We’re Not Anti-Semitic, We Just Think the Jews Israelis Had It Coming

Instapundit links to Al Giordano, who is peeved because NY Indymedia censored a cartoon by his friend Latuff. Perhaps the Indymedia people are too sensitive to accusations of anti-Semitism against Latuff?

Latuff’s cartoon is here.

Is it anti-Semitic? It’s not very good, partly because I can’t figure out precisely what the cartoonist was trying to say, but mainly because of its mean-spirited use of tragedy to make a heavy handed political point at the expense of the victims. But taken by itself it doesn’t seem anti-Jewish. And why should I care if Indymedia, to which I rarely pay attention, is or isn’t consistent in following its stated posting policy?

But it gets more interesting when Giordano interviews Latuff:

Bigleftoutside: Let’s talk about the controversial cartoon. I can’t for the life of me figure out what is supposedly anti-Semitic about this cartoon. Seems to me that this cartoon speaks an undeniable reality: that the buses inside the Israeli-occupied zones often result to be coffins, as a result of bombings. To me, that cartoon is as accurate as a news photo, in some ways more accurate. There’s nothing in the cartoon that cheers the idea of bombings. It simply addresses their root cause: the occupation of Palestinian lands. It’s a cartoon that makes me think. I presume it therefore makes others think. And that is always good, in my book. Has anybody offered a coherent argument as to why that cartoon is somehow not publishable at NYC Indymedia?

Latuff: Not ’til now. I tried to express in this cartoon that due occupation of Palestinian territories, the security wall, the settlements and shit, to take a bus in IsraHell can be deadly. That’s all. But you know, my slanderers will always try to find a reason for bashing me. If I make a cartoon with a baker putting breads in an oven, people will call me anti-Semitic because Jews were thrown into ovens and such. Everything can be a good excuse.

Most of the bombings have been on buses inside Israel proper, so what does Giordano mean by “Israeli-occupied zones” — does he consider downtown Jerusalem an “Israeli-occupied zone”? Is Tel Aviv “Palestinian land”? If so, why should we treat him as a reasonable journalist rather than dismiss him as an Arab propagandist? Or is he merely being sloppy — in which case we should probably regard skeptically the rest of his argument about the fine points of cartoon interpretation.

And the cartoonist himself, for someone who is sensitive to being “bashed” by “slanderers,” is oddly insensitive to his slanderous use of the term “IsraHell.” If he had used a parallel term — such as (to paraphrase Diane) “Paleostine” — to characterize the Palestinian Authority, I would conclude that he was just another moral-equivalence idiot who gets off by carping at both sides. But he doesn’t, he singles out Israel for this treatment. (Elsewhere in the interview he uses the term “IsraHell/Palestine issues.” He treats Palestine, which isn’t a current political entity, respectfully, but makes a point of not using the State of Israel’s name.)

So maybe Al and his pal Latuff aren’t anti-Semites in the classical sense, but what do you make of someone who casually implies that Israel’s capital city is an “Israeli-occupied zone”? And what can you call a person who won’t use the word “Israel” without distorting it in an ugly way, as anti-American leftists once used the term “Amerika”? Classical anti-Semites have a double standard for Jews as individuals, denying them legitimacy. Modern anti-Semites are more likely to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

I may be misreading Giordano. He could be using language sloppily in attempting to support his friend. But he is a professional journalist and should know better. Latuff seems to fit my definition of a modern anti-Semite. And his quickness to adopt a defensive stance against accusations of anti-Jewish bias suggests either that his accusers are correct or that he enjoys baiting them, which is almost the same thing.

UPDATE: Al Giordano replies in the comments.

58 thoughts on “We’re Not Anti-Semitic, We Just Think the <strike>Jews</strike> Israelis Had It Coming”

  1. The cartoon, Giordano claims, makes him “think,” and this, he avers, is a Good Thing. Think what, one wonders? Something like “Right on!” or “See, I’m right!” one suspects. It’s precisely that sort of “thinking” that is almost always a Bad Thing.

  2. When will it be commonly understood that to oppose Israel (including the project of Zionism) is not, in and of itself, anti-Semitic?

  3. “but what do you make of someone who casually implies that Israel’s capital city is an “Israeli-occupied zone”? ”

    ask the citizens of the following countries:

    Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France,
    Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,
    Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal,
    Romania, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom
    of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


    Maybe they’re all just anti-Semites too?

  4. “When will it be commonly understood that to oppose Israel (including the project of Zionism) is not, in and of itself, anti-Semitic?”

    Although there are some people who disagree with Israel’s policies who aren’t anti-Semetic, they are pretty much lost in a sea of hatred. There are so many people who ARE that it doesn’t matter if they’re out there or not, since they don’t have the numbers to influence those that reflexively hate Jews.

    “Maybe they’re all just anti-Semites too?”

    Yeah, pretty much.

    One of the things that has become increasingly clear since 9/11 is the fact that many people in Europe pay only lip-service to the idea of tolerance. France and Germany’s appalling lack of strong response in the face of increasing anti-Semetic violence, for example. (As someone who once worked in law enforcement I find this situation to be particularly revealing.) Not to mention the way that the French ambassador, someone who is trusted with one of the most sensitive and delicate posts in any government, refers to Israel.

    Anti-Semetism seems to run pretty deep through European culture. The evidence just keeps piling up.


  5. Hmm, let’s see:

    India’s been independent since 1947. Nobody questions its legitimacy (nor that of Pakistan or even Bangladesh).

    Croatia’s been independent for a few years. Nobody questions its legitimacy.

    Nobody questions the legitimacy of Estonia, Ukraine, France, Kenya, etc.

    But Israel has been an independent state for more than fifty years and everyone still gets to second-guess the legitimacy of “the Zionist enterprise.” But that’s not anti-Semitism. You see, Jews are so beloved in the world that many people hold them to a higher standard than everyone else.

  6. James,

    Lobbing ad hominem stink-bombs as a rhetorical technique is as a rule ineffective. ‘Anti-Semite’ is simply an overused and increasingly valueless pejorative. When applied to those believing the ’67-occupied territory to be occupied and not acquired to fulfill some Divine mandate(ie the overwhelming bulk of the world) it is wholly inapt.

    The same certainly applies to those misguided leftists who complain of the insidious pro-Israeli lobby rather than arguing to principal. Even if it’s true, who cares? It’s an end-run around the real issues at stake (and no, the ontological fact of Israel is not in dispute by the majority of Palestinians.)

  7. Alex, claims that all, or most of the citizens of a list of countries are opposed to this or that leave me cold. Specially given the overwhelming slant of the media coverage they are subjected to every day.

    As for the idea that a majority of Palestinians do not dispute Israel’s right to exist, that is very nice but their support for people who refuse this fact – Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc – and leaders who have spent a lifetime killing innocents as a means to an end, is rather disturbing.

    While I think the Palestinians have a legitimate beef, as long as they fight for it the way they do, they deserve neither my support, my sympathy nor Israeli concessions. While fighting a war of independence always implies some terrorism, using random murderous terrorism for decades on end as your main and only weapon essentially deprives Palestinian claims of all their potential legitimacy.

    And I find it hard to believe that one can criticize the project of Zionism without questioning Israel itself. I would agree with you that is not, however, necessarily anti-semitic. But given the constant double-standard, it is increasingly difficult to argue it’s not. I recently got an earful about the illegality of Israel’s ‘extra-judicial’ killing, for instance, as if blowing up buses was a legal form of political expression.

    And if you thought Arafat did deserve a Nobel Peace Prize at the time, ask yourself what you would feel like if Ariel Sharon were to receive the same award tomorrow. If your first reaction is “yeah, right” or “no way”, now you know how Israeli felt. I mean, why not give it to bin Laden while we’re at it ?

    Truth is, Jonathan and I used to clash on other message boards in the past about. It took me a while to realize I was defending the indefensible.

  8. Jonathan –

    If Estonia, et. al. suffered from a lingering refugee problem whereby millions of its inhabitants were kept in stateless limbo, you can be sure they would be facing similar criticism.

  9. Sylvain,

    My main problem with “anti-Semite” isn’t that it’s overbroad, or misapplied (which it is nonetheless.) It is that it’s ad hominem, and is therefore completely irrelevant to whatever principle is in dispute.

    Your points on Palestinian terrorism are very well taken. The most recent JMCC polls indicating support for violent conflict and suicide bombings are disheartening indeed. Yet the same polls hold that a majority of Palestinians endorse a 2-state formula.

  10. Alex, you are being too clever by half. The refugees have been kept in stateless limbo mainly because Arab states refused to resettle them, in order to maintain them as a weapon against Israel. Contrast this situation with India (millions of post-independence refugees resettled), Germany/Russia (millions of post-war refugees resettled) or Israel (hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from the Arab world resettled). Only in the case of Israel is the existence of refugees held to be a crucial issue that cannot be resolved other than by returning them, half a century later, to their original homes (the PA position). Hmm.

    BTW, I don’t see what’s wrong with calling a spade a spade, ad hominem or not. Quite a few prominent Europeans, including the French ambassador to the UK, seem to have a problem with Jews. Of course they don’t put it in those terms. But how else are we to interpret their extraordinary concern with the imperfections, real and imagined, of the only Jewish country, while they consistently ignore much worse things elsewhere — most especially in the Arab countries that are Israel’s enemies?

    When it comes to anti-Semitism, some people, including Euro pols and the aforementioned cartoonist, doth protest too much.

  11. Alex, the broadness of the term is also relative to how you define the term. But that is a semantic argument; Israel being a Jewish state, strong opposition to its national interests, to a point where its very existence or survival are explicitly or implicitly questioned, can be qualified of anti-Semitic. And, as Jonathan points out, given the kind of unusual attention and lofty standards expected from Israel when we never even expect, nor require, 1/100 from its neighbors, one can wonder if the obvious bias might not be a lot deeper than most people claim.

    And given the history of the nations that are home of the most vocal critics of Israel, suspiscions of anti-semitism seem quite reasonable to me.

  12. Jonathan,

    With you on most of what you’re saying.

    Re: refugees … apportioning blame is not clean-cut. The expansionist sloganeering of Israeli rightists (“facts on the ground”, “disputed territories”, “Judea and Samaria”, etc.) is no more productive than the facile Arab “right of return.” If the land conquered in ’67 is part of Israel, its inhabitants should be enfranchised as citizens… failing that Israelis (or more apt, Israeli-Americans) do not belong there.

  13. Sylvain,

    Until the ’67 war, it seems the French had been quite supportive of Israel, sharing in its Suez defeat, arming it to the teeth and midwifing its nuclear capability.

    Re: national interests — it is exactly because I don’t think policies of mass retribution, missile strikes in urban centers, and armed colonization are in Israel’s interests that I oppose them. Voice this sentiment among a group of die-hards and someone is sure to chime in with the old ‘antisemite’ canard.

  14. How Israel defends itself is a matter of tactics, which you are confounding with questions about the legitimacy of “the Zionist project.” I don’t think any of us is criticizing your views on the former, only your views on the latter. And as there is obviously plenty of criticism of Israel’s tactics by people who are obviously not anti-Semitic, including many Israelis, I don’t think the old “You can’t criticize Israel without being accused of anti-Semitism” canard is worth spending much time on.

    And again, the issue of refugees is a red herring, except to the extent that it shows how out of all the countries in the world it’s Israel that gets singled out for so much attention. Whatever your objections to Israel’s handling of territories that it captured in a defensive war, all of the outstanding issues there could be solved easily enough if the Arabs dropped their belligerency. When the Palestinians get rid of Arafat and announce that they no longer mind if Jews live as a minority in their new Arab state, then I’ll say they’re ready for independence. Until then, I observe the grotesquely disproportionate scrutiny that is given to Israel relative to its enemies and draw my own conclusions.

  15. Alex, France certainly was a huge supporter of Israel until 1967. As other countries can tell you, though, France is prone to leave its allies hanging in their times of need. So it did this time; in fact, De Gaulle’s ending of military assistance to Israel is one of the official reasons behind Iraq rewarding France with oil contracts with CFP (later to be come TotalFinaElf).

    But that just goes to prove the point : after a couple of decades of support for Israel following WW2, partly, I think, out of guilt, France punished Israel for defending itself and chose to be friends with Arab dictators instead. And given the friendly relations France has built since then with individuals, organizations and governments who are deeply hostile to Israel and Jews, the 1947-1967 interlude seems an exception, the kind that proves the rule rather than confirms a new pattern of behavior.

    Are suicide bombings in urban centers and rocket attacks against civilian settlements in the national interest of the future Palestine ? Do you believe it to be in the interest of Israel to reward terrorist blackmail with concessions ? Where do you draw the line ?

    Palestinians are suffering the consequences of their own collective action; to the extent so many of them support Hamas and murderous professional gangsters like Arafat, collective punishment does not bother me so much. I never saw Jews dancing in the street to celebrate the killing of some number of innocent Palestinians. The opposite, unfortunately, is not true, and does not make me sympathetic to their plight.

    Somehow, moral legitimacy is now derived from one’s perceived position as either the stronger or the weaker side. It is actually a common axiom of political correctness that those who are wealthier, more successful, richer or more powerful are guilty until proven innocent. By virtue of having money and bigger guns, Israel are asked to answer questions and demands their murderous, rampaging opponents never have to deal with, and the considerable suffering of Israeli families, who have to put each child in a different school bus to reduce the odds of losing them all, is apparently unworthy of attention.

    What is happening to the Palestinians is sad and tragic. But I have come to the conclusion that a significant part of it is essentially self-inflicted. And deflecting all the blame on Israel is just one of the many aspects of Palestinian denial.

    As for the status of the territories as occupied, Israel can hardly be blamed for that. This was not only established by UN resolutions – you know, those UN resolutions Israel supposedly ignores – and a demand of those same countries that criticize Israel most vehemently today. For tactical, strategic and demographic reasons at the time, I suspect Israel was happy to oblige.

    To the extent Israeli Arabs have integrated well in Israeli society, one can wonder whether a full annexion would have worked better over the long run, since so few Israeli Palestinians have been involved in violent actions because they have so much more to lose. But that is the kind of theoretical speculation that goes nowhere very fast and most yields an exhausting amount of arm waving.

  16. Aren’t Arabs Semites, as well?

    Usually when we use the term “Anti-Semite”, we mean “Anti-Jew”. Is meaning being clouded?

    Or am I completely off-base here?

  17. Well, where do we start?

    It’s been implied that I am “anti-Semite,” which is nonsense. Do some research. Ask around.

    Fortunately, as Alex points out, the partisans of the Israeli government in its messy conflict with Palestinians, including innocent civilians, have so overused the “anti-Semite” cannard that it doesn’t stick.

    Unfortunately, the term gets overused so much that when it should be used, it no longer has any teeth. In this sense, you’ve harmed your own professed cause, the legitimate cause against real anti-Semitism.

    Instead of crying pejorative words and trying to define people, why not argue the merits: Should an artist or a work of art that offends you be censored or not? And: who should decide? I’m shocked and stunned that Chicago Boy lovers would not conclude that only the “market” can decide!

    This whole “anti-Semite” bugaboo is akin to saying someone is “racist”: hey, isn’t there a bit of racism conditioned into every human being on earth under “free market” capitalism? Can you tell me, under polygraph, that you’ve never had a racist impulse? Bullshit! The challenge is not to say “this person is racist but this person isn’t,” but, rather, to fight to assure that racist impulses are not acted upon in ways that harm others. Apply the same standard to “anti-Semitism” and you’ll be off to a good start.

    Finally, back to the theme of this blog: Do you really think that “liberalizing” (or “neo-liberalizing,” to be more accurate in terms) has helped Latin America’s economies or peoples? I live in Latin America, where the majority of folks who have lived this experiment in social engineering already answer that question in the negative.

    Al Giordano

  18. Al, the problem with most South American economies is not that they have liberalized, it is that they have not liberalized enough. Just like the supposedly deregulated California electricity market. By compromising with vested interests every step of the way, the state ended up with a half-baked system that was bound to fail, allowing the said vested interests to claim deregulation and “the markets” do not work.

    The same thing applies to many so-called liberalizations in South America.

    As for the rest of your argument, you are arguing about semantics. Replace ‘anti-semite’ with ‘racist’ if you want to. The point stands; given the way Israel is treated, and given how its enemies are treated, and the history of Israel, and the heavy history of some of the critics, one can’t help but underlying sense racism, at best for lack of a reasonable alternative explanation. And whether you, I or the next door neighbor feel a ‘racist impulse’ every now and then is irrelevant : we are talking about foreign policy here.

    Your other point about market decision vs. censorship sounds hardly related since censorship, or the right to express a view is not the point here; nobody is arguing for censorship. Bias and its nature are. And yes, it’s up to the reader to decide. Jonathan has drawn his conclusions and expressed them. Others will draw their own. It’s up to “the market”, indeed. Nobody here claims otherwise.

    And it would be nice to know your definition of ‘real’ anti-semitism. If only because it’s been rampant in France these past couple of years, yet everybody there denies there is a problem. Denial at the highest level in the face of evidence being a sure sign of the nature of the situation…

  19. Al Giordano,

    Thanks for your response. As I wrote in my post, I may have misread you on your attitude toward Israel and Jews. If so, I will be happy to admit it. But what am I supposed to infer from your apparent reference to Jerusalem as an “Israeli-occupied zone”? I don’t mean this rhetorically, I want to know what you meant. You seem to be implying that Israel’s presence in Jerusalem (not part of Jerusalem, Jerusalem) is illegitimate. Either that or you were being rather casual with your syntax. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but I think my concern is reasonable.

    As for Latuff, I think I made clear that I don’t care for his cartoon but also don’t think it’s anti-Semitic. However, I think his insistence on using the term “IsraHell” raises a question about his opinion of Israel’s legitimacy. Given that Israel is, in the scheme of things, pretty far down the list of oppressive nations, I think it’s fair to consider people who question Israel’s legitimacy, and pay disproportionately close attention to its flaws (real and imagined), anti-Semites. If Latuff means something other than what he appears to mean by his words, I am open to enlightenment (and will post all replies — no censorship here). But he isn’t doing a good job of making that case on his own.

    As for censorship, I’m generally against it. Indymedia are a private venture and as far as I’m concerned can do whatever they want, but I think they should have published the cartoon. Let readers make up their own minds. But I don’t control Indymedia, rarely read Indymedia, and wasn’t writing mainly about the issue of censorship. I was drawn to your post, from Instapundit, by the issue of censorship, but was surprised by your and (mainly) Latuff’s apparent fundamental hostility to Israel.

    As far as racism goes: Certainly I’ve had racist thoughts. So what? I don’t see why my own imperfections disqualify me from arguing about racism or anti-Semitism or anything else. I also don’t see why the overuse — and I agree there’s a lot of it — of accusations of racism and anti-Semitism affects the validity of my arguments. (And anyone who looks through my blog archives can see that I don’t have a history of making such accusations.)

    My main concern here is to counter what I see as a widespread political movement to delegitimate Israel. I interpret this movement as hostile to Jews even though it purports to be “anti-Zionist” rather than anti-Jewish. Ideas are important, so I think that it’s important, when someone says or writes something that appears to question Israel’s legitimacy, to call him on his remarks. I hope that I have misinterpreted you and Latuff.

    Finally, in answer to your question: Sure, I think economic liberalization has been generally beneficial where it’s been tried, including in Latin America. However, in all parts of the world, as far as I know, many problems have been blamed on economic liberalization that were not caused by it. A good example is the partial deregulation of the electric-power market in California, where politicians and many voters blamed deregulation for the subsequent crisis when it was the incomplete nature of the deregulation (price controls were removed from wholesale power but maintained for retail customers) that caused the problem. I acknowledge that inept reforms have caused problems, but I don’t think the problems were inherent in economic liberalization. Obviously some people disagree with me.

  20. Ted Harlan,

    “Anti-Semitic” = anti-Jewish.

    The term “Semitic” originally referred to a group of languages not groups of people. But the term “anti-Semitism” has come to mean “anti-Judaism” and that’s how I use it.

    Arab propagandists caught on to the word game long ago, so you used to hear — from, e.g., Saudi spokesmen — sophistries along the lines of: “We can’t be anti-Semites, because we are Semites.” But of course they don’t like Jews. Maybe the western press has finally caught on to this one, though I’m not sure.

  21. Like Jack the Ripper, let’s go in parts…

    First, Sylvain:

    You want to know my definition of “real anti-Semitism.” Fair question.

    “Real anything” occurs in deeds, not words (and, by inference, I count images among words: “Speech” is probably a better word for words and images). I’m from the Lenny Bruce school (more evidence of my own “anti-Semitism?”): I believe that suppression of words gives them power.

    So, when an artist I respect (like Latuff) finds his speech repressed, I sure as hell want to tell the world that his speech is being censored or is otherwise causing heart attacks because Latuff is an artist who merits more attention, not less.

    From the times when Groucho Marx used Mrs. Teasdale as a foil (okay, well, probably long before that), the world has been a dance between fun people who use provocative speech, and boring people who get easily offended by speech.

    Let’s take another metaphor for “racism” or “anti-Semitism”: homophobia. I really don’t care what words people use. But I know gay-bashing when I see it: it involves physical or economic acts of violence. In this sense, “real anti-Semitism” is only present in physical or economic deeds (I say “economic” because to have or have not is a physical act).

    You are correct that in Europe, there is a rise in anti-Semitism in a way that we haven’t seen in the Western hemisphere (knock on wood). One of the only premises of Oriana Fallaci’s “The Rage and the Pride” that I agree with – outstanding book and polemic that it is, and role model to me and so many others that she is, I disagree with most of it – is Fallaci’s critique of anti-Semitism in Europe. But let’s call it, to focus on deeds, “Jew-bashing”: the physical manifestation of dark thoughts.

    If I say “I’d love to punch your face,” that’s speech.

    If I punch your face, that’s deed.

    “Real” never occurs in the former – mere words – it occurs in the latter.

    And I don’t buy the cannard that words cause deeds. Words that cause deeds are promoted to the category of poetry, but now we’re in the realm of “pure Speech.” The responsibility for the deed is in the soul of the doer. Nuremburg 101. You can’t blame the idea or the person who voices it, ever, on anything. Only the doer does.

    Okay, somebody else had something to say to me here, but, Jack the Ripper 101: we’ll go in parts.

  22. Ah, yes, Jonathan also had some items for me…


    You want to know what you should infer to my apparent reference to “Jerusalem as an occupied zone.”

    This gets straight to my point: Art is never interpreted the same way by two different people! So how can a censor impose his interpretation?

    I interpreted Latuff’s cartoon as taking place in occupied Palestinian lands (BigLeftOutside commenter Yuri gets into the fine print on what is and what isn’t, legally, Israeli territory, much more finely painted than I could give you with my Latin America-centric brush)… But that’s the point: It was my interpretation of the cartoon.

    Latuff later said something about his vision of his cartoon as taking place inside Israeli territory. Bingo! I interpreted his cartoon different than he did! Shock and dismay all around! I bet his censors interpreted it in their own unique ways, too. That’s art for ya!

    It turns out that the cartoon makes no clear statement of territoriality. We all see it as we want to see it. If we want to be offended, we’re offended. If not, we’re not. Offense always has more to say about the offended than the offendor. When it comes to speech, that is.

    My position: Israel has a right to exist as a sovereign state. Palestine has a right to exist a sovereign state. We live in a world that, as Subcomandante Marcos says, ought to have room for many worlds, for all worlds, to peacefully co-exist. I certainly did not mean to say that, decades after its formation, Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth. Nonsense! There are really great things about Israel. One of the points that sold me on two of my Brazilian scholarship students was that they had lived on a Kibbutz. I don’t feel obligated to explain why, or tell you my personal history regarding Israel, but, hell yes, Israel has a right to exist! If you took my words to mean that I thought that all of Israel was illigitimate as territory, you misunderstood. I never said that. I never would say that. I don’t think that. This world has room for Israel to exist basically where it exists in most treaties already signed. (I will make a slight clarification: as an anarchist, I seek to make all states whither away; but Israel no more or less than any other; my views supporting any State’s right to exist are strictly in the realm of Realpolitik. I think the existence of all states – together, as a whole – is a legitimate point for challenge and debate.)

    But again, even if somebody thinks that a particular state should not exist, he’s just thinking thoughts, words, images, speech. He may change his mind. He often does. Freedom of expression requires freedom of impression. A mind or a thought is not a fixed object at rest. It is an object in motion, remaining in motion. The prosecution of Thought Crimes and Word Crimes really sucks. It has led to every atrocity in history. Including the holocaust.

    Think about that!

    – Al

  23. I don’t find the cartoon antiSemitic but I find it profoundly insulting with regards to those families hit by terrorism (in a bus or elsewhere).

    Everybody has the right to say (or draw) what they view as their personal feelings or opinions. Still I can’t help thinking about the relatives of the people murdered by terrorism who’d happen to read the paper unknowingly…

    I’m not too sure but I feel I’ve glanced on a phrase above like “antiSemitism is rampant in France” or something. Saying so is awful because it’s false & because this is bad-intentioned. The French Jewish community is the biggest in Europe (we’re very proud of that) & Talmud schools & stuff are probably the best ones in Europe. Our Jewish tradition is very strong in Paris, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Marseilles etc.

    There surely are Jews-haters in France, just like in any other country. But stating that France hate the Jews (overtly or secretly) is atrociously wrong & abusive.

  24. Kodiak, please do not distort my statements so as to support flat denial unsupported by evidence.

    Anti-semitism is rampant in France, today by any standard, compared to other modern, wealthy countries. Ask Jews, for starters, not Le Monde.

    In 2002, 2.326 Jews left the country, 50 percent more than a year before and the highest rate in decades and still growing. Why ? Go to one of the major synagogues in Paris before a ceremony and witness the amount of security deployed. When was the last time you saw so many uniforms and guns in front of a Church or a mosque ? Why is it deemed necessary if anti-semitism is so anecdotal ? Which other European country has had to ensure such safety for places of cult ?

    Reports of racist incidents against Jew in Paris have quadrupled. In the city alone, the current rate is over one a day and growing. Where else has this been going on and growing at such a rate ?

    While facts are supporting a strong case of growing and frequent anti-semitism, politicians and the majority of the population still deny the possibility that such a thing could exist in France, never mind Drancy and all the other unflattering bits of our history. But then, the Maurice Papon trial has taught us France’s ability to face its past is rather limited, to say the least.

    And if we were truly proud of our Jewish community, we would listen to them when they are as afraid as they are now, to a point where hundreds of family leave the country, instead of denying the very possibility of a problem. There is a very large, and growing issue here. An even bigger one is that we refuse to even see it.

    So yes, anti-semitism is rampant in France today, in the sense of widespread or widely diffused throughout the country. No Jewish community has been spared, all have expressed deep concerns to the local authorities for many months. No amount of rhetorical denial can cover the mounting evidence anyone can access with a little bit of Google work.

    But then, there are about 600.000 Jews in France, for about 5-6 million Muslims. Surely, for a politician, the concerns of the latter are a lot more important. And given the nature of France’s Middle East policy in the past – lecture Israel but welcome PLO terrorists for hospital interventions at taxpayer’s expense, asylum for Khomeiny and so many other Muslim fundamentalists, etc – and in the present, one wonders whether official political neglect is not becoming a new form of passive anti-semitism, even though nobody will call it that, of course.

    And since we are too sophisticated and smart to act pre-emptively like those dumb Americans, we will wait until the problem is dead serious and the threat real, secretly wishing it doesn’t get that far. At which point, of course, it will be eiter too late, or quite painful to deal with. So far, this old pattern holds with the dreadful record of anti-semitism in France over the past couple of years.

    No problem there, just a few young people who need to vent and throw stones at Jews, insult them, beat up kids with crowbars, burn synagogues and all the other stuff that bored youth do. I mean, what can you do, really ?

    Never mind the French ambassador’s recent remark, which brought back rather painful memories…And is not the first disturbing remark by French officials, who obviously do not care anywhere near as much about Jewish sensibilities and opinions as they care about the feelings of the local Arab population.

    Ever been to a pro-Palestine demonstration, or witnessed one ? It’s so charming really, to watch people marching down the street screaming “Mort aux Juifs” on a warm sunny afternoon. And funny how the media rarely shows this bit of the parade, even though it’s been reported several times in many places. It’s only words, right ?…Freedom of expression and all that. Or is it maybe because it would discredit the marchers and their cause ? But of course, French media is not biased and quite objective on these questions.

    So before you climb on your little pedestal to denounce a gross distortion of my statements as ‘atrociously wrong’, I suggest you climb down a bit and consider the established facts to draw a careful conclusion, instead of denying the possibility a serious problem exists based on nothing but your personal pride, and the overall attitude of comfortable collective denial. This is exactly how and why these things can start and grow. Honest people believing that this cannot possibly be going on “here, around us, today”.

    Well, it does. Whether you want to see it or not.

  25. 1. I don’t think the cartoon is the slightest anti-Semitic. It wearies me that the subject should have even arisen, when there’s so much real anti-Semitism in general, and when so much anti-Zionism is thinly-veiled anti-Semitism. I may not agree w/the cartoon, but there isn’t a thing about it that’s anti-Semitic. Why did you even mention the issue, Jonathan?

    2. Explanation of the phrase Paleostinians. Another wearying topic. Some other people clawed onto this and took it to me that I was saying the Pals. were Paleolithic. No. What happened was that during one of the Camp David negotiations, the Palestinians denied that there were any historic Jewish ties to the Temple Mount area. I said to a friend, “the next thing you know, they’ll be claiming that they’ve been there since Paleolithic times.” (Actually, something like this did happen.) Hence: Paleostinians. I should make a link to this.

    Is that anti-Palestinian? No more than this cartoon is anti-Semitic.

  26. Cher Sylvain,

    I haven’t had that much time left to realise you were the author about “antiSemitism being rampant in France”.

    BTW: I don’t read Le Monde.

    I’ve got proSemitic credentials (I don’t want Sylvain to treat me bad):

    1/ I’ve read the book “Les territoires perdus de la République”, which is precisely about some extremists & twerps manipulating young Muslim children at school etc. So I know what you’re talking about.

    2/ I live in a Jewish area where many Muslims do live too. There haven’t been the slightest problem for years: 2 synagogues & 2 mosques, though.

    I know some Jews. They’re well aware of two things:

    1/ the said minority made up of true haters trying to daemonise Israel & ostracise French citizens of Jewish religion or background

    2/ a foreign-led fuelling of a conspiration theory (France is Islamicised or surrending to Islam >>> so France is baiting the Jews).

    I’m not saying France is paradise on Earth.

    I’m saying an overwhelming majority of French people (atheist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist etc) live peacefully side by side.

  27. Sylvain,

    “Given that Israel is, in the scheme of things, pretty far down the list of oppressive nations (…)”

    I disagree with your statement which clearly dosen’t fit with Palestinian reality. Israel’s policy towards Palestine is oppressive.

    That said, Israel has a right to exist and IS existing. It is a UN-member etc. No problems.

    Has Palestine a right to exist? The UN has repeatedly said it had one. Still Palestine ISN’T existing. Terrorism is a shame and must be wiped out: too many innocents have been killed. Moreover terrorism doesn’t serve Palestinian interests. The rationale consisting in equating Palestinian terrorism with Palestine is as vicious as the one amalgaming Sharon’s policy to Israel. Many Israelis do disagree with Sharon & expect their Palestinian neighbours to be soon granted full sovereignty.

    Activist terrorism AND State terrorism are both dead-ends. Apparently, that’s not what people want. People are more likely to want peace & dignity.

  28. Kodiak, I believe you and I are mostly on the same page, except you go one step too far, hence your reaction : widespread, and growing acts of racism against Jews are a fact. But stating that fact does not necessarily imply that a majority of French citizens are accomplice or supportive. Extreme acts are, by definition and quite often, the work of very active minority. But the fact that a majority of people are neither being racists nor violent against Jews does nothing to fix the problem, and is no excuse. The number of people involved in the violence itself is not the main or only relevant factor here. But the number of people and officials denying this is an issue certainly is one that makes one wonder.

    To be real, and unlike what has been stated earlier, racism does not have to be a deed, or an act; the lack of reaction to the deed can also be a form of racism. Just like a lie by omission can still be a lie, if you will.

    In fact, the very fact that a majority are, still today, so willing to bury their head in the sand, is quite disturbing. Even more so given our past history.

    And your neighborhood or personal experience, while somewhat reassuring, is not necessarily representative. All those acts and attacks have been happening in France and are well documented. One, two or even a dozen happy neighborhoods do not change that. And they do not represent guarantees about tomorrow either.

    Many white Americans from southern states could tell you in the early 60s how happy their part of the world was, what good relations they had with the ‘negroes’, how their kids played together and everything was peachy in the best of worlds. No offense, but your short testimonial sounds a bit like theirs. They can be both true, and both irrelevant.

    And the public attitude and overall social context are also certainly conducive to the problem.

    Racism against Arabs, or people of African origin for instance, is aggressively denounced and publicized as such. As it should be. Should a group of racist white thugs commit a ‘ratonnade’ somewhere, it is likely to get national coverage and the media will demand answers from the authorities along the lines of ‘what is the police doing ?’.

    However, if the racist thugs are Arabs – because racist thugs is all they are – they are not denounced as such, or in much softer tones, and excuses and explanations are immediately offered for their behavior. They are expressing solidarity with their ‘Palestinian brothers’, for instance, come from a tough neighborhood, have no work, are “alienated from society” yada yada yada. Never mind the majority of them are Algerian or Moroccan and couldn’t place Israel or Palestine on a map, nor do they know anything about the conflict beyond the soundbites and images they see on the 8 o’clock news, never mind the other 3+ million of unemployed who don’t torch synagogues, as if that was a relevant excuse in the first place. Never mind the fact that their disadvantaged social position is no worse or no better than that of most young white neo-nazis. But the latter get no sympathy – and they shouldn’t get any – while the former are more likely to get a sympathetic ear, and airtime for their grievances.

    And no matter how violent these individuals are, how many they beat up, terrorize or, in too many cases, gang-rape, they are talked about as victims and any tough action against them by the authorities is immediately denounced as the emergence of a new “police state”. Racism is denounced as such and properly dealt with if the perpetrator is white. Anyone else is, by default, a poor victim of society. Racism is an exclusively white vice.

    Who’s really being racist here ?

    The double standard goes further. Recall SOS Racisme, the National Front and all the debates around immigration and racism in the late 80s and early 90s. One of the main arguments against racism is that most of its victims were actually French citizens. So racism didn’t make sense on those grounds. Fair enough. However, as soon as gangs of racist French Arabs go on a rampage and start attacking Jews or symbols of their faith, well, it turns out they’re Arabs after all. It’s not really French anti-semitism, you see, since the criminals in question are a little darker than the national average. The rest of us white folks are pretty clean and we are the real France, really, so there is no anti-semitism in France. Move right along.

    This convenient, weak, disgusting moral relativism makes me puke. If only because if the Arab population in France had suffered half of what the Jews have dealt with in the past 2 years, it would be a national outrage and revolt would be brewing in the banlieues, cars would burn and Chirac would be on TV to appeal to the nation and set up an inter-ministerial task force. Do you actually believe our beurs and our political class and official would all remain quiet, civil and soft-spoken if dozens of mosques had been attacked or torched, school buses full or North African kids stoned or burned, Arab children attacked and beaten at random every day, their cemeteries vandalized, and a lot worse ? I don’t think so. Why the strong outrage in one case, and not the other ? There is no rational explanation here. And the remaining alternative are not pretty too consider.

    Of course, it’s very convenient and easy to dismiss all this as ‘foreign-fueled conspiracy theories’, the standard argument of denial professionals across the political spectrum, from Jean-Marie Le Pen to Arlette Laguiller, regardless of the mounting evidence or the facts on the ground. The very use of such a weak and predictable argument confirms that we are dealing here with denial.

    And where there is smoke, there is fire.

  29. Kodiak, I am not the one who made that statement. And you are wrong : Israel is not an oppressive state. If it is, what do you call Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran or the former Iraq ?

    Israel is a democratic country with many Arab citizens. The occupied territories are not Israel, anymore than Iraq is America. And the oppressive nature of the sanctions imposed on them are both a consequence of their occupied status, which puts them in a legal no-man’s land – thank you, United Nations – and their murderous actions against Israel. Your implicit statement that Israel’s defense represents state terrorism is typical and goes to show you can’t tell the difference between terrorism and justified self-defense.

    Terrorists seek the maximum number of innocent civilian casualties; the more, the better. This is the strategy followed by the Palestinian factions, and has been so for decades. Israel, like most modern states, does not explicitly target civilians and, despite constant complaints from supposedly intellectual elites who never held a gun, they do a decent job minimizing civilian casualties, given the tactical context they operate in.

    After days of warnings and evacuation, Jenin could have simply been flattened from the sky. Infantry went in instead, at considerable risk and costs in human lives. To this day, the claims of hundreds of dead have never been proven by NGOs or the UN. Except for 52 bodies at Jenin Hospital; since then, the Palestinian authorities have agreed with that figure. Although they claim, of course, that all were civilians. While the Israeli think most were enemy combatants. But the massacre didn’t happen. Like so many other pieces of myth and superstition around the conflict.

    Should you consult a detailed list of Israeli targeted killing, for instance, most were executed by snipers. Clean, surgical, no collateral damage. Of course, those are rarely, if ever, reported in favor of those raids that kill civilians, giving the impression Israel uses helicopter rockets as a rule.

    And I am afraid you are being naive regarding Palestine; Abbas and all the other nice men in suits who talk so well are not anymore representative of Palestine than religions Israeli hardliners. Hamas and other factions are running the show on the ground. And moderate Palestinians have had years to leave and seek a better future for their children. What’s left is the bottom of the pot, and a bunch of gangsters who, to this day, refuse Israel’s right to exist. They have no interest in peace and dignity; some of these extremist parasites would not know what to do in a peaceful society; killing and blackmailing is almost a business at this stage.

    The Palestinian dead-end is, to a large extent, self-inflicted. And as long as the likes of Arafat are in charge, that will not change. When you have spent 40 years wielding terrorism as a weapon, and have been rewarded with praise and a Nobel Peace Prize, it is unlikely you will change your ways anytime soon.

    When all you know is the hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  30. Al,

    I am glad to learn that I was mistaken about you.

    However, WRT

    The prosecution of Thought Crimes and Word Crimes really sucks. It has led to every atrocity in history. Including the holocaust.

    So speech does have consequences. I don’t think anti-Jewish statements unaccompanied by violence are benign. I don’t see anything wrong with pointing them out. If I’m mistaken on the facts I’ll admit it. But if you use words impressionistically you shouldn’t be surprised if they are misinterpreted.



    I was responding to the interview, not the cartoon.



    I made the comment about Israel’s oppressiveness that you attributed to Sylvain. Since he has already responded I’ll leave it at that. You certainly have a talent for quibbling.

  31. I’ll leave it all at that too. Am beyond my comment quota for the quarter, here. Back to posting.

  32. I haven’t had that much time left to realise you were the author about “antiSemitism being rampant in France”.

    Hey, I said it first! Give credit where it’s due, guys.

    Anyway, both Sylvain and Jonathan have responded with fancier language than I use. But I think I can add a different perspective.

    The growing number of anti-Semetic violence is France is a problem that just won’t go away. It’s a failure at the most basic and fundamental of governmental responsibility: that of providing physical security to the citizens.

    This is pretty immediate stuff. Which political philosophy one holds is meaningless if some thug is going to crack you over the head. Fine points of debate are laughable if your family is threatened.

    So far the French and German governments have utterly failed in this most basic of duties. The perps aren’t being pursued with any enthusiasm, which means that these crimes aren’t going to stop any time soon.

    So Isaid that anti-Semetism is rampant in France and Germany. I think that’s a pretty fair assesment.


  33. Sorry Sylvain: I’ve read the whole stuff too fast & chances are I’m to make morer errors >>> I haven’t much time left anyway. flat excuses to the author of the orginal quote.

    Never mind. Just a few points.

    1/ Glad you acknowledge French people aren’t racist or antiSemitic, although both of the plagues are to be found in France too.

    2/ With you on pusillanimity: racist misdeeds must be denounced as loud as possible & anytime they occur.

    3/ There’s nonetheless a “surenchère” fuelled from France-haters from both within the country & from abroad. It’s a reality. We don’t just have friends.

    4/ We’re not in establishing a competition between “good” States & “bad” States. This kind of “good vs evil” Bushist bla-bla is just good for FoxNews, not for free-thinkers. Syria, Saudi Arabia & others are dreadful with respect to how to handle -or refrain from handling at all- Human elementay rights. We all agree on that. It’s not because Tunisia is a police State that Israel is an angle with golden wings growing in its back. I love my country; but I know how awful it was during Vichy. I like chocolate; but if I’m into eating 600 kg of chocolate in a row, I’ll die. So criticising Israel’s foreign policy doesn’t mean I love Syria or adore Saudi democracy.

    5/ As you said, reality can be complex to the extent that there are Muslim Jew-haters, Jewish Muslim-haters, Christian Muslim+Jew-haters etc. But reality can be very simple too: most of the French don’t hate anybody because of their religion or their religious background.

    6/ Finally I agree that anti-Muslim racism has been fought more than anti-Jewish racism lately (postcolonialism syndrome). I’ve got the feeling that antiSemitism has broadly disappeared in traditional France (except, & that’s sad, for a tiny minority of inveterate educated bastards & pathetic uneducated jerks). For that reason it needs reactivating, especially in schools, where such horrendous behaviour MUST be removed AT ANY COST. I think TV & ignorance combined had a bad influence (or a lack of influence) on feeble minds.

    But again, stating France is getting antiSemitic or cowardly closing her eyes is utterly false.

    Sorry if I forgot some points of yours. I’ll take the time later.

  34. Kodiak, how lovely for you to live in such an inspiring environment. Twenty odd years ago we were visiting friends in Foucherolles and went to a shopping centre close to one of the Arab housing enclaves to get some supplies from Le castorama. Our hosts cautioned us about hanging on to our wallets and handbags because of the infestation of out of control youth. Incidentally, the shopping centre stank literally and was also filthy – part of its authenticity no doubt. The same family friends at the same time paid out a large sum to buy a flat for their daughter who was working in Paris in order for her to live in a `safe’ environment. That was two decades ago and nothing has improved since then. In fact, quite the contrary.

  35. It is amusing to see folks from France pointing to Israel’s policies as a reason to designate it an “oppressive” country, but then huff and puff when someone has the temerity to suggest that synagogues getting torched, cemeteries desecreted, graffiti all over the place, and the odd beating or twelve might make France a racist — oops, let me be more specific, antisemitic — country.

    Nope, no racist problem in *your* country; that would be a gross overgeneralisation. And I’d hate to call France racist when I really meant that some of the policies of action or inaction might be racist policies: everyone knows that these are certainly not the same thing. (Well, unless you’re talking about Israel; then it’s okay.)

    Let the demonisation roll on!

  36. James: je rends à César ce qui reviend à César…

    “The growing number of anti-Semetic violence is France is a problem that just won’t go away” >>> why? Can you explain?

    “It’s a failure at the most basic and fundamental of governmental responsibility: that of providing physical security to the citizens” >>> Exactly like this extreme-right Jewish militia that’s haunting Parisian streets at night & beat every Arab-looking person they can find.

    “So far the French and German governments have utterly failed in this most basic of duties” >>> So now it’s Germany too. I suspect that if Berlusconi, Blair & Aznar would have supported the French option for UN-led peace, no doubt that “anti-Semetism” would have been “rampant” in Italy, in the UK & in Spain & you’d have thought “that’s a pretty fair assesment”.

  37. Bill,

    Everybody’s entitled to have their views about Israel, France etc.

    My oopinion is that what you’re saying is nonsense.

    You think France is an antiSemitic country, hence her antiIsraeli policy.

    I think France is neither antiSemitic nor antiIsraeli. The fact is that Israel is confrontated with a very difficult situation right now. This country is utterly tensed, and it’s really easy to single out a scapegoat (thus following US steps in the Iraki affair): Francophobia will do, won’t it? Hopefully some Israelis are smarter than that. They know that suicide bombers are not antiSemitic French people. They do know that the bombs are due to their very neighbours: Palestinians.

    As for the situation in France which, I remind you all, is a country different from Israel or Palestine, there isn’t such a thing as “rampant antiSemitism” or racism. That’s absolutely false. Again there are some Jewish or Muslim radicals, each of which desperate for radicalisation. But that won’t work. I’m positive the overwhelming majority of French citizens of Jewish/Muslim background grant more consideration to the French Republic than to radicals of any sort.

  38. Kodiak, may I suggest you read comments and understand them before posting a reply. Nobody here makes connections between France and suicide bombers. And since I never heard Israeli or anyone here blame Palestinian bombings on the French, your “Francophobia” comment is nonsensical.

    And blame it all on “Francophobia”, of course. This has become the leitmotiv, the perfect excuse to dismiss any opposition to French views on pretty much anything these days. After making fun of Bush for his “you are with us or against us” line, it’s fun to watch France fall unanimously into this frame of mind; Chirac ahead, with his ridiculous and pathetic remarks to the Eastern European countries. And after decades of strident, constant, stereotypical anti-americanism, France finally gets to taste some of its own medicine and surprise : we don’t like it. Well, duh.

    As for your denials of the problem, that’s just what they are. Denials. No matter the evidence, there is no widespread anti-semitism. Just like there is no evidence Islamic Jihad and Hamas are terror groups, regardless of the number of terrorist bombings they claim. Typical, really.

    And never mind that a rate of racist incidents against Arabs about a third of what the French Jewish population has suffered in the past couple of years used to be qualified as “rampant and widespread racism” by the well-thinking Parisian elites about a decade or so ago. It’s racism when it applies to Arabs. When it’s against Jews, there is no problem. Move along.

    You can claim the facts are “absolutely false” but that only makes you look like a silly ostrich with its head buried in the sand, screaming it’s too dark to do anything.

    And whatever you think of the opinion of some overwhelming majority of people – a totally subjective statement -, it doesn’t change anything to the problem. It’s just a standard excuse to do nothing : since a majority are OK, we don’t need to worry about that little minority over there, however nasty their actions. How convenient. The overwhelming majority of people don’t vote Le Pen, Kodiak. So why has it been such a concern over the past 20 years ?

    I also have news for you : the fact that a majority “grant consideration to the French republic” is utterly and totally irrelevant to those Jews who get insulted, attacked or beaten at random. What is however quite relevant to them is that it is happening, and that the “overwhelming majority” can’t be bothered to worry about it.

    Again, not to belabor the point, but I don’t understand why we react with outrage for years when Arabs or Africans get this kind of treatment, yet deny there is a problem when Jews are the target. In fact, given that the number of incidents is at least as high and the Jewish population a lot smaller, Jews are targeted even more than Arabs ever were in the past two or three decades, on a per capita basis. In other words, the odds of being attacked as a Jew in Paris today are most likely higher than they ever were for a young beur. This double standard hints to a more serious underlying problem. Good old racism through neglect.

    And your denials, regardless of the mounting, painful evidence, only confirm this. And due to the nature of the facts, I can’t really thank you for the confirmation.

    There is no blinder man than the one who does not want to see, Kodiak.

  39. Sylvain,

    “Nobody here makes connections between France and suicide bombers. And since I never heard Israeli or anyone here blame Palestinian bombings on the French, your “Francophobia” comment is nonsensical”

    Although the lack of Frenchmen amongst antiIsrael terrorists goes without saying, it is never “nonsensical” to remind France-haters this basic bit of truth. The Francophobic Zeitgeist is so well entertained -although some have already started to calm down given the blatant iraqi failure that the French have announced from day 1, that it is never superfluous to draw the line.


    “And blame it all on “Francophobia”, of course. This has become the leitmotiv, the perfect excuse to dismiss any opposition to French views on pretty much anything these days”

    You mentioned “leitmotiv”. I suggest you gather a thorough anthology of Anglo-Saxon press & TV in 2003.


    As for your denials of the problem, that’s just what they are”

    I’m not denying anything. I’m not even denying the unstoppable propaganda fuelled by Anglo-Saxon rightist media that are owned by Murdoch, a free thinker, or financed by US militaro-industrial complex (launching the Iraqi circus).
    I live in my country, France. I know what’s going on. There’s no rampant antiSemitism in France. That’s guaranteed. I wouldn’t be afraid to denounce it should the situation be such as you described. It isn’t though.

    I find it quite cheeky that you are demanding detailed evidence of what isn’t existing. The burden of the proof is all yours.


    “When it’s against Jews, there is no problem. Move along”

    That isn’t true. How can you assert such nonsense? Do you think all people of goodwill prefer antiracism A rather than antiracism B? There isn’t such a thing as antiracism for this or for that. There’s antiracism. For everything.


    “You can claim the facts are “absolutely false” but that only makes you look like a silly ostrich with its head buried in the sand, screaming it’s too dark to do anything”

    I’d be a “silly ostrich” if your wanton assertion happened to be true. As I said previously, there are antiSemitic misdeeds perpetrated in France. Still claiming France to nurture “rampant antiSemitism” is archiflase. In this very respect, you haven’t substantiated none of your claim so far.


    “I also have news for you : the fact that a majority “grant consideration to the French republic” is utterly and totally irrelevant to those Jews who get insulted, attacked or beaten at random”

    Now you’re mixing one of my statements (the fact that a vast majority harbour greater consideration to the French Republic than to radicals of any background) with the trauma that assaulted people have been experiencing.
    You’re trying to minor my point of view by associating it with a poignant reality -yet unrelated to the fact that almost all Frenchmen aren’t antiSemitic.

    That said, I’m very much concerned by the sufferring those innocent people have endured. I am equally concerned by the lack of bona fide of those, located abroad, wishing -only dreaming- to stimulate hatred in my country.


    For heaven sake, Sylvain!

    I myself live in a mixed Jewish/Muslim area.

    I know people from both religions.

    None of them confirmed what you said: “rampant antiSemitism in France”.

  40. Kodiak, the evidence is available to you if you bother to look it up. It’s called Google. I’m not your personal assistant. Please bother doing a little bit of research before dismissing people.

    The “burden of proof” is all around you. Numbers mentioned in previous comment come from a collection of sources. Of course, you won’t read them in your average newspaper. They don’t give a hoot about it. That’s the very problem I am denouncing. So the average idiot can indeed fool himself thinking there is no problem, when every other Jewish association begs for help. The data from MRAP or LICRA is rather damning.

    And please don’t give me “guarantees”. That’s ridiculous. You’re hardly in a position to guarantee anything around here.

    And if you were an authority on “Anglo-Saxon” press & TV, you wouldn’t be making the comments you’re making. Starting by calling them ‘anglo-saxon’, another of these silly, pedantic, anachronistic terms only we use and that make everybody else in the world laugh.

    And no, you’re not listening. Again. I am not mixing anything up. The fact that whatever majority is not anti-semitic is indeed irrelevant. The fact that they are not willing to recognize growing anti-semitism, nor to deal with it, or are willing to spend so much time denying the severity of the problem in some online space, is, however, quite relevant and exactly what we’re talking about here. So I’ll make a deal with you : if your neighborhood is representative of France, then my bit of New Hampshire is representative of the all US from now on. Which means there is no crime, no racism and no poverty in the US. And the opinion of my neighbors takes precedence over anyone else who says otherwise. Allelujah.

    Problems solved.

    And by the way, I know enough Jews in France who think there is a serious problem so I don’t need your friends to confirm anything for me, or not. I lived in France for 22 years and still go there on a regular basis. Thank God, I don’t need you to know what is, and what isn’t going on. Because you obviously have no idea what is happening in your own backyard.

    I suggest you bury your head deeper and hope for the storm to pass without disturbing your nice little life and your comfy little assumptions. There is no anti-semitism in France. And Hamas and Islamic Jihad are no terror groups since Jacques said so.

    Good luck to you.

    I am done here. Not worth the pixels anymore.

  41. By the way, for those interested, there is PDF report in English by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Paris here : http://www.wiesenthal.com/social/pdf/index.cfm?ItemID=4991

    Confirms the rising violence, and the general and predictable nature of the denial from the government and everybody else. I even found some Le Monde article that, like our friend Kodiak, claims there can’t be any anti-semitism in France since 87% of some polling sample claim they are “against it”. Well, there you go; since the same proportions of Americans are probably “against racism”, there is no racism in America either. Ain’t the world wonderful ?

    Believe it or not, this line of reasoning is common currency to justify the status quo. And the fact that 13% did not say they were against it, in France in 2003, bothers no one, of course.

    And you can be certain 1/10th of the attacks in this report would not be tolerated if the targets were Arabs. There would be a huge media uproar. If a couple of mosques burned, the press would call France racist and all the so-called intellectuals would call for a big demonstration in Paris.

    But Jews ? Nah. They have money so they can’t be victims, right ?

    No anti-semitism there. Move right along.

    Anyone got a barf bag ?

  42. Sylvain,

    Your comments are rather rude, always unsubstantiated & positively disappointing.

    Let’s say we disagree. You appear to think I’m a fool at best, a despicable coward with a Munich attitude at worst. I think you’re not fair at best, and hypocritical & cynical at worst.

    My last sentence will be a mention of the CRIF (an independent, representative, high-profile French Jewish comittee dealing with French officials). The CRIF went to the USA to firmly oppose the US Jewish decision to boycott France further to the alleged “rampant antiSemitism in France”. The CRIF won the battle: all US Jewish organisations, but one I reckon, decided that punishing France wasn’t vindicated.

    PS: I don’t need Google to go & talk to decent French people of all walks of life.

  43. Kodiak, I have noticed that anything that disagrees with your view is considered rude. That’s OK, you’re not the only one over there.

    Unsubstantiated ? See the link above from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Paris. Again, anything that disagrees with your view is dismissed for no objective reason.

    And as you point out, the CRIF is but one french organization; and there is no such thing as a “US Jewish decision”. There are a lot of Jewish organizations in the US and none speaks for the entire community. And by the way, speaking of unsubstantiated, could you provide a link to this information ?

    PS: Of course you don’t need Google. Such things are beneath sophisticated people like you. Better to talk to a few people in the neighborhood and extrapolate to the entire country rather than researching events and trends for yourself beyond what you get around you and in the superficial media. This allows you to flatly contradict people who have done the research, and whose acquaintances thoroughly disagree with you. A comfortable position, when one is intellectually lazy enough to maintain it.

    PPS: And since you talk to decent people, I guess the ones you don’t talk to, and who disagree with you, such as my friends who do see a serious problem, are not decent. Thank you.

    PPPS: “You appear to think I’m a fool at best, a despicable coward with a Munich attitude at worst.” Took you a while to figure that one out. A bit slow, aren’t we ?

  44. Sylvain,

    I can see you’re worshipping Google. I grant more relevance to human contact. Here are the contact details for CRIF:

    Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF)
    39, rue Broca
    75.005 Paris
    tph: + 33 (0) 142 171 111
    fax: + 33 (0) 142 171 113.

    You’re nonsense per minute rate is astounding.

    According to you, meeting real-life people is like reading brainwashed media and, above all, irrelevant per se. Even Googled information comes from real people. Don’t you know that? Google is a media.

    Good luck.

    PS: I’m not your PA either >>> I assume you’re mature enough to hang up the telephone & have a discussion with the “brainwashed” people of the CRIF.

  45. Kodiak, the nonsense is in your head and in your eyes. You don’t bother reading to a point where I wonder why I’m still bothering responding to you.

    One last time, please stop distorting what I said or making up things I did not say. I know English is not your first language; it’s not mine either but I think I manage to be pretty clear, most of the time.

    What I said, is that you cannot take your own local experience – your neighborhood, the people you know – and freely assume it’s the same everywhere else. Which is what you did by repeatedly claiming I was wrong about France as a whole, with no basis except your own limited local experience.

    Which is standard, flawed extrapolation. Your asserting there is no anti-semitism in France based on your local experience is no different from me asserting there is no crime, poverty or racism in America based on my local experience of the little bit of New England paradise I happen to live in. The former is every bit as silly as the latter.

    So yes, I need more than my friends and my neighbors to know what’s going on. And yes, most people I know aren’t different from most people you know, and don’t go far beyond taking the media feed and regurgitating it. That’s OK, I don’t hang out with them to be informed. Most ‘real people’, after all, have busy lives and families and don’t have the time, or the inclination, to be informed beyond mainstream media. Most “real people” I know in France know next to nothing about life in America beyond the stereotypical cliches, myths and superstitions they have been spoon-fed all their lives. So yes, when it comes to information and figuring out what is going on a large scale, most “real people” are not better, collectively, than the media that informs them.

    Where “real people” matter is when you need local, on-the-ground information. Your friends and neighbors matter if I want to know what things are like where you live. If I want to know what things are like in France, they are no more relevant or representative a group than any other tiny sample of a population of 60 million.

    So a few “real people” don’t cut it if I want to know what’s going on with respect to anti-semitism in France as a whole. Sorry.

    What then ? Well, you got to find the data somewhere. And Google is quite a valuable tool to find those reports – like the Simon Wiesenthal report mentioned and linked above, which you obviously avoid reading or mentioning – and various data I need to come to an understanding.

    I can’t trust the media so I need to find sources. And Google is the best free tool available for that, whether you like it or not.

    Claims of “worship” are silly. I use Google – among others – to find out the facts, the ones I can’t know about from personal experience and the daily media. You, on the other hand, extrapolate your own experience to an entire country, you want to believe you can speak for the whole nation based on your own comfy little world. Who’s the worshipper running on blind faith here ?

    And no, Google is not media anymore than the index in your local library is media. Google returns links to media and lots of other data, but that does not make it media. It’s a tool, and an exceedingly good one. If you don’t want to use it, fine. Your loss.

    Now, regarding CRIF. I offered a link to a Simon Wiesenthal report above. Obviously, the facts related in that report are of no interest or consequence to you. All you have to offer in return is a phone # in Paris to the one organization in France that supposedly disagrees with everybody else.

    And you have nothing else to offer. Like, why exactly is the CRIF’s opinion more authoritative or relevant than the Simon Wiesenthal Center ? Or LICRA’s ? It’s pretty obvious CRIF matters to you because you think they agree with your view.

    Let’s see for ourselves, which is what people who use Google can do very quickly. Let’s check the home page for LICRA. The first reason they give to join them ? “La recrudescence des actes antisemites”. Interesting.

    On its home page, the first link SOS Racisme has in its “Education against racism” menu is “Antisemitism”. Funny how in a country with no widespread anti-semitism, everybody who deals with racism puts it first on the list. Probably because it’s quaint or something…

    Next, let’s go to CRIF’s web site, http://www.crif.org/. Excellent site, and it turns out there is such little anti-semitism in France they have a toll-free number to report incidents. Funny how people set up free phone lines to report a non-existent, or anecdotal, problem.

    If you look around, you can then find a speech by CRIF’s President that says lovely things such as : “Hatred for Jews is back. And for the first time in half a century, screams of ‘Death to the Jews’ are resonating in Parisian streets, and synagogues burn”.

    You’re right. I should call CRIF. They, at least, have a bit of a clue about the seriousness of the problem.

    Unlike “real people” like yourself.

    Now, please go play somewhere else with those “real”, “decent” people that are worthy of your time and your sophisticated, properly educated, well-thinking, politically correct consideration. Thank you kindly.

  46. Just because you can’t argue nor defend your own weak points doesn’t entitle you to condescending sneering. I know that’s the standard protocol for many back home. Doesn’t work here. Sorry.

    Yes pal, it’s your local experience vs. the facts and reports accumulated by every anti-racism and Jewish organization in the country for almost three years; not mine, theirs. Then comes the local knowledge of those people I know in the country who can confirm these facts. In other words, plenty of local experience that confirms the national facts and numbers (nobody claimed they were “global” so get off your soapbox).

    And you have nothing that credibly contradicts them except a claim that everything is great where you live. And vague comments about CRIF agreeing with your view when a visit to their web site shows their President to believe this is the worst bout of anti-semitism since World War 2, no less. Never mind a toll-free number to report incidents with a page dedicated to tracking them.

    But of course, they’re all imagining things. It’s all a “foreign-fueled conspiracy theory”, an invention of the “anglo-saxon” media.

    Since all is well where you live, France as a whole is doing great.

    When you can see pass your own prejudice long enough to actually read what people are writing and address their questions and points instead of dismissing them with no basis whatsoever, let us know.

    In the meantime, you are welcome to keep your head up your own arse as much as you want. Just go do it somewhere else. Thank you.


  47. Sylvain,

    Your selective attention to what you designate as “French antisemitism” would be just disappointing if it weren’t also adding insult to unfairness & inaccuracy. Moreover you’re just a tiny -& very late- element of the whole brainwashing machine that’s producing Francophobia, a convenient mind manipulation intended to conceal US failures (no casus belli, repeated lies, killing of innocents, UN-law violation, oil stealing, infrastructure mismanagement or lack of management, astronomical incompetence in managing peace & State-rebuilding, staggering loss of credibility, economical problems, failure to fight terrorism, extraodinary ability to fight oldest allies & smile to terrorist States like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc).

    There’s a parallel between your desperate attempt to depict France as a mean backstabber because she designed a new World order that suits more nations rather than the USA only, on the 1st hand, and your vicious, hate-salivating, revolting collaboration to witch-hunt against France out of forged moral reasons (alleged antisemitism), on the other hand.

    France gave Jews full French nationality in 1791, well before any other western country. She also gave full citizenship to any Jews living under Napoleon rule. French Jewish community is the 2nd largest in the World (Israel excluded): ~ 650.000 French people of Jewish religion/background (not to mention foreigners). French Jewish community is also one of the oldest in the World: more than 2.000 yo. France’s Jewish community is also very complex & not monolithic. All Jewish diaspora may be found in France. French people of Jewish background are to be found in all scopes of public matters: presidents, ministers, ambassadors, high-profile civil servants, army generals, writers, musicians, top businessmen, scientists, and of course theologists or Talmud-students which are renown in the whole World. All of that to the exception of the infamous, sad tragedy embododied in Vichy Laws, a racist, criminal body of antisemitic legal texts intended to assasinate Jewish French & foreigners alike.

    Sylvain: come to France! You won’t be able to spot a French citizen from another, irrespective of their creed or traditonal background. Real France isn’t the country you’re developping in your worst nightmares. If you want to do France harm, try something more elaborate. Otherwise you’re bound to fail miserably. Just like the peace-losing US army in Iraq.


    Sylavain, allow me to change the topic & move from antisemitism to antiarabism, a form of racism thats isn’t that popular within your site (wonder why…).

    Maybe you should utilise your overspilling mental energy to give a fair description of antiarabism nurtured by Sharon.

    Do I have to remind you that Israel conquered:

    1. the whole of what was to be Palestine:
    a.the area covered by current Cisjordan (West Bank)
    b. Gaza
    c. Jerusalem

    2. what eventually turned out to be the State of Israel

    3. Syria, a regular UN-member (Golan plateau)

    4. Egypt, a regular UN-member (Sinaï desert)

    5. Lebanon, a regular UN-member (southern Lebanon).

    Not to mention repeated UN-law violations, State-terrorism, Sabra & Chatila & the unhuman detention of the Palestinian people within a territory which is impoverished, disarticulated & always diminishing.

  48. Kodiak, your desperation, exasperation and denial is all the validation I need. Thank you again for sharing your shallow stereotypes and pedantic, condescending lecturing.

    Not that we needed any indirect confirmation of our worries, but it’s always nice to have. Cheers.

  49. And yes. Francophobia is the product of an orchestrated brainwashing machine. Like anything that disagrees with your views.

    Anti-americanism, on the other hand, is not only spontaneous, it is rational, and natural.

    But of course.

    Keep digging, Kodiak, keep digging. Very soon you’ll have a hole big enough for the whole coutry. Minus the Jews, of course.

  50. Sylvain,

    Why won’t you acknowledge that Israel -as its Arab neighbours- does share some responsibility in the decade-long Palestinian dead-end?

    Why do you complain about anti US feelings in Europe & dismiss any Francophobic stance in the USA?

    You may use phrases like your shallow stereotypes and pedantic, condescending lecturing to depict diverging opinions. Are you sure to be free from any arrogance or blindness?

  51. While all of you discuss the “anti-semitism”, you are totally ignoring what “anti-semitism” means? What/who is a semite? It ia a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs or their descendents. So acussing someone of being an “anit-semite” means they hate 1/4 of this planet’s population? That they are eqaully opposed to Isralies and Palestinans? Jews compose what pourcentage of semites? Approx. 10%? I wonder why the Jews monopolize the word semitism? Why doesn’t they just use the term “anti-jew”?

  52. Actually, the term “semitic” refers to a group of languages rather than people. However, in current English the term “anti-semitic” is used interchangeably with “anti-Jewish” and that’s how I used it. Non-Jewish English speakers, including anti-semites, are at least as responsible for this linguistic fact as are Jews.

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