One of the blogs that I used to follow was known as Fresno Zionism, but the Fresno Zionist made aliyah and is now writing some place within Israel under the blog title Abu Yehuda.
In reference to France's recent snub of Jewish leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, he writes:
Every once in awhile I like to point to a fellow blogger that I do not think is getting sufficient attention and Abu Yehuda is definitely among them.
This is another chapter in the long and not-so-happy relationship between France and its Jews. When Napoleon offered the Jews emancipation at the beginning of the 19th century, he made demands as well. He decreed that they could live outside of ghettos, removed other restrictions and even made Judaism one of the official religions of France (the others were Catholicism and several forms of Protestantism). In return, he expected that Jews living in France would no longer consider themselves a distinct people. They would be French in every way, Frenchmen and women who practiced Judaism.
But France didn’t live up to Napoleon’s bargain. Anti-Jewish attitudes remained, and when Alfred Dreyfus — an army officer, a French patriot who happened to be Jewish — was falsely accused of treason in 1894, most of the establishment went along with the coverup of the evidence against the real traitor, Ferdinand Esterhazy, and the trumped-up charges and draconian punishment of Dreyfus. The French ‘street’ seethed with anti-Jewish agitation as well. Indeed, the Dreyfus affair was a major motivation for Theodor Herzl’s position that Europe’s Jewish problem would not be solved within its borders.
One thing that we both agree upon is the fact that European Jews, particularly French Jews, need to make aliyah if they can. This may sound hypocritical coming from an American Jew in California who has no intention of making aliyah any time soon. The fact is, however, at least for the moment, American Jews and Canadian Jews and, for the most part, Australian Jews are fine. It is European Jewry that we worry about.
I actually worry more about European Jewry than I do about Israeli Jewry, because the latter has steel in its spine.
Middle Eastern Jewry, outside of Israel, is virtually non-existent. There was a time when Middle Eastern Jewry thrived. There was a time when Cairo and Damascus and Baghdad bustled with vibrant Jewish communities, but those days are long gone.
The Arabs chased the Jews from their homes in the Middle East during and after World War II and are now doing precisely the same thing in Europe.
There was, in fact, a terrible pogrom in Baghdad in 1941 which saw Arabs murder 180 Jews after the collapse of the pro-Nazi Iraqi government that year. Prolific author Edwin Black has written a very interesting book on the subject entitled, The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust.
Black is one scholar among others pursuing the connection between Nazi ideology and contemporary Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism. Scholars conducting similar research include Paul Berman (Terror and Liberalism, 2003 and The Flight of the Intellectuals, 2010), Matthias Küntzel (Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, 2007), and Jeffrey Herf (Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 2009).
The point, however, is that the places where Jews are allowed to live as Jews continues to narrow and France is not among them.
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity was a very nice slogan, but it has failed because the French refused to instill European values into their immigrant communities out of respect for the multicultural ideal.
The multicultural ideal, needless to say, is a European value that, due its inherent nature, must conflict with other European values, such as the values of social justice and social harmony.
It is for this reason, or so I suspect, that the French, today, would not know liberty, equality, or fraternity if the three of them urinated on its leg simultaneously while singing "Hatikvah."
Abu Yehuda writes:
The recent anti-Jewish violence — the kidnapping, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi, the mob attacks on synagogues, the rape of a woman in her home who was told it was because she was Jewish, the murders at the Jewish school in Toulouse, yesterday’s killing of four Jews at a kosher market, and perhaps most of all, the daily degradation of Jews who are afraid to wear kippot or walk to synagogues, who are cursed, struck and spat on in the streets — has convinced French Jews that the Republic can not or will not protect them.We have just witnessed one of the most ridiculous farces in contemporary European history.
Hollande apparently is insulted by the fact that they don’t trust the state and him personally, so much so that they appeal to the leader of the Jewish state (Netanyahu was met with cheers (video) when he entered the synagogue) for help and perhaps to provide them with a place of refuge. In addition, he is probably worried about France losing its Jews and the intellectual and financial capital that they represent.
After a series of brutal and related Jihadi murders at a satirical publishing house and a kosher grocery store in Paris, French President Hollande decides to hold a march in opposition to terrorism. Good for him. So, what does he do? He invites one of the world's premier terrorists to attend after requesting that the Jewish representative, Prime Minister Netanyahu, not attend.
I do not know why Netanyahu refused Hollande's request to stay away. It might be because of political rivalries - as Bennett and Lieberman announced their intentions to show - or it might be that it dawned on him that as the Prime Minister of Israel he also represents world Jewry. And, apparently, after Netanyahu announced his intention to come, Hollande - as a matter of balance! - felt the political need to invite a Holocaust denier who raised funds for the Munich Olympic Massacre of 1972 and who is currently in the tenth year of his elected four year term.
Are we to understand that Hollande considers Netanyahu to be on the same moral plain as Mahmoud Abbas? I think that we are. Are we, therefore, not also expected to believe that Hollande thinks that Israel is, herself, on the same moral plain as her Jihadi enemies, such as the head-choppers in the Islamic State? I think that we are, as well. (More or less.)
Islamic terrorism, however, is largely focused on Jews and represents the spear-point of political Islam.
They may love the West, in general, but they have a particular fondness for us.
Does Hollande not understand this?
Does Europe not understand this?
You cannot hold an anti-terrorism rally wherein you invite terrorists to join you in condemning terrorism.
Furthermore, opposing terrorism is only meaningful if one means the rising movement for political Islam (or radical Islam or Islamfascism) or whatever terminology one prefers. You cannot fight some amorphous thing known as "terrorism," but what you can do is oppose a political movement.
Just as Democrats oppose Republicans in the United States, so western liberals must oppose political Islam... except, perhaps, in somewhat more strenuous terms.
The march in Paris was a hypocritical farce because the west is tied up in moral knots about Islam.
What we must make clear is that the enemy is not Muslims. In fact, the primary victims of political Islam are Muslims. The enemy is a prominent political movement throughout the Middle East, derived from the Muslim Brotherhood in 1920s Cairo and from earlier trends within the faith. The Brotherhood, however, is the father organization of any number of groups operating throughout the world, including both Hamas and Qaeda, if not the Islamic State, itself.
We may not want to take the fight to the enemy, but there is no question that the enemy is taking the fight to us.
Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.