Herein is a letter received by AMC's European Director Dr. Alan Poyner-Levison (www.amceurope.org)
in May of this year and sent out via Beit Shalom News of his Beit Shalom
Fellowship in Manchester, England (www.beitshalom.co.uk). While our attention is
riveted on Israel's present agonies, we must keep abreast of news of our people
elsewhere, as well.
This introductory paragraph was added by someone who forwarded the letter, which
appears directly below:
Once again, the real news is conveniently not being reported as it should. At
present, there is a woman who recently made Aliya from Paris with her family. I
have spoken with her about anti-Semitism in France and she confirmed that it is
very, very serious and getting worse every week. She and her family fled Paris
and came to Israel, fearing for their lives - literally. This is first hand, my
From a Jew living in ---- France.
I AM A JEW -- therefore I am forwarding this to everyone on all my e-mail
lists...I will not sit back and do nothing." Nowhere have the flames of
anti-Semitism burned more furiously than in France: In Lyon, a car was rammed
into a synagogue and set on fire.
In Montpellier, the Jewish religious center was firebombed; so were synagogues
in Strasbourg and Marseilles; so was a Jewish school in Creteil. A Jewish sports
club in Toulouse was attacked with Molotov cocktails, and on the statue of
Alfred Dreyfus in Paris, the words "Dirty Jew" were painted.
In Bondy, 15 men beat up members of a Jewish football team with sticks and metal
bars. The bus that takes Jewish children to school in Aubervilliers has been
attacked three times in the last 14 months. According to the police,
metropolitan Paris has seen 10 to 12 anti-Jewish incidents per day since Easter.
Walls in Jewish neighborhoods have been defaced with slogans proclaiming "Jews
to the gas chambers" and "Death to the Jews."
The weekly journal Le Nouvel Observateur published an appalling libel: It said
Israeli soldiers rape Palestinian women, so that their relatives will kill them
to preserve "family honor."
The French ambassador to Great Britain was not sacked -- and did not apologize
-- when it was learned that he had told guests at a London dinner that the
world's troubles were the fault of "...that shitty little country, Israel. "At
the start of the 21st century," writes Pierre-Andre Taguieff, a
well-known social scientist, in a new book, "we are discovering that Jews are
once again select targets of violence. . . Hatred of the Jews has returned to
France." But of course, it never left. Not France; not Europe.
Anti-Semitism, the oldest bigotry known to man, has been a part of European
society since time immemorial. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, open
Jew-hatred became unfashionable; but fashions change, and Europe is reverting to
To be sure, some Europeans are shocked by the re-emergence of Jew-hatred all
over their continent. But the more common reaction has been complacency. "Stop
saying that there is anti-Semitism in France," President Jacques Chirac scolded
a Jewish editor in January. "There is no anti-Semitism in France."
French Anti-Semitism: "Finally and long overdue, your people, oppressed and
disgraced by hatred and maliciousness, have achieved justice: now you enjoy full
citizen's rights, but you'll remain Jews nonetheless" (Franz Grillparzer,
1791-1872, Austrian author).
A gunman opened fire on a kosher butcher's shop (and, of course, the butcher) in
Toulouse, France; a Jewish couple in their 20s were beaten up by five men in
Villeurbanne , France. The woman was pregnant; a Jewish school was broken into
and vandalized in Sarcelles, France. This was in the past week.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, from September 9, 2000, at the start of
the Intifada, through November 20, 2001, there were some 330 acts of
anti-Semitism just in and around Paris. In addition to literally scores of
firebombing of synagogues, just before Rosh Hashanah, 200 Arabs attacked Jews on
the Champs Elysee. The pace has only picked up since then:
In December, a French cinema in Paris refused to allow a Hanukah showing of
Harry Potter to 800 Jewish children because of French-Palestinian threats (the
threats were confirmed by French police who then went on to do nothing, not even
giving details). It was one incident in an eventful month when synagogues
continued to be firebombed and a Jewish kindergarten was vandalized with
anti-Semitic graffiti and set ablaze.
We can understand anti-Semitism among the French people. There is nothing the
French love like their traditions and, on the question of hating Jews, they
certainly have tradition galore. What, however, can explain the sometimes muted,
sometimes defensively outraged reaction of French
Simple. There are approximately 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 Muslims presently living
in France and many more arrive daily. There are only about 600,000 Jews still
living in France. Moreover, France is the number one European exporter to Iraq,
totaling over two billion dollars per year in exports
since 2000. To those who are at a loss to explain why French elected officials
seem "helpless" to stem the tide of anti-Semitism, I say that something smells
awfully Vichy around here.
So I call on you, whether you are a fellow Jew, a friend, or merely a person
with the capacity and desire to distinguish decency from depravity, to do, at
least, these three simple things:
First, care enough to stay informed. Don't ever let yourself become deluded into
thinking that this is not your fight.
Second, boycott France Only the Arab countries are more toxically anti-Semitic
and, unlike them, France exports more than just oil and hatred. So boycott their
wines and their perfumes. Boycott their clothes and their foodstuffs. Boycott
their movies. Definitely boycott their shores. If we are
resolved we can exert amazing pressure and, whatever else we may know about the
French, we most certainly know that they are as a cobweb in a hurricane in the
face of well directed pressure.
Third, send this along to your family, your friends, and your co-workers. Think
of all of the people of good conscience that you know and let them know that you
and the people that you care about need their help. The number one best selling
book in France is "September 11: The Frightening Fraud," which argues that no
plane ever hit the Pentagon. Our only strength is the strength of our community
and there can be no community without communication. This is really scary stuff.
Read it very carefully and thoroughly. We cannot allow this to continue. You
MUST pass it on to as many people as you know, so we can curb this hideous
I thank you personally for taking the time to read this, and perhaps you too
will pass it on to others, so that they might know the truth about the FRENCH,
THEIR POLITICS, THEIR ANTI SEMITISM, AND THEIR ANGER AND HATRED OF US -- THE