la République.
In spite of gestures and some symbolic political events—most visibly at the annual dinner of the CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France), which is heavily attended by presidents, ministers, and those dignitaries with hopes for a future in politics—the postwar republican pact appears to be broken. [...]
Social media are merely an indicator of the rise of trivialized anti-Semitism. Another indicator of its “demarginalization” in the words of Pierre-André Taguieff, is the success of comedian Dieudonné, who has attracted thousands to his shows brimming with anti-Semitic “jokes” and has been awarded the prize of “political incorrectness” by Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson—presented to him on stage by a sound technician, dressed in stripped pajamas. Dieudonné crosses the limits of libel in order to fashion himself as a defender of freedom of speech—and the victim of the powerful Zionist plot against it. This trend has penetrated the minds of the youth: Speakers of the CoExist program in partnership with SOS Racisme exhibit banal deep-seated anti-Semitism. Ten years ago a study titled “The lost territories of the Republic” tried to raise awareness about the challenges of teaching racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism in the classroom: Things have only gotten worse, claims its editor, historian George Bensoussan. Now teaching the Holocaust proves almost impossible in certain neighborhoods.
In order to describe this phenomenon, Taguieff resists the term anti-Semitism, coined in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr, with its historical overtones that grounds it in the late 19th century and in racial Nazi propaganda. “Judeophobia is more generic—what we witness now is a post-antisemite judeophobia structured by radical anti-Zionism.” This term renders more accurately this new mental landscape fueled by social resentment, “which started taking roots back in the 1990s.” The excuse of victimhood lies at the core of Judeophobia and anti-Zionism propaganda: Tariq Ramadan, a controversial Muslim scholar and grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, was a case in point when he depicted Mohamed Merah as a victim of the injustices of French society, which shuts all upward-mobility opportunities for second-generation immigrants. “Playing on these affects and emphasizing powerlessness lead to an identification with the Palestinians and thus to a demonization of the Jew,” claims Taguieff.
The loss of prestige of SOS Racisme in the banlieues further illustrates this phenomenon: The trailblazer organization in campaigns against racial and religious hatred and prejudices in the 1980s has lost momentum as if fighting against both racism and anti-Semitism had ceased to be relevant. A monumental 2,000-page dictionary of racism (Dictionaire critique et historique du racisme), just released and edited under Taguieff’s direction, sheds further light on this disconnect. As a result, the prevailing perception among many French today is that members of the Left are unwilling to deal strongly with anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic rhetoric out of ostensible sympathy with the plight of the Palestinians or, worse, that they are merely using the Palestinian situation as an excuse to mask their own Judeophobia. [...].
Disillusioned but unwilling to join the ranks of the extremes, a majority of French Jews still refuse to forsake their faith in their motherland altogether or, at least, to openly admit it. In 2004 then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon caused an outrage when he invited French Jews to be the next mass immigration to Israel and not to sit it out, hoping that things would improve in France. Politicians and leaders of Jewish institutions alike voiced their disapproval for such an intrusion into French politics. This would probably still be the case today were a foreign politician or commentator to make similar statements—such hints at a doomed future are, at least in public, greeted with irritation. “Aliya figures have not soared,” concludes Hayoun.
Yet the republican pact appears to be broken, and with approval rates sinking to new lows President Hollande has so far failed to give answers to a nation plagued by debt, taxes, and all-time high unemployment. A recent poll, in April, shows that over two in three French are braced for violent social unrest (“explosion sociale”) in the coming months: In the current climate, the communal anxiety of French Jews is being fueled by their awareness that they are ideal scapegoats. As CRIF President Richard Prasquier concludes, this deleterious climate “damages the image of France as a safe haven for its minorities”—an image that French Jews still refuse to see as their world of yesterday.

Photo Claude TRUONG-NGOC

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