For Jews here, many of whom had thought of themselves as French first and foremost, the violence and the initial tepid response of government officials have led to a crisis of identity.
"At first, neither the politicians, nor the courts, nor the intellectuals, nor the media, nor public opinion, nor civil society -- none of them said anything," said Simon Kouhama, president of the Jewish Citizens Forum, an organization founded largely by Sephardic Jews. "We began to ask if we could even stay in France. Were we really French citizens? Were we Jews? We had the feeling we were a people apart."
From a very good, albeit belated article on French anti-Semitism in the Washington Post. It gets worse:
The alarm bells first started ringing for Zenouda in October 2000, as he watched television coverage of pro-Palestinian demonstrators in the Place de la Republique shouting "Death to the Jews" and other anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slogans. That month, five synagogues were firebombed and there were attempts against 19 other synagogues, homes and businesses.
Almost a century after Herzl witnessed the Paris mob taunting Dreyfuss with precisely those same words: Death to the Jews. The irony could not be more tragic. Of course, the Post seems compelled to compund it thusly:
There are different groups involved in these assaults, according to Zenouda. Many are teenagers who live in the bleak high-rise public housing complexes that dot the outskirts of Paris. They are often bored at school or unemployed, and seek to emulate what they see on TV networks such as al-Jazeera, he says. They often engage in spontaneous assaults or in gang activities, such as coordinated attacks on Jewish students. Then there are networks of activists who plan and carry out well-organized assaults such as the firebombings of the synagogues in October 2000 or the attack on the Cafe des Delices.
Activists??? Activists!?!? What the hell is this? The Washington Post apparently needs its PC fix. Well, at least they actually wrote about it, which is more than I can say for the NY Times.