In France, any public mention of Muslim anti-Semitism can lead you to court. In February 2017, the scholar Georges Bensoussan was sued for "incitement to racial hatred" because he mentioned in a radio debate how vastly widespread anti-Semitism is among French Muslim families.
Now, however, two types of Muslim anti-Semitism are being highlighted by the media. These two types could be called "hard anti-Semitism" and "soft anti-Semitism".
Hard Muslim anti-Semitism is the anti-Semitism of murderers. Soft Muslim anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism of "anti-Zionists" and harrassers of various stripes.
The recently concluded trial of terrorist Abdelkader Merah is a clear and pathetic illustration of hard Muslim anti-Semitism. Abdelkader Merah is the brother of Mohamed Merah, a French Muslim extremist who murdered seven people, including three Jewish children and their teacher at a Jewish school, in Toulouse. Mohamed Merah was killed in a shoot-out with police on March 22, 2012. Abdelkader Merah, Mohamed's brother, was on trial during the past few weeks. He was accused of being a member of a terrorist organization and to have closely monitored his brother during his murder spree. Abdelkader's trial ended on November 2, 2017; he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Abdelkader's Merah's trial illustrated the atmosphere in a Muslim family where hatred for Jews was like a bond in the family culture. L'Express writes:
"A sinister little music hovers above all this tragedy: visceral anti-Semitism. In their indictment, investigating judges noted that Abdelkader Merah approved the 'chosen targets' of his brother, including 'the Jews, against whom he seemed to be angry'. In the absence of love and attention, the Merah couple indeed fed their children with the hatred of Jews."
Abdelghani Merah, Abdelkader's brother, is the only member of the family who succeeded in climbing out of his family's culture of hate: hatred of France, hatred of Jews, hatred of everyone who is not Muslim. "My mother said that Arabs are born to hate Jews" Abdelghani said on television.
Mohamed Sifaoui, journalist and director of a documentary on the Merah family, testified on Canal+ television, "I heard with my own ears, Mohamed Merah's mother saying: 'in our religion it is permitted to kill Jewish children'". Sifaoui added:
"I have heard this mother saying 'Mohamed (Merah) killed children? Never mind, in our religion the prophet encouraged the killing of Jews. Jews are our enemies'. She said this clearly, I was there listening."
Mohamed Sifaoui, journalist and director of a documentary on the Merah family, testified on Canal+ television, "I heard with my own ears, Mohamed Merah's mother saying: 'in our religion it is permitted to kill Jewish children'". (Image source: Canal+ video screenshot)
Since 2006, 14 French Jews were murdered by hardline anti-Semitic Muslims.
Soft Muslim anti-Semitism is illustrated by Tariq Ramadan's rape cases. Ramadan is an Islamic scholar, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Almost as if a continuation of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Ramadan was suddenly accused by two Muslim women of having raped them. Henda Ayari, the first woman who accused Ramadan, broke with Salafism after the January 2015 Islamist terror attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which most of its editors, writers and cartoonists were murdered. Ayari then published a book, I Chose to be Free, to tell her story and denounce Saudi Salafism as a totalitarian ideology.
In her book, Ayari wrote that she was raped, but did not name her rapist. Interviewed on Sud Radio, she said,
"I did not write this book to denounce Tariq Ramadan. This book is my story and a sharing of my journey. I wanted to give a message of hope, tell other women that you can have a false start in your life and live despite everything with will and determination..."
The Harvey Weinstein story had a considerable influence on her.
"One morning... I sat in front of my computer and told myself that I, too, wanted to 'expose my pig' -- on Twitter many women denounce sexual harassment under the hashtag #BalanceTonPorc ('ExposeYourPig'). Why do others do it and not me? I had to do it, it was stronger than me.... I wrote on Facebook the name of my attacker, and a few minutes later there were hundreds of shares and, unfortunately for me, hundreds of insults and threats. A few days later, I even regretted my gesture. I left home with the fear in my stomach telling me that I was going to be attacked in front of my house."
Immediately after Ayari filed a complaint against Ramadan, her Facebook page was harassed by thousands of Muslims who accused her to be part of a "Zionist plot" or to be a "Zionist whore".
Even Le Monde, which cannot even be suspected of being an "Islamophobic" newspaper, was in shock:
"Many commentators asked her 'how much' she was paid to attack Ramadan. Many contributors were saying that she was leading a plot to kill [Ramadan] and, through him, to murder the whole of Islam... Behind this supposed 'plot,' many commentators said they were able to see the hand of 'Zionists' or, more openly, 'Jews'. Anti-Semitism permeates some of these messages virulently..."
Naem Bestandji,a secular feminist, wrote on his blog:
"Henda Ayari is accused of financing Israeli politics by donating 5% of the sale price of her book to the association 'Europe Israel'. Fake news: Amazon is giving 5% to any website that is encouraging sales through Amazon, including on its Europe-Israel website. Fake news flourished in the Islamist sphere. Another fake news item was that Ayari was to be defended by a Jewish lawyer who was a supporter of Israel. She is accused of being a 'Zionist agent' and working with 'Mossad agents' to destroy Muslims."
Both hard and soft Muslim anti-Semitism corrode the life of thousands of Jews in France. According to the Office of Protection of the Jewish Community, in France, 335 anti-Semitic attacks were committed in 2016. One out of every three racist crimes committed in France in 2016 was against Jews -- who make up less than 1% of the population -- according to data under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior.
Some say that anti-Semitic crimes could be worse. But every Jewish school, synagogue, and Jewish institution in France is closely protected by the police and the army.
Of course, not all Muslims in France threaten or attack Jews. The overwhelming majority of the attackers, however, are Muslim. The consequence of this situation, every year, is that thousands of Jewish people are fleeing France, mainly to Israel, Canada, the UK and the US. According to Le Figaro:
"From 2012 to 2014, nearly 20,000 French Jews made their "aliyah", the Hebrew term for the "going up" to Israel. In 2015, 7,000 Jews left France for Israel, and only 5,000 in 2016, cooled by the difficulties of integrating inside the Jewish State. Figures remain high and reflect a climate of concern."
An even bigger "internal displacement" is discretely taking place inside France. French Jews are leaving their homes in the suburbs with large Muslim populations, for different homes in a safer areas -- in Paris for the wealthiest, or in a less-exposed suburb for the others.
Sammy Gozlan, president of the National Office of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, said:
"60,000 of the 350,000 Jews who live in Paris and its area have moved in the last decade. Some Jewish communities in the suburbs have been completely deserted. Synagogues in Saint-Denis, La Courneuve, Peyrefitte, Stains, Villepinte, Aulnay, Bagnolet, Blanc-Mesnil are about to close. A large number of Jews left because they felt insecure and after multiple incidents of harassment, pressure and physical assault".
Incidentally, while Abdelkader Merah's trial was underway, the memorial headstone of Ilan Halimi -- a Jew tortured to death in 2006 -- was desecrated and broken. By whom? Guess.
Yves Mamou, author and journalist, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde. Yves Mamou is finishing a book about "Collaborators and Useful Idiots of Islamism in France," to be published in 2018.