Monday, September 12, 2016

France: "Even the ‘true’ French look at me as a Jew"

The article headline ("No future for Jews in Western Europe") is bombastic, but it comes down to the fact that Jews don't feel at home anymore.

Via Times of Israel:
The Consistoire’s focus is clearly not on appearances but content. And on this visit, the subject is truly menacing: violence and hate speech against Jews. This is the charge of Charles Baccouche, the second in command of the Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l’Antisemitisme, or, the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism.

As he speaks, he waves his arm toward the young woman who serves as a part-time administrative aide to the BNCVA. Elisheva Cohen, a married 22-year-old, prefers to use an alias for fear of her own safety. When she must go to French bureaucratic offices, she prefers to wear a wig instead of her head covering that suggests she is a religious Jew. Like Baccouche, she sees aliyah in her future.

“The danger is there if I am Orthodox or not because even the secular wear a Magen David,” she says, referring to the Star of David necklaces favored by many French Jews. “It’s a danger for everyone… I don’t feel the danger but I put a wig when I go to French offices because I feel a difference when I am with a head covering or a wig. Even the ‘true’ French look at me as a Jew.”

As for Baccouche, the BNVCA’s volunteer lieutenant president, he doesn’t wear a yarmulka or a Magen David necklace.

“I put tefillin (phylacteries) on and go to synagogue since I was young,” he says, matter of factly.

When asked why, his simple answer is “Because. It has no connection to anti-Semitism,” he says. “I feel myself as a Jew from North Africa but I decline to say what country I’m from. For me, it’s not important.

“I’m not a prophet or a prince but there is no future for Jews in all of Western Europe. Not only because of the war in the Mediterranean basin but because anti-Semitism is part of the Koran. I don’t think there is a future for Jews in France. There will be a day when all of Israel will be gathered back in our country,” Baccouche says.

Despite his negative predictions of Europe, Bacchouche says, “We are not going to our deaths. We live. Jews are more and more living amongst ourselves. There are always interactions with non-Jews but all our social interactions are with Jews, more and more. For example, ‘Elisheva’ has to remove her Jewish symbols but it’s a shame. She doesn’t bother anyone.”
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