Thursday, July 06, 2006

Anti-Semitism in France.

Good article in today's International Herald Tribune on the Dreyfus Affair and the problem of anti-semitism in France. As much as I agree with this part of their analysis:
This time, however, it is not a resurgence of the anti-Semitism that has long scarred European history: It is not that of the Middle Ages, the Dreyfus Affair, World War II or even the cynical minimizing of the Holocaust by the extreme rightist leader Jean- Marie Le Pen in the 1980s. Rather, a new form of anti-Semitism is now alarming France's 600,000 Jews.
By all accounts, children of Arab immigrants in France increasingly view Jews as their enemy. This anti- Semitism has its roots in hostility toward Israel dating from 1948, but it has also been aggravated by the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and even post-9/11 tensions between the West and Islam. At the same time, some unemployed youths of Arab and African extraction have simply made Jews the scapegoats for their anger at French society.
Attacks on and threats to Jews and Jewish property have escalated since 2000, but quite the most shocking incident was the kidnapping and murder of a 23-year-old French Jew, Ilan Halimi, in February. And, in what appeared to be the transfer of ancient prejudices to a new social group, the leader of the kidnap gang said Halimi was chosen because Jews are wealthy.
I disagree with what follows as unfortunately, the IHT goes on to say that "today's Dreyfus Affair is the Halimi case". That I think is not only wrong and stupid, it is also dangerous. The Hallim case has not divided a nation in two sides like the Dreyfus case did. In fact, it is quite the opposite, it has drawn (most) people and communities together in the condemnation of such horror. Intellectuals have not take the side of the torturers. There is no paranoia that the French army may be infiltrated by spies.
I find it really annoying that people should always feel obligated to draw comparisons with the past when it's most of the time uncalled for. It only underlines their lack of vision and their need for simplistic views which they may find intellectually reassuring.


At 01:37, Anonymous marc said...

You're right in saying that "There is no paranoia that the French army may be infiltrated by spies." but there are still commonly shared opinions that Jews are overepresented in the media, business, medicine....


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