Anti-Semitism in Europe: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2016 — This week France will mark the first anniversary of a double terrorist attack that targeted the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and the Hyper Cacher, a kosher grocery store.
France: A Country, and Party, Shaken to its Core: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Dec. 31, 2015 — The French President’s traditional New Year’s Eve address to the country will be anything but festive this year.
The Real Danger: Dr. Ephraim Herrera, Israel Hayom, Jan. 5, 2016— British Prime Minister David Cameron recently wrote that "aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology and activities … run counter to British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, equality and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs."
Why the Jews Left their Arab Lands: David Bensoussan, Asia Times, Dec. 11, 2013 — There has been a Jewish presence in Arab-Muslim countries since well before Islam was introduced and it dates back to before the 6th century before the current era.
European Anti-Semitism Likely to Grow in 2016: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2016
Should Israel Prefer French Socialists or the National Front?: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 22, 2015
Year After Attack, France’s Jews Learn to Live Under Armed Guard: Benoît Fauchet, Times of Israel, Jan. 5, 2015
Paris’s Eerily Familiar 1930s Immigrant Problem: Daniel Pipes, National Post, Jan. 3, 2016
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2016
This week France will mark the first anniversary of a double terrorist attack that targeted the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and the Hyper Cacher, a kosher grocery store. Yet, while the two attacks took place within just two days and while the fanatics who carried out the respective massacres shared the same nihilistic Islamist ideology, responses in France and around the world to the two attacks have been strikingly different.
The assassination of editors, writers and artists of the satirical magazine awakened French pride in their robust freedom of speech – which includes the right to lampoon the sacred. However, precious little attention was paid to the dangers of Jew hatred fueling the wholesale murder of random shoppers whose only crime was being identified with Judaism.
In a special edition of the magazine marking the anniversary, editor-in-chief Gerard Biard made this point, noting that the murder of Jews simply because they are Jews has not been given the public attention it deserves. “We are so used to Jews being killed because they are Jewish,” Biard wrote, according to an AP report. “This is an error, and not just on a human level. Because it’s the executioner who decides who is Jewish.” Biard went on to say that the Paris terrorist attack of nearly two months ago on November 13 that left 130 dead was proof that “the executioner…had decided we were all Jewish.”
History has shown that, in times of crisis, Jews are often the first victims of discrimination or censure – or in extreme situations murderous violence. They are the canary in the coal mine that is uniquely susceptible to societal changes for the worse. But Jews are rarely the only victims. As a friend of Holocaust survivor and historian Victor Klemperer put it to him at a very dark time, the Jews have been both condemned and privileged to be “seismic people” – hyper sensitive to the vicissitudes of the human condition. This is the Jewish people’s lot, it can be no other way.
Numerous, often contradictory, justifications have been given over the ages. Religious Jews are hated for rejecting Christianity or adopting practices like kosher slaughter and circumcision. Secular Jews are accused, meanwhile, of being godless communists or purveyors of dangerous ideas. When Jews lacked a homeland they were ridiculed for their rootless cosmopolitanism. Now that they have a land of their own, Jews are said to be fascists and occupiers and warmongers. Whatever the stated reason, the existence of strong anti-Semitic sentiments in a particular country reveals more about that country than it does about the Jews against whom anti-Semitic violence is directed. Inevitably, this anti-Semitism metastasizes to other forms of violence, as has been the case in France.
France and other countries throughout Europe are facing major challenges. The Euro crisis has sparked another bout of skepticism about the entire European Union project, which has led to the rise of right-wing parties in a number of northern European countries, including France. Further buoying this right-wing surge are the waves of refugees from Syria, Libya and other Muslim countries pouring into Europe who are seen by many Europeans as a threat to their socioeconomic stability and culture.
While it is true that the vast majority of anti-Semitic attacks are associated with Europe’s Muslim population, it is difficult to imagine far-right political parties, some of which with neo-Nazi or fascist roots, seriously and aggressively combating Muslim Jew-hatred.
Unfortunately, as The Jerusalem Post’s Jewish world correspondent Sam Sokol pointed out in an analysis this week, European nations currently lack systematic methods of collecting data on anti-Semitism. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) noted in 2013 that this state of affairs was contributing to “gross underreporting of the nature and characteristics of anti-Semitic incidents that occur.”
Europeans have a moral obligation to take violent anti-Semitism seriously. An important first step should be to develop systematic methods for measuring the phenomenon. There is no better time for this than now, as millions commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks.
Globe & Mail, Dec. 31, 2015
The French President’s traditional New Year’s Eve address to the country will be anything but festive this year. It has been an annus horribilis in France. Two terrorist attacks that rocked the republic in 2015 continue to shake the country to its core. Nothing is as it was.
That includes the government of President François Hollande. A Socialist whose party has traditionally stood for republican values of equality, Mr. Hollande has turned into a national security hawk preaching safety over civil rights. Hanging heavily over his televised remarks from the Élysée Palace will be the constitutional reform package he tabled two days before Christmas that would allow the state to strip French citizenship from native-born dual nationals convicted of terrorism. It has pre-empted any chance of a holiday reprieve from acrid political debate.
It is a debate somewhat familiar to Canadians, who will recall controversial changes to the law made by former prime minister Stephen Harper’s government that empowered the immigration minister to revoke the Canadian passport of dual citizens convicted of terrorism. In September, the Tories moved to invoke the new power against a member of the so-called Toronto 18, who plotted terrorist attacks in 2006, prompting then-Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to stake his ground: “You devalue the citizenship of every Canadian in this place and in this country when you break down and make it conditional for anybody.” Now, Prime Minister Trudeau has vowed to repeal the provision.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls mustn’t have received the memo. In posting on Facebook on Monday to defend his Socialist government’s plan, Mr. Valls cited Canada as one of the democratic countries “close to France” that can revoke the citizenship of dual nationals convicted of terrorism, provided such persons are not left stateless in contravention of international law.
The debate about revoking the citizenship of convicted terrorists has heated up almost everywhere in the West with most countries – including Australia just this month – taking a hard line against dual nationals who have travelled to Syria or Iraq to join the Islamic State and who would attack their home country in the name of radical Islam. But the debate has a particular resonance in France, where, until recently, Mr. Hollande and Mr. Valls stood steadfastly on the other side.
For the French left, the idea of stripping any French citizen of his or her passport is a violation of republican principles and reminiscent of the worst abuses of the Vichy regime that ruled parts of the country during the Nazi occupation. The Vichy government revoked the French citizenship of, among others, Algerian Jews and members of the resistance, including Charles de Gaulle.
Until now, the law has provided for the revocation of the French citizenship of immigrants who have been naturalized for less than 15 years who commit crimes contravening the “fundamental interests of the nation.” But the provision has strict limits and has not been invoked in years. When former centre-right president Nicolas Sarkozy tried to toughen the law in 2010, Mr. Hollande balked.
Back then, Mr. Hollande co-signed a letter in the left-leaning Libération newspaper calling Mr. Sarkozy’s proposal an “infringement of the constituting principles” of the republic, including the “decent and equal treatment of all.” One his co-signatories was Stéphane Charbonnier, the irreverent Charlie Hebdo cartoonist killed by French-born radicalized Muslims last January.
If the tables have turned it is because Mr. Hollande, the most unpopular president in the history of the Fifth Republic, is scrambling to respond to a sharp rightward shift in public opinion. Surveys show more than 80 per cent of French voters support the hard-line approach, amid reports that 1,000 French citizens have gone to join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, while an estimated 250 have returned home.
Mr. Hollande’s proposal to strip dual nationals convicted of terrorism of their citizenship goes further than anything considered before in that it would apply to those born in France, not just naturalized citizens, and would be included in the French constitution, shielding it from legal challenges. But if public opinion seems largely on side, the move threatens to tear his Socialist Party apart. In the past week, many party officials and Socialist politicians have denounced Mr. Hollande and Mr. Valls as traitors.
Mr. Hollande’s moves have delighted one politician, however. National Front Leader Marine Le Pen tweeted that his reforms are “the first effect of the 6.8 million votes” her anti-immigration party won in this month’s regional elections.
Dr. Ephraim Herrera
Israel Hayom, Jan. 5, 2016
British Prime Minister David Cameron recently wrote that "aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology and activities … run counter to British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, equality and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs." He described the movement as fertile ground for growing violence and, based on research he commissioned, determined that membership in the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered a possible indicator of extremism.
Among the assertions raised by Cameron, his staunch opposition to Muslim Brotherhood members who support Palestinian sister group Hamas sticks out. This is a very important point that stands to benefit Israel: A Western leader views support for the Muslim Brotherhood's violence against Israel as evidence of the group's extremism.
The research upon which Cameron based his statements mentions the goal of some of the movement's members to turn Britain into an Islamic state. But it does not manage to prove that this is an official goal of the group as a whole. Really? As early as 2007, Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi declared: "The conquest of Rome — the conquest of Italy, and Europe — means that Islam will return to Europe once again. Must this conquest necessarily be though war? No. There is such a thing as peaceful conquest [through proselytizing]."
In an interview with a Norwegian journalist in 2011, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt until 2010, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, said, "The Muslim Brotherhood's dream is to form a total Islamic state." Pressed for more details on this goal, he responded, "We Muslims are currently scattered all over. There is still a long way to go before we are able to take control in Europe."
Ahmed Jaballah, head of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and is also recognized by local authorities, has said that the union "is a two-stage rocket. The first stage is democratic; the second will put an Islamic society into orbit."
The hidden danger for Europe is less the terrorist attacks, which do not significantly alter the foundations of a society, and more this Muslim Brotherhood plan — which, for now, does not include violence or explicit threats. This plan for the occupation of Europe will succeed via the fertility rate among Muslim women, which is much higher than that of European women; through record-breaking immigration; and through calls to join Islam.
In addition to this, there is the orthodox Islamic education of the young generation, which is more religious than previous ones and is, for the most part, unwilling to accept the values of its host societies. There is also the issue of Islamic law creeping into society's daily life: Popular French fast-food chain Quick has recently decided to serve only halal meat at all its locations.
In both Israel and Europe, the only way to stop the vision of Islamic political takeover of the world from coming to be is to address the root of the problem and to outlaw Muslim education that preaches Islamic conquest — not just that which preaches Islamic violence.
Asia Times, Dec. 11, 2013
There has been a Jewish presence in Arab-Muslim countries since well before Islam was introduced and it dates back to before the 6th century before the current era. These communities have disappeared or are in the process of disappearing in the majority of Arab-Muslim countries. In fact, 865,000 Jews found themselves excluded in the very countries they were born in and felt that they had to leave.
Non-Muslim minorities in Muslim countries have the status of dhimmi, which means "tolerated" or "protected". This flows from the assertion that Jewish and Christian scripture was distorted by their unworthy depositories. It is legislated under the Pact of Umar which was amended several times with the addition of other discriminatory measures.
A dhimmi is in an inferior position within Muslim society: they have special taxes, wear recognizable clothing, are the subject of humiliating measures, and do not have legal status when they are involved in a legal matter involving Muslims. Shi'ite Islam considers Jews to be a source of impurity. While the conditions of Jews have differed between countries, some features overlap for Jews in Morocco, and in the Ottoman and Persian Empires.
In the 19th century, several travellers, consuls and educators, sent out by the Alliance Israelite Universelle, sent back alarming reports on the situation of Jews, including the following: daily humiliation, objects of scorn, submissive to the point of atrophy, constant insecurity, abductions, densely populated Jewish quarters, dramatic impoverishment and seriously unsanitary living conditions. They described nightmarish fanaticism on the one hand and resignation on the other.
The difficult circumstances of Jews, who made up 0.5% to 3% of the population, depending on the country, was also raised by Muslim chroniclers. Jews automatically became the scapegoats whenever there was political instability, a military defeat or difficult economic conditions, as well as drought. Massacres and plundering happened on a regular basis.
Generally speaking, the rulers were benevolent to a certain degree – of course there were exceptions – and their decisions were not always applied accordingly. For example, the decree agreed to in 1864 by the Moroccan ruler and the philanthropist, Moses Montefiore, on the cessation of mistreatment of Jews, never actually changed anything.
Jews were accused of ritual murder in Damascus in 1840 and in Cairo in 1902. In the Ottoman Empire, there were reforms that ended the mandatory wearing of distinctive clothing and the special tax on non-Muslims, but once again, in the more remote areas of the Empire, this was never enforced.
Being on the fringes of the 19th century expansion of Europe, many Jews sought consular protection, and the parameters were set down at international conferences in Tangier, Madrid, Lausanne, and so on. Algerian Jews obtained the right to French nationality in 1870, Tunisian Jews obtained it at their request in 1923 and Moroccan Jews maintained their status of dhimmi when Morocco became a protectorate.
A large number of Jews acquired Egyptian nationality but this was quietly withdrawn in 1940 which left about a quarter of Jews without a nationality. In Yemen, Sharia law was applied in 1948 and Jewish orphans were taken in order to be converted to Islam, a practice that had been in use since 1922.
It should be pointed out that improved legal status for Jews did not always translate into improved lives, because mentalities do not evolve as quickly as one might hope. Overall, the Westernization of Jews in countries where the majority is Muslim preceded that of Muslims by more than one generation because of, among other reasons, the reach of the school network of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.
Under the colonial regime, Jews were finally able to live outside the Jewish quarter, the mellah or hara, and they no longer had to wear distinctive clothing. Many Muslims saw this as changing the Jewish status that they felt had been carved in stone by Islamic law. The tradition of prosecuting Jews during difficult domestic times, as well as the resentment against colonial power and the emancipation of Jews, were all key factors in triggering anti-Jewish actions, as happened in Fez in 1912, in Cairo in 1945, and so on.
In order to avoid antagonizing the Muslim majority and even the anti-Semitic European colonists, the colonial authorities often turned a blind eye to the abuse of Jews, for example in Baghdad in 1941. No doubt Jews were considering leaving their country if they could not achieve equal rights. During the Second World War, a pro-Nazi regime came to power in Iraq and the sweeping pogrom, the Farhoud, was carried out in 1941. The Mufti in Jerusalem was the self-appointed voice of Nazi propaganda and he encouraged Bosnia Muslims to join the Waffen SS. As well, Jews in Libya were sent to death camps in Europe and a number in Jews in Tunisia were made to do forced labor.
After the war, there was growing insecurity in eastern Jewish communities. There had been a pogrom in Libya in 1945, anti-British and anti-Semitic riots within the same year in Egypt, in Syria, Yemen and Aden in 1947, and Jews were excluded from the Syrian and Lebanese administrations in 1947. The political committee of the Arab League, made up of seven countries, proposed in 1947, well before Israel's independence, that the assets of Jews be frozen.
Israel's independence and their surprise victory over invading Arab armies was a miracle in the eyes of Jews. Pressure was put on Jews who were told to prove their loyalty by opposing the Jewish state and the Arab press was full of invective against Israel and Jews. People left in a panic for Israel from several countries despite threats to destroy the newly formed state.
There were multiple anti-Jewish measures: non-renewal of professional licenses in Iraq, a prohibition on leaving Iraq in 1948 and Yemen in 1949, the withdrawal of Egyptian nationality from Jews, who then became stateless in the 1950s, and the withdrawal of the right to vote for Jews in Libya in 1951.
Add to that the pogroms in Djerada, in Morocco in 1948, in Damascus and Aleppo in 1948, in Benghazi and Tripoli in 1948, in Bahrain in 1949, in Egypt in 1952, and in Libya and Tunisia in 1967. There were arrests and expulsions in Egypt in 1956, economic strangulation by spoliation in Iraq in 1951, in Syria in 1949, in Libya in 1970, or by exclusion in Syria and Lebanon in 1947, in Libya in 1958, in Iran in 2000, or by allowing Egyptian business only in Egypt in 1961.
Jewish heritage was destroyed in Oran in 1961 and in Libya in 1969 and 1978, there was police abuse and abductions of young girls with forced conversions in Morocco from 1961 to 1962, Jews were kidnapped in Lebanon in 1967, there were public hangings in Baghdad in 1969, anti-Semitic cliches were used in the Arab press, and campaigns were used to increase anti-Jewish sentiment and incite hatred, using Zionism as an excuse. After the Six-Day War, this rhetoric increased considerably…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
N.B.: Sunday, Jan. 10, 12:30pm, CIJR presents a special screening of the film The Silent Exodus at Concordia University in Montreal. The film recounts the history of the Jews expelled from the Arab world after 1946. Prof. David Bensoussan, a CIJR Academic Fellow, will give a talk at the screening.
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
European Anti-Semitism Likely to Grow in 2016: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2016—There are very few sure bets in life and even fewer guarantees. But we can always count on the ever reliable triumvirate of death, taxes and anti-Semitism.
Should Israel Prefer French Socialists or the National Front?: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 22, 2015—The recent regional elections in France have once again confirmed that the right wing Front National (FN) has become a major force in the country’s politics.
Year After Attack, France’s Jews Learn to Live Under Armed Guard: Benoît Fauchet, Times of Israel, Jan. 5, 2015—Ever since a jihadist attack on a kosher store left four people dead a year ago, France’s Jews have grown used to soldiers patrolling their neighborhoods and schools.
Paris’s Eerily Familiar 1930s Immigrant Problem: Daniel Pipes, National Post, Jan. 3, 2016 —The world’s most prolific author, the Belgian writer Georges Simenon, published a mock memoir in 1951, Les Mémoires de Maigret (English: Maigret’s Memoirs), which featured the ostensible recollections of his fictional character, Inspector Maigret. The sixth chapter, titled in the English translation “One Staircase after Another!” (and brought to my attention by C. Paul Barreira) describes the pro-fascist uprising in Paris on February 6, 1934. It reminds one eerily of today’s North African immigration and Islamist alienation.