Charge of "Anti-Semitism" Used to Provoke Immigration of French Jews to Israel

By Jabr, Samah | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 2004 | Go to article overview
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Charge of "Anti-Semitism" Used to Provoke Immigration of French Jews to Israel


Jabr, Samah, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Just 10 days after he called on France's 600,000 Jewish citizens to move to Israel "immediately" to escape what he called "the spread of the wildest anti-Semitism," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon welcomed the first 200 French Jewish immigrants to arrive in Israel. The official controlled fury with which Paris greeted his call soon was smoothed over with conciliatory gestures on both sides.

According to Israeli press reports, the Jewish Agency had decided to send several hundred agents to France in order to persuade tens of thousands of French Jews to emigrate because of rising anti-Semitic attacks in recent years. In July, the Jewish Agency, the Immigration Ministry and Prime Minister Sharon's office agreed to offer additional funds to French Jews who respond to the campaign, including such added benefits as increased assistance with housing, education, business enterprises, and Hebrew ulpan (language school).

A recent survey of French Jews conducted by The Israel Project found that 26 percent are considering emigration due to rising anti-Semitism in France.

Israel's desire to stimulate emigration is partly motivated by the decrease in new Jewish arrivals now that the wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union has ended. Last year there were fewer than 25,000 such arrivals-down from 200,000 in 1990.

History has recorded that anti-Semites and Zionists are natural allies who have helped each other on several occasions. (See the review of Lenni Brenner's 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis on p. 86 of the September 2004 Washington Report.) Anti-Semitism in France, real or imagined, and the invitation to French Jews to occupy Palestine is yet another instance of this phenomenon.

Following the advice of Hitler's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels-"lie, and keep on lying, some of your lies shall no doubt take roots in the people's minds"-Western media eagerly reports incidents of "anti-Semitic attacks." In France, such attacks very often are blamed on Muslim-Arab youths, and linked to Middle East tensions.

Recently, for example, as 17-year-old Yeshiva student Yisrael Yiftah was heading toward a local grocery store in a northern Paris suburb, "a large man described as of North African origin sprang upon him with a knife. The man screamed, 'God is great' in Arabic and plunged the knife into Yiftah's chest," according to French press reports.

The media and government officials described the attack as anti Semitic-even though that night the same man carried out additional knife attacks against non-Jewish targets, including an Algerian man, and turned out to be psychologically disturbed.

In another incident, after alarming the French public and alerting the world to the dangers of Arab/North African-looking men and their propensity to "violent and irrational" acts, the alleged July attack on a "Jewish-looking" woman and her baby on a commuter train near Paris turned out to be sheer fabrication.

The above are examples of the "anti-Semitic crimes" reportedly on the increase in France. The French Ministry of Interior, moreover, which compiles statistics on reports of discrimination against Jews, does not categorize other acts of discrimination by the ethnicity or religion of its victims.

Yet Muslims also have been victims of racist attacks. The knife attack on Yiftah came hours after a fire was set in front of the Strasbourg home of Aziz el Alaouani, the Muslim representative of the eastern region of Alsace.

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