This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

France, Jews, and Muslims

"This was something claimed by an individual who invoked Daesh, who wanted to kill a Jew. It is extremely serious."
Laurent Nunez, top police official, Marseilles
A Jewish man walks past a French soldier standing guard outside the Hypercacher kosher supermarket where four Jewish people were murdered by Islamist gunmen last January Getty Images

In France now, 74% of French Jews take steps to mask their Jewish identities in public for fear of attack. Marseilles is host to the second largest Jewish population in the country, at 70,000. Fear permeates the atmosphere. A number of Islamist attacks aimed directly at Jews has completely unnerved the community. It is a community that has called France home for well over a thousand  years. Jews have been documented to have lived in France before the common era, in fact.

And although Jews have always been an integral part of France, contributing to its culture and its traditions, enriching the country by their presence, an undercurrent of anti-Semitism has always existed, manifested in the past most signally by the Crusades when en route to the Holy Land passing through France gave the opportunity for a staged rehearsal of carnage on an impressive scale of religious hatred and persecution.

With the recent influx over the past decades of large communities of Muslims, French anti-Semitism has been given an Islamist boost. Lately, vicious outrages against Jews have been spearheaded by Muslims living in France, threatening the presence of French Jews. There have been attacks against Jewish schoolchildren and their teachers, against rabbis, and ordinary citizens who just happen to be Jews, in France.

The detestation, underwritten by the 'Palestinian cause' against the Israeli 'occupation' oppressing Arabs has been embraced by non-Muslim French in sympathy with the perceived plight of the Palestinians the blame of which is heaped upon Israeli Jews and by extension, all Jews. The measure of Jewish blame for Palestinian leadership incompetence and religiously-mandated violence appeals to Muslims living in France to show their solidarity with those in the Middle East by targeting Jews.

There have been three allegedly Islamist-inspired knife attacks on Jewish citizens in the French city of Marseilles since October alone. The most recent was against teacher Benjamin Amsellem, 35 (pictured) Getty Images

One of the latest targets was a young teacher in Marseilles, Benjamin Amsellem, who fended off a machete attack by using his leather-bound Torah to shield himself from certain death. He was attacked by a young Muslim inspired by Islamic State who was attempting to decapitate Mr. Amsellem. The attack against the young teacher was the third knife attack against Jews, obviously inspired from the Palestinian 'knife' intifada.

The teacher was readily identified by the skullcap he was wearing, as an orthodox Jew. "It is thanks to this book that I avoided some very serious blows", he said of the green-leather Torah with deep gashes.

France has a shameful history of Jewish expulsion; that of the 12th Century, and much later, during World War II, when Vichy France was the willing handmaiden of the Third Reich, rounding up French Jews to hand them over to the Nazis for shipment to death camps. In the courtyard of the Grand Synagogue in Marseilles, there is a wall inscribed with the names of the thousands of Jews who were deported when French police assiduously rounded up and handed them over to the Nazis.

According to French officials, the parents of the youth who attacked the Jewish teacher had no idea that their teenage son harboured such an aspiration. It is assumed that he connected to jihadist websites for hours on end, at his computer, revelling in the exhortations to remain faithful to Islam's call to the faithful to take up jihad; 'self-radicalizing', as the expression goes.

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