On December 3, the French National Assembly passed a resolution adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism. MP Meyer Habib, who supported the resolution, delivered a passionate and poignant speech, highlighting the extent of the anti-Semitic threat in today's France, and the close links between hatred of the Jews and hatred toward Israel. Pictured: France's National Assembly in Paris. (Image source: Daniel Vorndran/DXR/Wikimedia Commons)
On December 3, the French National Assembly passed a resolution adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism. The resolution stressed that the definition "encompasses manifestations of hatred toward the State of Israel justified solely by the perception of the latter as a Jewish collective." MP Meyer Habib, who supported the resolution, delivered a passionate and poignant speech, highlighting the extent of the anti-Semitic threat in today's France, and the close links between hatred of the Jews and hatred toward Israel:
"Since 2006, twelve French people have been murdered in France because they were Jewish. Although Jews represent less than one percent of the population, half of the racist acts committed in France are committed against Jews. Anti-Zionism is an obsessive demonization of Israel and an abuse of anti-racist and anti-colonial rhetoric to deprive the Jews of their identity."
He added that getting the votes to pass the resolution was extremely difficult because of a general lack of "political courage" -- sadly, a quality often absent in France when it comes to anti-Semitism and Israel.
French political leaders often declare that fighting against anti-Semitism is of utmost importance; they say it every time a Jew is murdered in the country. The only anti-Semitism they seem ready to fight, however, is right-wing anti-Semitism. They seemingly refuse to see that all the Jews killed or assaulted in France since 2006 were victims of Muslim anti-Semites -- and French political leaders never utter a word about it. They appear to hide Islamic anti-Semitism -- embedded in the Qur'an and Hadiths and reinforced in the 1930s by the Nazis' friendship with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini -- under a Muslim hatred of the Jews based on a supposedly "legitimate" Muslim hatred of 'Zionist crimes'".
French political leaders also seemingly refuse to see another form of anti-Semitism that is on the rise: leftist anti-Semitism. It is precisely this leftist anti-Semitism that uses the mask of anti-Zionism to spread anti-Jewish hatred.
French political leaders also never speak about the way the French mainstream media talk about Israel, or about the consequences of those articles and reports. They constantly -- and falsely -- describe Israel as an evil country whose soldiers cavalierly kill Arabs on a daily basis and whose citizens "illegally occupy" territories (despite having been there for more than 3,000 years) that might belong to another people whom they cruelly deprive of everything.
French political leaders do not criticize anti-Israel articles and reports: the way most of them talk about Israel is just as anti-Israel as the worst anti-Israel articles. The government itself does no better. When Israeli Jews are murdered in a terrorist attack, the French government publishes a statement "deploring" the attack and urging Israel to "show restraint" and avoid "starting a cycle of violence". When an attack takes place in the eastern part of Jerusalem or in the West Bank, the statement mentions that "East Jerusalem" and the West Bank are "Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel". It is a way of saying that Jews should not be there, that the victims are the guilty party, and that those who attack them had good reason to do so.
November 12, when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Jewish communities in the disputed territories do not contravene international law, the French government immediately issued a statement saying that "the Israeli policy of colonization in the Palestinian occupied territories is illegal under international law, in particular international humanitarian law".
This reaction is in line with the positions taken by the French government in recent years: when US President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy there, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the move was a "serious mistake" and stressed that the French embassy would remain in the make-believe capital of Israel, Tel Aviv. An official statement added that France is "the friend of Palestine" and supports "the creation of a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital". France does not recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel's territory: the French consulate in Jerusalem is described in French official documents as "the French Consulate in Jerusalem"; the word "Israel" is omitted. When French citizens residing in Israel vote, the votes of those in Jerusalem are counted separately from the votes of those elsewhere in Israel.
At the Institute of the Arab World, funded by the French government and Arab countries, opened its doors in the center of Paris in 1987, the conferences and exhibitions are often imbued with anti-Israeli hatred. Currently, at an exhibition called "AlUla, marvel of Arabia", visitors can see a map where the entire land of Israel is covered with the words "Palestinian territories". When Jewish organizations protested, the word, Israel was finally added next to "Palestinian territories".
Almost all the murders of Jews in France were not only committed by Muslim anti-Semites, but by Muslims unjustly identifying French Jews with "criminal Israel". Mohamed Merah, who murdered Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse, told a police officer that he killed Jewish children because "the Jews kill Palestinian children" and that he saw "many reports on French TV showing it". What he said did not prompt the French government to ask French television stations to be more careful to avoid whatever could be regarded as incitement to hatred and murder.
At the moment, Meyer Habib is nearly the only French MP denouncing anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, anti-Israeli bias in the French media and the anti-Israel positions of the French government and many politicians. He often receives anti-Semitic death threats; his family and he need to live under around-the-clock police protection. He represents French citizens living abroad -- in Israel, Italy and Turkey; he could not be elected anywhere on French territory.
Habib has also said that the December 3 resolution is just a resolution. Only a minority of MPs voted in favor of it. The only reason it was passed at all is that many MPs chose to abstain. Several voted against it and once again announced that they were proudly "anti-Zionist". Either way, the resolution will not become a law and has no consequences.
The French media, political leaders and government will almost certainly not change their hostile positions regarding Israel. No French political leader supports Meyer Habib or dares to disagree with the French government's statements regarding Israel, except to say that the French government is still too pro-Israel.
As a demographic change is rapidly taking place in France, the country's media, political leaders and government are behaving accordingly. Jews have become a shrinking part of the population -- 0.6 % -- and carry no political weight. The French Muslim population is quickly growing -- to more than 12% of the total. It has become virtually impossible to win an election in France without now counting on the Muslim vote.
The few people who still criticize Islam and Muslim anti-Semitism in France are mercilessly harassed by Islamic organizations and even more harshly condemned by the courts. A few days ago, on December 4, a prosecutor asked the court to sentence Christine Tasin, president of the anti-Islamic movement Republican Resistance. In June 2017, she wrote an article containing the statements: "Anti-Muslim acts of anger are inevitable in the short or medium term in all European countries, including France, which are undergoing a Muslim invasion" and "Islam may be incompatible with Western civilization". Tasin was accused by the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) of inciting "anti-Muslim terrorism". The CCIF, is an organization created by Muslims of France, the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The prosecutor said that the charge pressed by the CCIF was "perfectly valid", and that Tasin "needs a lesson". She could be the first person in France to be sent to prison for the "crime" of "Islamophobia".
Many participants at the Islamic and leftist demonstration against "Islamophobia" in Paris on November 10 shouted explicitly anti-Zionist slogans, such as "Israel Assassin" and "Palestine shall win". Several demonstrators carried Palestinian and Hamas flags. By contrast, a demonstration a week later, denouncing Islamic terrorism, brought together fewer than 2,000 participants.
On October 30 in Paris, when President Macron inaugurated the European Center for Judaism, he named all the Jews recently murdered in France. He did not, however, name the murderers. He merely denounced the "foul beast", an expression created by Bertolt Brecht and now often used in France to incriminate Nazi sympathizers. He mentioned threats posed by "those who want to sow hatred and division " and expressed his support for the Muslims wounded in a failed attack on the mosque in Bayonne, in southwest France. He spoke positively of a time when a large part of Spain was Muslim, and said that there, in Andalusia, "the Jews, despite their dhimmi status, developed an extraordinary culture".
The author Barbara Lefebvre saw in these words a eulogy for Jews -- an acceptance of dhimmitude [being ruled under Islam as a third-class "tolerated" citizen, sometimes paying a "protection" tax] and of the submission that comes with it. She wrote that "summoning the brown plague and the dark hours of our history to evoke the threat faced by the Jews living in France is a historic, memorial and political insult", and that Macron's speech paved the way for condemning the French Jews to "move out of the country or lock themselves in a community bubble, like dhimmis in the land of Islam".
In Europe, France is no exception. Anti-Semitism is advancing throughout the continent and often has a Middle Eastern cast. Yet, the authorities talk only about "right-wing anti-Semitism".
In Germany, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution conducted a study analyzing Muslim attacks perpetrated against the Jews there in 2017 -- but it explicitly refused to say that these attacks were anti-Semitic, and instead attributed them to "religious and cultural beliefs that Muslim immigrants bring with them" to Germany.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas added, as if it were an excuse, that Muslims arriving in Germany "come from countries in which the powerful incite hatred toward Jews and Israel". A study conducted in the United Kingdom by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research showed that anti-Semitism is far more prevalent among British Muslims than among other citizens of the country -- but the study was reported only in the British Jewish press.
Leftist anti-Semitism is present all over Europe. Its followers, as in France, do their best to hide and protect Middle Eastern anti-Semitism.
In the United Kingdom, anti-Semites entered the Labor Party through the Left. The leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, was recently accused by Britain's chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of "anti-Jewish racism".
Most major European media are as anti-Israel as the major French media. In July, Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, described an article published by the magazine Spiegel as using "anti-Semitic clichés" to vilify Israel. It is not the only article of its kind in the German press. Shuli Davidovich, an Israeli press attaché in London, said a decade ago:
"Definitely some papers never give any credit to Israel ... for some people especially in such papers as the Guardian, the human face of the Israeli does not exist. It's always the helmet, the rifle, the aggressor, the occupier."
Today, nothing has changed. The Guardian often publishes articles supporting the economic and cultural boycott of Israel. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a commentator, noted the growing abundance of anti-Semitic cartoons that now accompany anti-Israeli articles in the European press. Anti-Semitic cartoons, he pointed out, abound in Norway -- a country with only 700 Jews. Many cartoons, he said, depict Jews as "parasites", exactly as in the Muslim countries' press.
Most of Europe's political leaders are as hostile to Israel as France's political leaders are. The European Union stubbornly defends the idea that Israel must return to the 1949 armistice line, often referred to as the "1967 borders". The EU claims that Israel illegally occupies "Palestinian territories". Every time Federica Mogherini, Vice President of the European Commission until last month, speaks about the Middle East, she describes Israel as an "occupying power". Her successor, Josep Borrell, advocates for unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood. "Iran wants to wipe out Israel," he has said; "nothing new about that. You have to live with it". Nine of the 28 member States of the European Union -- Sweden, Cyprus, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania -- recognize a "state of Palestine" but ignore that the Palestinian Authority has never renounced its plan to obliterate Israel and take its place, nor stopped committing acts of terrorism.
The demographic transformation happening in France is also spreading throughout Western Europe, and the growing submission to Islam is being silently accepted by the ruling authorities almost everywhere. Political parties opposed to Islamization are pushed to the margins. Some Central European leaders – Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Poland and President Miloš Zeman in the Czech Republic -- are the only ones explicitly to reject the Islamization of their countries and take measures to curb Muslim immigration. They are often condemned by Western European leaders who want to force them to welcome immigrants by the thousands.
Reports show, not surprisingly, that the rise in the number of Muslim immigrants has led to an even broader rise in anti-Semitism.
In 2018, the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency surveyed Jews in the 12 European countries with the largest Jewish populations. The report concluded that "28% experienced some form of harassment for being Jewish", "47% worry about anti-Semitic verbal insult or harassment and 40% about physical attack", "38% have considered emigrating in the past five years over safety fears".
Another study, undertaken by Germany's University of Bielefeld in 2011, showed that 40% of European adults agreed with the statement, "Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis behaved toward the Jews."
In an article named "Judenrein Europe", the American political commentator Joel Kotkin wrote that all available data show that anti-Jewish hatred and anti-Israel prejudices will continue to spread throughout all Europe, and that it could mean the end of Jewish presence on the continent:
"For millennia, following the destruction of the Second Temple and the beginning of the diaspora, Europe was home to the majority of the world's Jews. That chapter of history is over. As Jews continue fleeing the continent, by the end of this century all that's left will be a Jewish graveyard".
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.