Thursday, April 23, 2015

France: Will good intentions be enough in French anti-Semitism effort?

The initiative The Jerusalem Post reports:

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Friday announced the beginning of a massive national effort to combat his country’s rising levels of anti-Semitism and immediately began garnering the plaudits of Jews worldwide. [...]

The €100 million plan includes regular monitoring of racism and anti-Semitism in order to generate data; protect Jewish and Muslim houses of worship and communal institutions; and push back against discrimination.  Criminal actions with racist motives will be punished more harshly, while hate speech will be prosecutable under criminal rather than civil law. Internet hate also will get a closer look. [...]

In a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post, Prof. Robert Wistrich, the head of Hebrew University’s Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, said that while he believes France has made good-faith efforts in the past, unless Europeans face up to the treatment of Israel in the media and the link between Muslim immigrant populations and anti-Semitism, all the efforts being made are “no more than tinkering with the surface of things.”

“You have the denial, for instance, that there is any relationship between so-called criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism but, in fact, most of what goes by the name of criticism of Israel is feeding on a daily basis the growing demonization of the Jewish state, which in turn spills over I would say almost with mathematical inevitability into some form of dislike, hostility or even loathing of Jews,” he explained.

“Governments treat the whole Muslim issue as taboo.  They won’t touch it. They will rarely ever admit that there is such a thing as Muslim anti-Semitism, for political reasons they won’t admit it.  So we have this kind of paralyzing political correctness.  It’s very difficult to even take the first step in the right direction and that’s not going to happen.”

In a survey conducted by the ADL last year, the Middle East and North Africa were determined to harbor the highest concentration of anti-Semitic sentiment globally, with 74 percent of respondents agreeing with a list negative stereotypes about Jews. With migration from North Africa to Europe, such sentiments have not been left behind.  By the same token, many of the attacks on Jews in France and across the Continent are committed by members of Middle Eastern immigrant communities such as recent shootings at Brussels’ Jewish Museum, Denmark’s Central Synagogue and Paris’s Hyper Cacher grocery. More.

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