Monday, June 15, 2020

by Daled Amos

Protests against police brutality are not limited to Minnesota -- nor to the US, for that matter. This past Saturday, there was a “Justice for Adama” rally in Paris. Adama Traore was a black man who died while in police custody in Paris in 2016. His death continues to fuel protests of what is perceived as police racism and brutality, especially after the 3 officers who detained him were cleared of wrongdoing. There were multiple reviews carried out -- and the last one was just last month, on May 29, a few days after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. But just as the protests that have spread across the US have been exploited to incite antisemitism, the same happened during the Paris protest as well. And these protests are all supposed to be anti-racist. Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, tweeted a video of the protesters in Paris yelling "Dirty Jews"


Nor did the attack on Jews appear to be completely spontaneous

Back in 2004, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon urged French Jews to immediately leave France and make Aliyah to Israel in order to escape "the wildest anti-Semitism." Just how bad was it?
According to the French interior ministry, in the first 6 months of 2004 alone there were 510 attacks or threats against Jews -- compared with 593 in all of the previous year. While that number has fluctuated since then, and at times has gone down, the number went up again in 2019. The Associated Press reported in the beginning of this year on the increased number of acts last year against Jews in France:
A total of 687 anti-Semitic acts were counted in 2019, compared to 541 the previous year. The account by the interior ministry showed that 151 of the acts were of the most severe category, “actions,” meaning attacks on people or their possessions, theft or physical acts. There were 536 threats.
That is an increase of 27%. More recently, Netanyahu also called for Aliyah -- this time by European Jews in 2015, following an attack by a lone gunman on a synagogue in Copenhagen. Netanyahu went Sharon one better. His Cabinet approved a plan for $46 million to be used for encouraging immigration and helping Jews from France, Belgium and Ukraine go through the immigration process:
“Of course, Jews deserve protection in every country but we say to Jews, to our brothers and sisters: Israel is your home,” Netanyahu said. “We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe. I would like to tell all European Jews and all Jews wherever they are: Israel is the home of every Jew. … To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms.”
At the time, not only did French officials take offense at Sharon's comments, but also Jewish leaders in France said that Sharon should have stayed quiet. They likely did not appreciate being put on the spot and having attention drawn to their situation. Just as French Jews were not happy with Sharon's comment, the response to Netanyahu's offer also drew criticism. Denmark's chief rabbi responded: “Terror is not a reason to move to Israel," (?) and Great Britain's former Middle East envoy, Lord Levy, said in an interview:
Look at the incidence of terror in Israel and I think it's a gross exaggeration to say that it is the only safe place for Jews.
But if the increase in antisemitism becomes more clearly a left-wing phenomenon and not associated only with white supremacists and other right-wing groups, will attitudes to Aliyah then change? The right-wing and left-wing are viewed very differently:
Left-wing antisemitism not only continues under the radar, unchallenged, it also makes the rounds with a certain level of acceptability. We may find out just how acceptable is it as we work our way to the November elections.

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