Tuesday, April 01, 2003

"In its annual report on racism in France, the National Consultative Committee on Human Rights said there had been a sixfold increase over 2001 in acts of violence against Jewish property and persons. Of 313 acts of racist violence documented in 2002, 193 were anti-Semitic, it said. In a second category of racist acts — threats, graffiti and insults — more than 70 percent of the nearly 1,000 incidents were aimed at the Jewish community, while most of the rest were aimed at the North African immigrant community, the report said."

The big question here, of course, is where the outrage can be found. Cartainly not among the organized Jewish establishment in the United States, who seem utterly terrified at the thought of saying or doing anything during the war in Iraq, for fear of awakening sharges of God knows what. This paralysis of action on the part of those who ought to be talking is, in my opinion, the most disgraceful display of organizational cowardice by the US Jewish establishment since the Holocaust. Consider the following:
1. The Jewish population of France is mostly urban, working class, and poor. It is largely made up of immigrants from North Africa who have two options: staying in France or aliyah to Israel. These facts point to a disturbing conclusion: all the Jews who had the money and the option of leaving France have already done so.
2. Even with the economic and security situation being what it is in Israel, the aliyah from France has doubled in the past two years. In other words, more and more Jews are leaving a supposedly secure, progressive, First World European nation to make a new life in a war-torn region of the world.
3. Within the French community itself, identification with Israel, even among those not planning to make aliyah, is so pervasive that the younger generation has, for all practical purposes, stopped identifying with French culture and have adopted Israeli music, clothes, and attitudes for their own. The percentage of young French Jews saying they see themselves living in Israel in the future is larger then those of all the other Western countries by a factor of degrees.
These facts point to an anti-semitic explosion which is not merely a worry or inconvenience for the Jews of France, but which is shaking this large and well-established community to its foundations. In response to these trends, which are disturbing by any standards, we have heard almost nothing but silence from the American Jewish community.


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