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Why France Is Losing the War on Anti-Semitism

[bold] It's coming from three very different sources. And it's extremely hard to combat online. [/bold]

In the first weeks of 2019, French authorities discovered 96 tombs desecrated in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France, the word “juden” scrawled across a bagel shop in Paris, and swastikas marring a street portrait of former government official and Auschwitz survivor, Simone Veil. On February 16 in Paris, a group of protestors in the Yellow Vest (“gilets jaunes”) movement cornered local Jewish intellectual, Alain Finkielkraut. “Dirty Zionist, you’re going to die!” they yelled, along with “Go home to Israel!” and “France is ours!”

Last year, France saw a 74 percent jump in anti-Semitic incidents. A survey from the European Union, released in December, found that a staggering 95 percent of French Jews saw anti-Semitism as either a fairly significant or a very big problem (more than any other country in the E.U.).

Within days of the Finkielkraut harassment, President Emmanuel Macron proposed a controversial new strategy to fight anti-Semitism, including broadening its legal definition, dissolving several far-right groups, and putting his support behind a law that would punish online hate speech with fines of up to several million euros.

France has the largest Jewish population in Europe and the third largest in the world. Anti-Semitism in the country springs not only from fringe online groups but also from a long history of Jewish persecution and a contemporary anti-establishment surge. [bold]Today, Jewish historians and advocacy groups say, the far-left, the far-right, and radical Muslims—groups with few shared interests, historically—are finding common ground in anti-Semitism[/bold] and the gilets jaunes. And as they do so, the language of anti-Semitism is shifting, making it particularly hard to track and filter as new laws would demand.

“It’s old wine in new bottles,” said Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Jewish history who famously won a legal battle against Holocaust denial in the 1990s. “It’s the same anti-Semitism but it morphs into different forms, different expressions, different manifestations.” /1

by Anonymousreply 5903/16/2019

Old-school French anti-Semitism has been historically associated with conservative, often Catholic, factions, moving farther right over time. This is the anti-Semitism of the Dreyfus affair starting in 1894—in which a Jewish army captain was wrongfully convicted of espionage and spent five years on a prison island—the anti-Semitism of the Vichy regime, and the anti-Semitism of twentieth-century far-right leaders like Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Recently, new strains have appeared in France, notably from the far-left and from France’s large Muslim community, where anti-Israel sentiment has morphed into anti-Semitism. Lipstadt, along with others on the ground in France, is quick to point out that most Muslims are not anti-Semites, and that the growing presence of anti-Semitic fundamentalists does not negate the issue of anti-Muslim prejudice in France or legitimate objections to Israel’s policies. The shift is rather about a small but loud faction of people who conflate Israel’s policies with Jews everywhere.

The far-right and the far-left in particular, with some buy-in from extremist Muslims, have found common ground in the Yellow Vests: a protest on a gas tax that quickly morphed into an all-out anti-establishment movement. As the protestors’ numbers have dwindled, those who remain have grown more extreme, although reports of anti-Semitism in the chaotic and heterogenous movement date back to the beginning of their movement in November 2018. This anti-Semitism has taken the form of anti-Jewish slogans, conspiracy-fueled rants, and the taunting of a Jewish woman on the Paris subway in December 2018. The group was also slow to make a statement on the Finkielkraut incident. When a response did come, prominent social media figures for the Yellow Vests insisted that the media outcry was a ploy to distract from their crusade.

The bill Emmanuel Macron has proposed, written by a deputy from his party, aims to make specifically online hate speech a priority. It would force social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter to remove hate speech in a set time period (likely 24 hours) or risk a fine of up to 37.5 million euros. Macron also previously advocated for a statute that would make it easier for the government to remove anonymity protections online, in order to prosecute individuals who engage in hate speech.

The plan has found support among the Jewish community, including the Jewish umbrella organization known as the CRIF and the Jewish Student Union (UEFJ). “Social networks are one of the main vectors of anti-Semitic hate, and of hate in general—because it’s also racist hatred, hatred of Muslims, hatred of LGBT people,” Francis Kalifat, president of the CRIF, told me. “Freedom of expression is something that we all cherish, but it must have limits.”

But given Facebook and Twitter’s history of laxness when it comes to hate speech online, some experts have questioned whether such a plan would be effective. Others criticized the proposed law as draconian and an impingement of free speech. “The intentions are noble, but the venture is perilous and could create a new victim: the Internet,” wrote one computer scientist in an op-ed for the French newspaper Le Figaro.

And while the law has been pitched to the public as a response to the most recent incidents, the uptick in anti-Semitic hate speech and violence predates the Yellow Vests, pointing to a more complicated and subversive source of hate speech—one hard to fight with laws such as this one. Much of the trouble in fighting online anti-Semitism stems from the shift in rhetoric to what some scholars call “soft anti-Semitism” or “new anti-Semitism.” /2

by Anonymousreply 103/14/2019

53-year-old French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who has been convicted multiple times for inciting hatred against Jews, has become a prime example of this type of behavior. Dieudonné, as he is known, started out in the early 2000s as a far-left political activist, but is now increasingly associated with the fringes of the far-right. [bold][italic]He substitutes the word “Zionist” for “Jew,” saying things like “Zionism killed Christ.” [/bold][/italic]He also invented the “quenelle” salute, a gesture where people grasp their shoulder with one hand and point the other straight to the ground. Many have categorized it as a combination of a French gesture meaning “up yours” and the Nazi salute—with people performing it outside of Auschwitz and French synagogues (it is also popular among the gilets jaunes). Jean-Marie Le Pen, the National Front party founder who has been convicted for Holocaust denial multiple times, is a close friend and serves as the godfather to Dieudonné’s daughter.

Instead of the outright slurs of traditional anti-Semitism, this new form takes a more insidious angle, and one particularly hard to combat by filtering out certain words on an online platform. It sees Jews as part of a global elite conspiracy, an establishment controlling everything from the government, to media, to banking institutions. The conspiracy theory aspect has particular currency with the yellow vests. “They’re all Jews,” a Paris protester’s vest painted with a freemason pyramid read. A yellow vest encampment outside of Lyon featured an immense sign with the words “Macron = Banks = Media = Zion.”

France is not alone in its struggle to combat anti-Semitism and the proliferation of other conspiracy theories. In just the past two years, the U.S. has seen protestors in Charlottesville shouting “Jews will not replace us!” and a mass shooting that killed 11 people in a Pennsylvania synagogue. Two studies in 2018 found a rise in anti-Semitic content on Twitter and Instagram. And while the House of Representatives voted last week to denounce anti-Semitism in the wake of a controversy wherein Representative Ilhan Omar criticized American policy vis-à-vis Israel, such efforts fail to address the actual sources of anti-Semitic content in American society—from the dark corners of the internet, to a populist surge, to a president who has peddled conspiracy theories about Jewish billionaire George Soros.

While conspiracy theories are notoriously hard to fight, recent research does offer hope. Psychologists point to a combination of miseducation and narcissism as risk factors for conspiracy theory belief. Research has also shown that small and consistent interventions over such beliefs—whether about politics or science—can correct irrational thinking over time. Confronting anti-Semitic claims with evidence, showing their absurdity, is crucial, Lipstadt told me—even if it’s also prudent to keep some distance and avoid validating those acting in bad faith.

Any effective solution requires recognizing anti-Semitism as the problem that it is: not merely a handful of online trolls and not only a threat to Jewish people. “No healthy democratic society can tolerate having anti-Semitism in its midst,” Lipstadt said. “If they believe these irrational things about Jews, they’ll believe irrational things about their government. They’ll believe irrational things about the economy. They’ll believe irrational things about their neighbors. Conspiracy theories within a society are very dangerous.” /3

by Anonymousreply 203/14/2019

Thanks for posting

by Anonymousreply 303/14/2019

Very frightening stuff. Best wishes to the Jewish population of France.

by Anonymousreply 403/14/2019

You are welcome R3

I was hoping it might educate some DLers on why the "oh she was talking about Zionists, not Jews" piece rings false, even to friends who are very left-wing and anti-Netanyahu.

by Anonymousreply 503/14/2019

Op Oh honey, the problem is Israel

by Anonymousreply 603/14/2019

R6 Bullshit. The French jews being attacked and demonized are not all Israelis.However, many are essentially being forced to flee to Israel after generations in France because of abuse and threats.

by Anonymousreply 703/14/2019

R6 is just another antisemite who needs to be reminded of this

by Anonymousreply 803/14/2019

The growing anti-semitism in Europe is scary. It's unsettling how history repeats itself.

by Anonymousreply 903/14/2019

Ah yes, Israel, the only sliver of land in that god-forsaken area where women can be prime minister, gay pride parades take place, a desert was turned into fertile land, advances in technology are abundant, historical sites have been preserved, and there is freedom of speech. Yes, lets be sure to shit all over it. Is it perfect, absolutely not - the treatment of Palestinians is deplorable. However, the left coming after Israel is like liberal democrats attacking blue dog democrats instead of going toe to toe with the extreme danger of the right wing. WTF.

by Anonymousreply 1003/14/2019

R6 - And what was the problem for the 1500 years before 1948 you apologist cunt?

by Anonymousreply 1103/14/2019

Is it Muslims? Could it be Muslims?

by Anonymousreply 1203/14/2019

French Jews ≠ Israelis

Or should we blame every Southerner for the beliefs of Evangelicals?

Every Muslim for ISIS?

by Anonymousreply 1303/14/2019

Or every atheist for Mao. Or Hitler. Or Stalin.


by Anonymousreply 1403/14/2019

Or to put it in terms R6 can understand: blaming French Jews for the Netanyahu government's actions is like blaming gays for AIDS.

And you know damn well that lots of straight R6's spent the 80s and 90s saying "well if it wasn't for the AIDS, people wouldn't hate them so much."

by Anonymousreply 1503/14/2019

The French rounded up the Jews and to the train stations as fast as they could. They’ve always been bad people.

by Anonymousreply 1603/14/2019

Shit like this that seems to endlessly cycle through history is why we’re doomed as a species.

by Anonymousreply 1703/14/2019

Alot of pro Israel bullshit here. How can French Jews be the victim of anti antisemitism when they are not semites? You people make zero sense

by Anonymousreply 1803/14/2019

No the trouble is trannys. Fuck off, OP. Enough whining.

by Anonymousreply 1903/14/2019

Is Erna financing French antisemitism?

by Anonymousreply 2003/14/2019

France has, or had, pretty much the largest remaining Jewish community in continental Europe. But it is rapidly dissipating. From everything I heard French Jews are very afraid. I have heard there are similar problems in great Britain but I don't know if it's as severe. I hear about huge amounts of anti semitism in Britain but they don't seem to be fleeing at the same rates as French Jews so perhaps there is less threat of violence in the UK. I'm curious about the situation of British Jews vs French. It's hard to know because I suspect that there is a great deal that is not reported by the media.

by Anonymousreply 2103/14/2019

I know R18 is a pathetic troll but i still hope something large falls on his head

by Anonymousreply 2203/14/2019

R18 We are not discussing Israel. We are discussing the plight of Jews in France. Do keep up.

by Anonymousreply 2303/14/2019

It's been going on for a long time. Many of non Zionist French Jewish people have been immigrating to Quebec province. It started to get noticeable again in France in the 1990s.

by Anonymousreply 2403/14/2019

It’s not about anti-Semitism, but A Tale of Two Cities is a good read to see how barbaric the French are by comparison.

by Anonymousreply 2503/14/2019

It's very different in the UK R21

While British Jews are disappointed in Labour and find that Corbyn and many of his supporters have made insensitive/antisemitic comments, associated with known antisemites, no one is beating up British Jews on the street or drawing swastikas on posters of Disraeli.

All that is going down in France.

The French Jewish community is somewhat split--there are the Ashkenazi Jews, Shoah survivors and their descendants who are generally more affluent and integrated. Then there are the Mizrachi Jews who immigrated from Algeria and Morocco (rather than go to Israel). They are more working class and often live in the banlieues in close proximity to the Muslim population. It seems that they are facing the bulk of the harassment and violence these days and, to an earlier point, are either immigrating to Israel or Montreal.

by Anonymousreply 2603/14/2019

^^I should say no one is beating up British Jews on the street yet. If things continue as they have been, it could get ugly fast.

by Anonymousreply 2703/14/2019

It’s a shame these people are being forced out of France, and it’s a huge loss for France as well.

by Anonymousreply 2803/14/2019

R28 Yes and I think France will come to regret their inaction

by Anonymousreply 2903/14/2019

R26 r27 Thank you for the detailed info. The French governments refusal to even attempt dealing with this crisis is just mind boggling.

by Anonymousreply 3003/14/2019

A number of years ago I went to Paris and dinner with a mutual friend and his family. They didn’t know me really at all. Eventually the conversation turned anti-Semitic in a very obvious and open way. As a Jew, it still freaks me out.

I have always thought the French were that way. Partially from all the Arab colonialism too.

by Anonymousreply 3103/14/2019

Some of it goes back to Algerians. But if you meet anyone of Muslim Algerian extraction in North America they readily mix with Jews and even intermarry.

by Anonymousreply 3203/14/2019

France is not losing the war because to France, there is no war. Anti-Jewish bigotry and hatred are ancient in France, and France does have a long history of appeasing and collaborating with authoritarian, hate-filled ideologies. Successive French governments turned a blind eye to decades of Muslim attacks against Jews with a Gallic, shoulder-shrugging oh mais oui, isn't it terrible! But one can one do. Better the Jews than us.

Britain is the same. Ancient entrenched, institutionalized Jew hatred. Increased Muslim population, increased public and unabashed Jew hatred. Couched in that oh no, we don't hate Jews, we hate "Zionist" or "Israelis" *nudge* *wink* nonsense that fools no one. In Europe, it is "progressive" to denigrate and demonize Jews.

And now this filth has made its way to the US. So-called "progressives" apologize and support anti-Jewish scree reminiscent of Nazi Germany. It's no coincidence that the disseminators of the vicious anti-Jewish spew are named Omar and Tlaib.

The sickness of Jew hatred, uniting Black, White Yellow and Brown, "progressive" and conservative, Right and Left, gay and straight, Muslim and Xtian. A sickness rends, consumes and destroys every society that it infects. Like in France, in Britain, in Sweden, in Germany, in Belgium, in Denmark, etc.

by Anonymousreply 3303/14/2019

^^^ A sickness THAT ^^^

by Anonymousreply 3403/14/2019

R2 I remember reading up on that Dieudonne guy a couple years ago and I'm surprised he has had any success as a comedian. He appears to be a absolute raving lunatic obsessed with Jewish people. He doesn't seem to have any other interests, who could possibly someone so narrowly focused funny?

by Anonymousreply 3503/15/2019

It's very frightening, esp since this hatred is coming from multiple sides. The right wingers, the new left and Muslims.

by Anonymousreply 3603/15/2019

Jews are not an approved minority according to the New Left. Nor are gays and lesbians. Thus, they can be marginalized and slaughtered.

It's sad that the New Left is dominated by that strain of leftist thought that believes in total thought conformity and contempt for human rights.

by Anonymousreply 3703/15/2019

Lesbians, do NOT try to make this about you.

by Anonymousreply 3803/15/2019

[quote] Lesbians, do NOT try to make this about you.

Can French Jewish Lesbians make this about them?

by Anonymousreply 3903/15/2019

R27 - I have heard Jewish friends in Britain express growing alarm, but unlike French Jews, more of whom seem to be alarmed enough to leave France, it hasn't quite come to that here - but I wouldn't want to insist that it never would. Christian Europe has a lot of form here over more than a millenia. The irony is that whilst some of it is undoubtedly driven by Muslim immigration, many of the same people going after the Jews now are going after Muslims as well, witness that unholy attack in NZ yesterday.

by Anonymousreply 4003/15/2019

I've noticed the trend that whenever some group like Jews, Gay Men, African-Americans, etc are under attack, there is always some attempt to shoehorn lesbians into the topic and make out that they're the real victim.

It's not happening here. Lesbians are not under attack in France. Stop. It.

by Anonymousreply 4103/15/2019

R41 has stated her boundaries! She is telling you NOW so she doesn't have to tell you THEN!

by Anonymousreply 4203/15/2019

Yes, boundaries have been stated.

by Anonymousreply 4303/15/2019

He wasn't always like that R35. He had some success in the 90's when he was in a comedy duo with Elie Semoun (a jewish comedian). After that he turned political, became a POS (still is) and they separated.

by Anonymousreply 4403/15/2019

[quote] The irony is that whilst some of it is undoubtedly driven by Muslim immigration, many of the same people going after the Jews now are going after Muslims as well, witness that unholy attack in NZ yesterday.

Attempting parity where none exists R40. "Those same people" no longer attack, terrorize and murder Jews. They now have Muslims doing a far better job of it. And England is not far behind.

by Anonymousreply 4503/15/2019

The Palestinian people are the only true Semites, most of those who call themselves Jews are Turks and Khazars. So 'anti semitism' is nonsense.

by Anonymousreply 4603/15/2019

Erna needs some history lessons, badly. Jews lived in the Levant for thousands of years.

by Anonymousreply 4703/15/2019

So in addition to being a feces-eater, Erna buys into the Nazi bullshit that "the Jews are really descended from Khazars"

Because that's who invented it.

OTOH, Erna has AIDS and has to live in Europe where the medication is free because she can't afford it in the US.

by Anonymousreply 4803/15/2019

There were two high profile anti Semitic murders which France initially refused to call out as anti Semitic since both murders where Muslim men.

by Anonymousreply 4903/15/2019

R16 -The French rounded up the Jews and to the train stations as fast as they could. They’ve always been bad people.

R16 is a racist piece of shit.

by Anonymousreply 5003/15/2019

Thanks, Trump

by Anonymousreply 5103/15/2019

R25 - another racist piece of shit on this thread.

by Anonymousreply 5203/15/2019

Perhaps the United states should consider providing refugee status to French Jews, although they seem more interested in Israel. The situation is already terribly deteriorated for them in France, I'm sure many would take the opportunity to leave rather than risk things getting worse. Are there any French politicians or officials taking pro active steps to Deal with this problem?

by Anonymousreply 5303/15/2019

R53 the 9 volunteer agencies (volegs) were started just before and/or right after WW2. The dept of health and human services works with them. They also work with the UN both in internal and external refugee camps.

The trump administration has shit on the UN, on refugee agencies, on Jews.

I used to do this sort of work and today got 2 emails.

1 from trump gloating about the wall and asking for money

The other from the Nazi at the dept of homeland security about New Zealand.

In 2018 of the Jewish Americans who voted 79% voted for Democrats. People know what trump is.

Apologies for going off topic

by Anonymousreply 5403/15/2019

[quote]Perhaps the United states should consider providing refugee status to French Jews, although they seem more interested in Israel.

I read earlier that a lot of them prefer to go to French speaking Canada above the USA - for obvious reasons.

by Anonymousreply 5503/15/2019

Quebec has a long history of anti-Semitism so that seems odd.

by Anonymousreply 5603/16/2019

White Supremacist should be collected and arrested in every country...I would kill them but you could try to reprogram them.

by Anonymousreply 5703/16/2019

As a Jew and a homosexual I lived quite openly in high style with my 'wife' in France throughout the German occupation!

by Anonymousreply 5803/16/2019

None of these jews in France are semites so none of this behaviour is anti semetic.

by Anonymousreply 5903/16/2019
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