Thursday, May 28, 2015

For French-Jewish intellectual Jacques Attali there is no antisemitism in France

The Haaretz interviewed Jacques Attali in 2009.  Six years on, Attali is still considered to be some sort of an omniscient oracle in France.
The fixer - French-Jewish intellectual Jacques Attali - once the all-powerful advisor to Francois Mitterrand - reveals how he aims to save the world.

Jacques Attali is fed up with talking about anti-Semitism in France. "There are more important things to discuss than my view on a nonexistent problem," he told me last week in an interview conducted in the headquarters of his consulting firm. Attali, an economist and a prolific writer who has a weekly column in a number of media outlets, was the most important adviser to perhaps the most important French president, Francois Mitterrand. Nowadays he is president of the world's largest nongovernmental organization (NGO) for microcredit. Attali is an Algerian-born Jew who moved to France with his family when he was 12. Next week he will take part in the Second Israeli Presidential Conference: Facing Tomorrow, in Jerusalem.

He asserts that all the talk about anti-Semitism in France is dangerous - if not altogether organized -propaganda by Israel. 

Is there no problem of anti-Semitism in France?
"Zero! None whatsoever. It's a lie. It's a pure lie. Not true. There are some well-known anti-Semites, but it is not a problem at the national level." 

There is a trend among French Jews to immigrate to Israel, and many of them say it's due to an anti-Semitic atmosphere.
"I think it is not true. I think it is propaganda, Israeli propaganda." 

But don't the numbers prove it?
"[...] For the past decade, Israelis have engaged in some kind of wishful thinking that the situation in France is a disaster and that people are immigrating to Israel. It is very dangerous propaganda, to make people believe that the situation in France is terrible. It's ridiculous! I am an example of the fact that it is not true. I came from nothing and I advanced - worldwide but also in France. France has the most modern Jewish community and the most modern Arab and Muslim community. It is absolutely crucial for there to be success in relations between Jews and Arabs in France. It's crucial to Israel and to the whole world for the two communities to get along. These relations are of strategic importance: if they cannot live in harmony here, they cannot live in harmony anywhere."  [...]

Don't you think there is a problem of anti-Semitism among the Muslim community in France?
"Absolutely not. They are absolutely adamant to avoid it, wherever and whenever. Of course they are against the Israeli policy in the territories. Of course you can't say there is no problem at all. You can always find crazy people in every part of society. But it's not a political problem; it is not growing, and in fact it does not exist. If you look at the numbers you cannot prove it." [...]

"Look," Attali interrupts, "I am not here to defend France. I am here to tell you my opinion: bullshit, peanuts, lies. This is not what you and I should be talking about. I am disappointed. We should talk about larger issues. There are more important things to discuss than my views on a nonexistent problem. You are an Israeli journalist and all your questions are about that." 

These are only some of the questions.
"But it is a problem which does not exist. I say very bluntly: I am disappointed to be talking about a caricature of France. And I am not here to defend France." 

Ilan Halimi's mother told me the reason her son was killed was because no one believed there is anti-Semitism in the suburbs.
"I respect her, and I do not want to comment on what she said in grief." More.

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