The events in France this week were certainly shocking.
But what exactly
was shocking is very much a matter of opinion. For people who have been
brainwashed by the round-the-clock, hyper-intensive media brainwashing, the
answers are very clear-cut: It is shocking that children were ruthlessly
murdered, shocking that Jews were targeted, shocking that the lone terrorist was
able to resist arrest for so long.
I apologize if any readers are
offended by what follows, but perhaps it will help some victims of the latest
sickening media circus – utilized to the utmost by the politicians there and
here, if not actually orchestrated by them – to avoid drowning in, or being
swept along by, the mainstream babble. First, what’s NOT shocking.
not shocking that al-Qaida or its affiliates have attacked Jews or others on
their long list of targets. That’s if this guy was indeed an al-Qaida operative.
His status moved rapidly from a deranged loner, to a neo-Nazi (possibly an
ex-soldier) and then to an Islamist terrorist, with the al-Qaida label an almost
It’s not shocking that the French anti-terrorist
units didn’t handle the “incident” effectively, given their almost total lack of
experience. What is amazing, although not shocking when you stop to think about
it, is that France – unlike the UK, Spain and the US – has not been the scene of
a serious terrorist attack.
It is not therefore not shocking, or even
surprising, that many people believe there was a tacit deal between the French
authorities and the terrorist organizations, whereby the former would not hound
the latter on French soil, in return for the terrorists desisting from
perpetrating any attacks in France. The same suspicion attaches to
It is certainly not shocking that there was an anti-Semitic
outrage in France – and indeed, no one was shocked by that.
In fact, it
is fair to say that what is genuinely shocking is the initial reaction to the
murders, which was largely along the lines of: “Well, we all know that there is
a severe problem of anti-Semitism in France, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised
by a violent incident, but a deliberate mass murder is shocking.”
a staggering indictment of how far things have deteriorated in France, and to a
large extent in Europe as a whole, over the last decade or so.
if we accept that the perpetrator of the crimes was not a neo-Nazi or any other
kind of domestic anti-Semite, but rather an Islamist terrorist, then the whole
event must be seen in an entirely different light. It was a terrorist incident
that took place in France and that was directed at Jews, among
That is NOT what is meant by anti-Semitism in France, even if the
perpetrators’ motives were anti-Semitic.
This is not hairsplitting. On
the contrary, to understand what has been happening in France for the last
decade, and what is likely to happen in the coming one, it is essential to
distinguish between terrorism and anti-Semitism. The French Jewish community, as
a community, is not threatened by terrorism. Every individual in it is under
threat, just as every Israeli lives in the shadow of a terrorist
But terrorism is not an existential threat to Israel, nor is it
to the Jewish community in France. Anti-Semitism, however, is already a major
threat to the existence of that community – to the point that many, if not most,
French Jews believe that their community has no long-term future and that they,
or their children, will not remain in France.
The difference between the
terrorist threat and the anti- Semitic one is that the former comes from outside
France and will be fiercely (if not always effectively) resisted by the French
state, irrespective of who is the president and which party is in power. The
anti-Semitic threat comes from within France, from neo-Nazi and other right-wing
extremists, AND from Islamists within the large and growing Muslim community.
The French government cannot always be relied upon to resist it, fiercely or
otherwise – for many reasons and from many motives.
background, arguably the most important political event on the global agenda
this year is the presidential election – the French one, that is, not the
American. The French election offers voters a real choice, because the racist,
anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic xenophobic camp has a serious candidate in the person
of Marie Le Pen. The good news out of France this week, lost in the
media-generated noise from Toulouse, was that President Nicolas Sarkozy’s
recovery in the polls is continuing and the threat that Le Pen would knock him
out of the second round, which seemed a real possibility earlier in the year,
has now faded.
The factor that pushes anti-Semitism from the political
extremes to the political center – that makes it active, rather than passive –
is the socioeconomic climate. One thousand years of Jewish history in Europe
demonstrate that a prolonged socioeconomic crisis is the trigger that pushes a
country and a society from passive anti-Semitic sentiments to active anti-
Semitic actions and policies. On that basis, what matters in France now is not
dramatic incidents, however horrendous in themselves, but how the economic
crisis in Europe plays out.
The upcoming election is both a reflection of
that crisis and a determinant of its outcome. After the shock – genuine or
media-manufactured – subsides, that is what French Jews, and Israel too, should