France: On the cusp of Pogroms

The past years have been rife with reports from France about attacks on Jews.  The recent turbulence began with an attack on the French-Jewish community in Toulouse, France in 2012.  The “attack outside a Jewish school that killed a rabbi and three young children.”   

In 2012, these attacks shocked the world.  Today, it would not.

Then, just over a year ago, on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A report circulated across international media circuits of “masses of French protesters marching down a Paris thoroughfare chanting openly anti-Semitic slogans and calling on Jews to get out of France. Chants included "Jews, France is not yours!" "Jews out of France" and "The story of the gas chambers is bull****!" At one point, in a show of raw, smoldering hate, the crowd simply spit out the word together "Jew, Jew, Jew!"

Reports also stated: “many of the marchers can be seen giving the "quenelle" inverted Nazi salute popularized by anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne. The gesture is seen as a way for anti-Semites to give a Nazi salute without incurring the wrath of authorities - although one demonstrator can be seen giving a full-on Nazi salute as well.”

Again, during Bastille Day, July of 2014, rioters brandishing Palestinian flags and cardboard replicas of Kassam rockets attacked two Paris Synagogues, trapping congregants inside during a several hour standoff with French police.  Reports stated: “Death to the Jews,” “Murderous Israel,” “One Jew, Some Jews, All Jews are Terrorists” was read loudly among chants by the rioters outside the synagogues.

Two weeks ago armed assailants broke into the suburban Paris residence of a Jewish couple and raped the woman while her husband was robbed.  The Jpost reported: “The men demanded that the couple hand over their credit cards and codes, the couple told police. The assailants told the couple they shouldn’t try to pretend they don’t have money because they knew the victims were Jewish, the victims said. "Tell us where you hide the money," said one of the assailants during the robbery, according to one of the victims' friends in the BFMTV report. "You Jews always have money.” 

Most recently, for the third time this past week  “pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city's Jewish residents."  On Sunday, residents reported chants of "Gas the Jews" and "Kill the Jews", as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, also known as "Little Jerusalem".

Jews are fleeing France in masses to Israel and the United State.  According to the IBITimes: “The statistics show France has now overtaken the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe as the world's main source of Jewish emigration, and highlight growing insecurity among France's 500,000-strong Jewish population – the biggest in Europe – after a wave of anti-Semitic attacks since June … 4,566 Jews had moved from France to Israel in the first eight months of this year … More than 1% of France's overall Jewish population is likely to leave this year – the first time in history this has ever happened in a modern developed country”

Amid the rising anti-Semitism in France, Non Governmental Organizations and Governmental agencies should be tasked in assisting the French Jewish community battling anti-Semitism.  The attacks on Jews in France may already be referred to as “Pogroms”.  I have personally extended invitations to former classmates, French Jews some of whom have already begun to leave France for the United States and Israel.   It is my hope that the parallels in history between earlier Pogroms in Jewish history and the Pogroms seen in early 21st century France ends today.