Tuesday, March 3, 2015

France: On the Road to Criminalising Anti-Zionism? 2

Continued from the previous post:

"If we can say that the horrible actions of Islamic State are a perversion of the beliefs of the vast majority of the world's Muslims, can we also not say that Zionism is a perversion of Judaism? CRIF insists that the Paris attacks be labeled 'Islamist'. By the same logic, should we label Israel's crimes acts of 'violent radical Judaism'?

"While anti-Zionist Jews, secular and religious, have always insisted that Israel and Zionism do not represent them or their religion or cultures, politicians like Hollande reinforce the false and dangerous association between Jews as Jews on the one hand and Israel's violent racist colonialism against the Palestinians on the other. Some misguided youths, hearing these messages, may indeed believe Israel's claim that 'the Jews' are the enemies of the Palestinians and direct their anger or hatred towards Jewish targets. They may hear the Islamophobic diatribes emanating from many right-wing and liberal supporters of Israel and also conclude - falsely - that 'the Jews' are the enemies of 'the Muslims'. The message has to be clear always and is worth repeating: words or acts targeting Jews as Jews are never a form of solidarity with the Palestinians."

"In his address to CRIF, Hollande spoke about the 'Israeli-Palestinian conflict' in the bland terms of the defunct 'peace process'. He reaffirmed France's commitment to the fantasy of the 'two-state solution'... He offered not a single word of comfort or anger about the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza where there has been no reconstruction since Israel's summer attack devastated much of the besieged and impoverished territory. Hollande warned that those who do not learn from history are destined to relive it. Yet there was not one word of accountability or justice for the Israeli war crimes that left more than 2,200 people, including more than 500 children, dead in Gaza.

"Why are 1.8 million Palestinians, mostly refugees from present-day Israel, caged in Gaza under such abominable conditions in the first place? The answer is simple: their mere existence, the fact that they live and breathe as non-Jews, is considered a threat to Israel's self-declared identity as a 'Jewish state'. Palestinians are in a ghetto because of who they are and France's president has nothing to say about that.

"While French leaders are doing their best to pander to the prejudices of their audience, it is doubtful it will be enough. Richard Prasquier, the former president of CRIF, went on national television to say that Hollande and Valls had not gone far enough. CRIF's current president Roger Cukierman provoked anger from the French Muslim community leaders by declaring that 'all the violent attacks today are committed by young Muslims.' Cukierman also praised Marine Le Pen, leader of the racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and traditionally deeply anti-Semitic National Front, as 'irreproachable'.

"Alas Hollande's ardor to combat racism was nowhere in sight when it came to the fanatical anti-Arab racism of Israel's leading political parties. CRIF heard no rebuke from the supposedly anti-racist Hollande for Cukierman's public embrace of Israeli ultra-nationalist politician Naftali Bennett, who boasts about how many Arabs he has killed and claims that Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land are 'protecting London, Paris and Madrid.'

"In his speech Hollande announced education reforms to reinforce the messages he gave to CRIF. But what France really needs to teach its Jewish and Muslim citizens is that contrary to Israeli claims, Israel does not represent Jews and that Israeli policies and Israeli crimes are not Jewish policies or Jewish crimes. The irony is that it might prove more difficult to convince French Jews and Christians of this than it is to convince French Muslims."

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