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February 20, 2019 7:52 am

A Troubling Time for the Jews of France

avatar by Meyer Habib / JNS.org

Opinion

“Yellow Vest” protestors scream antisemitic abuse at French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut in Paris. Photo: Screenshot.

JNS.orgThese are dark days for France — days that are giving rise to questions about the future of its Jews.

For months, we have witnessed the “yellow vest” protests. The demonstrations, which began because of justified claims against the government, are becoming more radical from day to day. Sadly, along with the calls against the establishment and for social justice, we are hearing shouts we never thought we would hear in the streets of Paris in 2019. Some of the “yellow vests” protests are based on myths and stories similar to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

And not a week goes by in which French President Emmanuel Macron’s former work with the Rothschild Bank isn’t mentioned, hinting at links between wealth, power, and the Jews.

According to a recent poll, almost half of the yellow vest activists believe in an international Zionist conspiracy. I am calling on the movement to take a look at itself and clean house.

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The attacks in Toulouse and at the Hyper Cacher supermarket, the murder of Sarah Halimi, who was thrown out of the window of her Paris apartment, and the murder of Mireille Knoll, who was burned to death in her home, were outrages. But attacks against Jews have become routine.

Universities are seeing more and more antsemitic threats and graffiti. On the Internet, we are witnessing a tsunami of hatred. Just as an example, I receive dozens of death threats on a daily basis. I file complaints with the police, as is my civil duty, but without results. Is it reasonable for a member of parliament to need security just because he’s a Jew?

The numbers are astonishing. Figures indicate a 74 percent rise in antisemitic incidents in 2018, after a 26 percent rise in 2017.

Seventy-five years after the Holocaust, not much has changed. The only thing that is different is the existence of Israel — a true defense for all Jews in the Diaspora and a life-insurance policy.

As a member of the French parliament and a Jew, I am worried mainly for France itself. Too many are unwilling to call a spade a spade when they talk about anti-Zionism. It doesn’t matter if it’s the left or the extreme right — hatred of Israel has become a calling card for those who hate Jews. The hypocrisy reaches new heights when we hear far-left parties defending the recent antisemitic incidents. These are the same parties that advocate boycotts of Israel and laud terrorists in street demonstrations.

All this is happening as France boycotted the Warsaw summit, which was effectively a meeting about countering Iran.

Where is the logic? How can we roll out the red carpet for a regime that espouses hatred of Jews and hatred of Israel, while at the same time condemning antisemitism at home? Our leaders are right to worry about the rise in antisemitism, but paradoxically, they are trying at all costs to normalize our relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a jihadist regime that unceasingly calls to “wipe Israel off the map” and seeks to perpetrate a second Holocaust.

It’s a worrying time for Jews, indeed.

Meyer Habib is a French parliamentarian.

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