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Israel Against the Jews: The Avant-Garde of Islamophobia

"At the head of a huge Parisian demonstration supposedly organized against terrorism, one finds three war criminals, Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett, who just made a name for themselves by massacring of more than 2000 Palestinians (mostly civilians) in Gaza during the summer of 2014."—Pierre Stambul

Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have muscled his way to the front of the march against terrorism in Paris.
Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have muscled his way to the front of the march against terrorism in Paris.

By Pierre Stambul
Paris.

It is a well worn refrain. You criticize Israel and Zionism? You are an anti-Semite! A French Jew wants to be able to ‘live fully his Judaism’? He is invited to make ‘aliyah’ and to do his bit for the colonization of Palestine. It is hammered into us that the history of Jewry has been brought to an end and that Israel is its end point. Israel functions as an eraser of Jewish history, of memory, of languages, of traditions and of Jewish identities. Israeli politics is not only criminal against the Palestinian people. It claims to be the heir of Jewish history when it has misrepresented that history and betrayed it. Israel knowingly puts the Jews in danger wherever they find themselves. And it transforms them into robots summoned to justify the unjustifiable.

Revisiting the recent past

The history of French Jewry has strictly nothing to do with Israel. Perennially dispossessed, massacred or expelled by a variety of very Christian Kings, the Jews have acquired French citizenship not least thanks to the advocacy of a priest, Henri Gr├ęgoire, during the Revolution. The last two centuries have been marked by a quest for citizenship and for equal rights under the law.

The Dreyfus affair highlighted that, if one part of French society was anti-Semitic, another part, ultimately the majority, considered that the acquittal and rehabilitation of Dreyfus was the objective of all those who were enamored of liberty and rejected racism. The history of French Jewry has been distinguished by its significant involvement in the resistance against Nazism and the Vichy regime, then by the engagement of many amongst them in progressive and/or anti-colonialist struggles. Among the notable Jewish intellectuals of this era were Raymond Aubrac, Marc Bloch, Laurent Schwartz, Pierre Vidal-Naquet and St├ęphane Hessel.


Did Netanyahu Push to the Front of the March in Paris?

It was an era when many Jews thought that their own emancipation was part of a universal emancipation. It was an epoch when racism, fascism and the hatred of ‘the other’ were considered as utterly unacceptable and had to be fought. Jewish children went to the public school system; the idea of separating themselves from others into faith-based schools would never have occurred to them.

In Israel today, there has been a concerted attempt to erase the history of Jews in the different countries where they lived. If Jews have for a long time been considered by anti-Semites in Europe as inassimilable pariahs and if they have been persecuted because they have constituted an obstacle to the mad nationalisms which dreamt of ethnically pure societies, they have never sought separation but, on the contrary, the integration into the societies in which they lived.

A call to desertion

One jumps forward to more recent times. At the head of a huge Parisian demonstration supposedly organized against terrorism, one finds three war criminals, Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett, who just made a name for themselves by massacring of more than 2000 Palestinians (mostly civilians) in Gaza during the summer of 2014. Profiting from the emotion generated by the anti-Semitic murders at the Porte de Vincennes, Netanyahu is empowered (by the French government)1 to declare to French Jews that they live with insecurity in France and that they should move to their ‘true’ country, Israel.

In fact, Zionism has never combated anti-Semitism. It has always endlessly fed on it with a single and unique objective: to entice as many Jews as possible to immigrate to Israel. As a result, Netanyahu has not hesitated to put French Jews in danger. He makes them into foreigners in their own country, ‘tourists’ who have not understood that their ‘homeland’ is down there. Jews are enjoined to become either ‘traitors’ (to the single and unique cause, that of Greater Israel from the river to the sea) or accomplices. France has always been considered a failure for Israel: hardly 80,000 Jews have left since 1948 and half of them have returned to France. Then the propaganda becomes deafening. However, if there is clearly a country where Jews live in insecurity, it is Israel itself and it will be thus as long as Israel pursues the destruction of Palestine.

To the aliyah (‘going up’) of the living towards Israel, is now added that of the dead. The Israeli authorities actively incite French Jews to bury their dead in Israel. Thus the victims of the killing at the Porte de Vincennes have been buried at the Givat Shaul cemetery. This district of Jerusalem is actually the former Deir Yassin, the village martyred in the 1948 war where the Irgun militias directed by Menachem Begin massacred the entire population so that the village, like so many others, could be erased from the map. How symbolic!

Israel in the avant-garde of Islamophobia

Jews have lived for centuries in the Islamic world. They have even been welcomed by the Ottoman empire after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Today, Israel participates in the demonization of Arabs and of Muslims by behaving as a model pupil in the ‘clash of civilizations’ classroom. Some politicians having made it their stock in trade, anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia is openly displayed, and acting on them is not uncommon.

The mass crime in Gaza or the multiplication of racist statements (for Rabbi Rosen, the Palestinians are akin to Amelekites and the Torah dictates that we should kill them as well as their wives, their children, their flocks) will leave traces. How does one imagine that what is inflicted on the Palestinians will be without consequences?

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