Wednesday, January 14, 2015

  • Wednesday, January 14, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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Paris, January 14 - French government officials making declarations to the effect that the French Republic remains and will always be a place where Jews can feel at home have been unable to complete those statements this week without bursting into laughter.

Following the captivity and slaughter of four French Jews last Friday, and a series of antisemitic attacks over the last several years, the Parisian government has been keen to maintain some sense of security for the country's 500,000 Jews. The attacks, however, have taken place despite surveillance of the perpetrators by the authorities, and in an atmosphere of increased vitriol and violent intimidation by French Muslims. The reality of the situation now forces officials to struggle mightily to maintain composure when trying to assure Jews and their supporters that they have a future in France as individuals and a community.

Nearly 40% of French officials addressing the issue and reiterating the government's commitment to Jewish safety have managed to get through their prepared statements with little more than a smirk and a stifled snort, but almost 20% have been unable to complete their first two sentences without working so hard not to laugh that tears run from their eyes. The other 40% apparently expended no effort at all to suppress laughter at both the pointlessness of that commitment and the at very notion that France actually cares.

"We've had people breaking down right there at the podium," acknowledges Prime Minister Manuel Vall. "It's a serious challenge to keep a straight face when you know there's absolutely no way this country is going to do anything but try to assuage its guilt over Nazi collaboration by subtly and not-so-subtly treating Jews and Israel as deserving of whatever mistreatment befalls them."

Vall noted the absurdity of claiming that safety and security for Jews is - or ever was - a French priority while the French government does whatever possible to undermine security for Jews in Israel and to empower Israel's enemies. "It's a joke to claim we want Jews to feel safe when we endorse a movement dedicated to destroying the one place you'd think Jews should never have to worry about feeling secure," he explained, referring to France's recent recognition of a Palestinian state. "I myself had difficulty keeping from cracking up as our government invited Palestinian President Abbas to Sunday's demonstration against terrorism. And I only managed to do so because of special breathing exercises I've been practicing."

Other officials have not been as fortunate, or prescient, as to have such exercises at their disposal, leading to embarrassing and dismaying encounters between those officials and Jews. The mayor of Toulouse, where several Jews, including children, were killed in a shooting attack several years ago, had to leave the room rather than force himself not to laugh while promising that he would keep Jews and their institutions protected.

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