General view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
(photo credit: CHARLES PLATIAU / REUTERS)
Some 15 years too late, more than 250 French personalities, both Jews and non-Jews, have signed a strong manifesto against Muslim antisemitism. This document sums up the main elements of violence and incitement against Jews emanating from parts of this immigrant community.
The manifesto starts off by stating that antisemitism isn’t an issue of the Jews, but of the French people. It praises the French for their resilience after each Islamist terrorist attack. (It should be noted here that “Islamist” is a politically correct expression for “Muslim.” Yet Islam’s adherents constitute a continuum between two extremes. On one extreme are radical, violent Muslims. On the other, individuals who are Muslim in name only, because they were born as such.)
The document goes on to say that France has become a theater of murderous antisemitism. It adds that terrorism is expanding, condemned by the public while the media practice silence. The manifesto then refers to the rhetoric of the previous prime minister, Manuel Valls, who at that time was still a socialist. In parliament he said, “France without Jews will no longer be France.” It sounds meaningful, but what is France, really?
In Vichy France the Jews were excluded and persecuted. Yet the government of this entity without Jews was a fully legitimate expression of France, as has been stated by the past four French presidents; Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande and Emmanuel Macron. The France of today, with an estimated six million Muslims, is very different from the country it was before most of these immigrants came in.
The document then refers to the murder by radical Islamists of 11 Jews and the torture of others because they were Jews. The names of most of the victims are not given. The actual number, by the way, is 12. The manifesto probably doesn’t include the 2003 murder of Sebastien Selam by Adel Amastaibou.
The manifesto’s next paragraph explains that the societal emphasis on Islamophobia hides the fact that French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than French Muslims. It adds that 10% of Jewish inhabitants of the central region of France have had to move because they were no longer safe in their neighborhoods nor could their children attend public schools. This is called “silent ethnic cleansing.”
Another hard-hitting paragraph follows. After asking why all this is occurring, the answer given is Islamist radicalization and the antisemitism it promotes. The document also exposes part of the French elite who see this as an expression of a social revolution, despite the fact that the same phenomena can be found in such diverse societies as Denmark, Afghanistan, Mali and Germany.
The signatories’ conclusion is that in addition to the classic antisemitism of the extreme Right, there is also the antisemitism of the radical Left. In anti-Zionism it has found its alibi for transforming murderers of Jews into victims of society. This is possible, it says, because of the electoral reality that the French Muslim vote is 10 times than the Jewish vote.
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The last section of the manifesto deals with what is expected from Islam in France. The first paragraph recalls the demonstration after the murder of Mireille Knoll by a Muslim in March. It mentions that there were also imams among the demonstrators. It states that these imams were aware that Muslim antisemitism is the greatest danger to Islam as well as to the world of peace and freedom in which they have chosen to reside. Yet most of these imams require police protection. This reflects the terror Islamists employ against French Muslims.
Unfortunately, the next, poorly thought through paragraph taints what could have been a flawless description and accusation of the major antisemitic criminality and hatred coming out of parts of the French Muslim community. The document asks Muslim theologians to declare obsolete the texts of the Koran which call for the murder and punishment of Jews, Christians and non-believers. This change is considered necessary so that Muslim believers can no longer base their actions on a holy text when committing crimes.
Non-Muslims should not however involve themselves in Islamic theological issues. The signatories could have made a far more compelling statement: “It is the moral duty of all Muslim religious and lay leaders in France to come out forcefully against terrorism and criminality committed by members of the Muslim community against Jews as well as against others.” The document concludes by demanding that the fight against antisemitism become a national cause before it is too late.
The manifesto was written by a non-Jew, Philippe Val, the former director of the weekly Charlie Hebdo. In January 2015, Muslim murderers killed 12 of Charlie Hebdo’s staff members and wounded 11 others. Among the manifesto’s signatories are former president Nicolas Sarkozy, former prime minister Manual Valls and Laurent Wauquiez, the leader of the Republicans, the country’s second largest party. Other signatories include former Republican prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and former Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, a socialist. The French justice minister, Nicole Beloubet, said that she would have been willing to sign the document as well.
One must regret its shortcomings, but despite them the manifesto is one of the most forceful documents against the widespread antisemitism among Muslims and their non-Muslim allies.Manfred Gerstenfeld is emeritus chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, and the International Leadership Award by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Irene Kuruc is a researcher of Western European antisemitism.
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