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January 11, 2016 0

Fighting Anti-Semitism, Fighting for France

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

Roger Cukier­man
Pres­i­dent of CRIF, the Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil of Jew­ish Insti­tu­tions in France

This blog orig­i­nally appeared in The Huff­in­g­ton Post

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One year ago this week, an ISIS-affiliated Islamic extrem­ist mur­dered four Jews at the Hyper Cacher kosher super­mar­ket in Paris. That attack fol­lowed the shoot­ings of the Char­lie Hebdo jour­nal­ists and police offi­cers just two days ear­lier, a heinous act also com­mit­ted by ISIS trained terrorists.

In 2012, a ter­ror­ist, who claimed affil­i­a­tion with al-Qaeda, killed three sol­diers in Mon­tauban and days later mur­dered a rabbi and three chil­dren at a Jew­ish school in Toulouse. Accord­ing to leaked doc­u­ments in the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of the mas­sive Novem­ber 13 attacks in Paris, Jew­ish tar­gets also were con­sid­ered by the ISIS-affiliated terrorists.

Anti-Semitism is a core tenet of Islamic extrem­ism, so it should not come as a sur­prise that French Jews are attacked in tan­dem with rep­re­sen­ta­tives and sym­bols of the French Repub­lic: sol­diers, police, and those exer­cis­ing free­dom of the press. For too many years, though, the wave of anti-Semitism that began in 2000 was con­sid­ered by French pub­lic opin­ion and French author­i­ties as sim­ply the import of the Arab-Israeli con­flict and thus not the respon­si­bil­ity of France.

The Hyper Cacher mur­ders marked a turn­ing point toward an under­stand­ing that the French Jew­ish com­mu­nity and the French Repub­lic share more than com­mon ene­mies. They share a com­mon destiny.

In a major speech to the French par­lia­ment just days after the attack, Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls admit­ted that French soci­ety had let down its Jew­ish com­pa­tri­ots by not react­ing suf­fi­ciently. He vowed to imple­ment a multi-pronged strat­egy against anti-Semitism and against rad­i­cal­iza­tion in the Mus­lim com­mu­nity. That work is underway.

French author­i­ties waged a sim­i­lar bat­tle against rad­i­cal­iza­tion and anti-Semitism a cen­tury ago among mostly rural Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ties. Pub­lic poli­cies were imple­mented to empha­size crit­i­cal think­ing and sec­u­lar­ism in edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions. Those efforts should be rein­forced to address Islamic extrem­ism in schools today.

In 2015, almost 1,000 stu­dents were iden­ti­fied by their teach­ers as at risk of rad­i­cal­iza­tion. In some schools in France — for­tu­nately a minor­ity of them — the anti-Semitism of the past 15 years pre­saged a rise of other illib­eral ten­den­cies: homo­pho­bia, sex­ism, con­spir­acy the­o­ries, and hatred of the French Republic.

Increas­ing Islamic extrem­ism has con­tributed to the polit­i­cal gains of the far right, which also has a long his­tory of anti-Semitism. The mutual rein­force­ment of these move­ments — with the far right con­tribut­ing to rad­i­cal­iza­tion among French Mus­lims — is not good for the Jews nor does it augur well for demo­c­ra­tic values.

Today the sit­u­a­tion in France is grave and very dif­fer­ent from the con­di­tions famil­iar to Jews liv­ing in the U.S. Com­par­ing eight years of ADL’s records for anti-Semitic assaults in the U.S. and data from SPCJ, the French Jew­ish secu­rity agency, we see that French Jews are nearly 40 times more at risk of being attacked than Amer­i­can Jews (after adjust­ing for the size of the two com­mu­ni­ties). While it is ille­gal in France to keep sta­tis­tics based on eth­nic­ity or reli­gion, strong anec­do­tal evi­dence sug­gests that the over­whelm­ing major­ity of the assailants are young men of North African descent.

Accord­ing to a 2013 sur­vey of Euro­pean Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties by the Euro­pean Union, sixty per­cent of French Jews feared being the vic­tim of an anti-Semitic assault. Half of French Jews always or usu­ally avoid wear­ing any­thing that will iden­tify them as Jew­ish. Fear­ing for their phys­i­cal safety, a grow­ing num­ber of French Jews sim­ply have left their native coun­try. The num­ber of French Jews who moved to Israel dou­bled in 2014 from the prior year to more than 7,000, and reached almost 8,000 in 2015. While no hard sta­tis­tics are avail­able, Jews also emi­grated in large num­bers to the UK, the US, and Canada. More­over, most of these are core mem­bers of the com­mu­nity: fam­i­lies with chil­dren, iden­ti­fied Jews com­mit­ted to their faith, peo­ple who feel that they have been forced to choose between their beliefs and their safety.

If the major­ity of French Jews lose con­fi­dence that their sit­u­a­tion will improve, those num­bers will con­tinue to grow, leav­ing Europe’s largest Jew­ish com­mu­nity much dimin­ished and on the brink of collapse.

Our analy­sis and other polls have shown the French Mus­lim com­mu­nity to be one of the most mod­er­ate Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties in Europe, but the ter­ror­ists who emerged from it have already deeply affected the Jew­ish com­mu­nity. Will Islamic extrem­ists, with their intrin­sic anti-Semitism, rad­i­cal­ize enough French Mus­lims to cause half a mil­lion French Jews to flee? Or, will the endur­ing French val­ues of equal­ity and fra­ter­nity pre­vail among the French Mus­lim com­mu­nity of eight mil­lion as an anti­dote to rad­i­cal­ism? Indeed, let us not for­get, it was a young Mus­lim employee, Las­sana Bathily, who saved six Jews at the Hyper Cacher mar­ket by hid­ing them in a walk-in freezer, an act which could have cost him his life

We all have roles to play. The gov­ern­ment must ensure secu­rity for all French cit­i­zens, allow Jews to live openly as Jews, edu­cate the pub­lic against anti-Semitism, and com­bat rad­i­cal­iza­tion through a vari­ety of means includ­ing bet­ter inte­gra­tion of French Mus­lims into French soci­ety. French Mus­lim lead­ers must encour­age their com­mu­ni­ties to assist the author­i­ties to iden­tify those at risk of rad­i­cal­iza­tion or already rad­i­cal­ized. Polit­i­cal par­ties com­mit­ted to the val­ues of the French Repub­lic must pre­vail over par­ties who oppose those core ideas. Jew­ish lead­ers in France and around the world must con­tinue to raise the alarm and make clear what is at stake: as goes the fight against anti-Semitism, so goes the French Republic.

In the words of Pres­i­dent François Hol­lande, “it is not the Jews who should be leav­ing France, but the anti-Semites,” and of Prime Min­is­ter Valls: because if French Jews leave, “France will no longer be France.”

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December 18, 2015 0

ADL Reports at Least 75 Anti-Muslim Incidents In US Since Paris Attacks

Fol­low­ing the shoot­ing in San Bernardino that left 14 peo­ple dead and 22 injured, there has been a con­tin­ued esca­la­tion in hos­til­ity and attacks through­out the U.S. against the Mus­lim com­mu­nity and those per­ceived as Muslim.

Islamic Center of Alameda's boarded up window, after it was shattered by a brick

Islamic Cen­ter of Alameda’s boarded up win­dow, after it was shat­tered by a brick (CBS)

Since the San Bernardino shoot­ing on Decem­ber 2, at least 27 anti-Muslim inci­dents have been reported in the U.S., rais­ing the total num­ber of inci­dents since the Novem­ber 13 Paris attacks to at least 75.Between the Paris attacks and the San Bernardino shoot­ing, ADL tracked approx­i­mately 48 anti-Muslim inci­dents. These num­bers are based on reports ADL has col­lected from media and other sources.

Inci­dents such as assaults, van­dal­ism, and threats tar­get­ing Mus­lim indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions in the U.S. tend to notice­ably spike in the after­math of ter­ror­ist attacks linked to Islamic extrem­ists in the U.S or abroad.

Below are selected exam­ples of alleged anti-Muslim inci­dents in the weeks fol­low­ing the San Bernardino attacks, both crim­i­nal and non-criminal:

Assaults

  • Grand Rapids, Michi­gan: Aman hold­ing up a con­ve­nience store report­edly called the Sikh man­ager a “ter­ror­ist” and sug­gested he was a mem­ber of ISIS before shoot­ing him in the face. (Decem­ber 12)
  • Queens, New York: A man beat a Mus­lim store owner in the Asto­ria neigh­bor­hood of Queens. The attacker report­edly stated, “I kill Mus­lims.” (Decem­ber 5)

Van­dal­ism

  • Hawthorne, Cal­i­for­nia: “Jesus” graf­fiti and a fake hand grenade were left at two mosques. (Decem­ber 12)
  • Alameda, Cal­i­for­nia: A brick was thrown through a mosque’s win­dow, shat­ter­ing the win­dow. (Decem­ber 10)
  • Palm Beach, Florida: The Islamic Cen­ter of Palm Beach was van­dal­ized, its win­dows smashed and fur­ni­ture over­turned. (Decem­ber 3)

Threats and Intimidation

  • Cull­man, Alabama: KKK fliers try to recruit Alaba­mans to stop “the spread of Islam.” (Decem­ber 10)
  • Philadel­phia, Penn­syl­va­nia: A sev­ered pig’s head was thrown at a mosque’s door. (Decem­ber 7)
  • Van­dalia, Ohio: A 7th grader threat­ened to shoot and kill a 6th grade Mus­lim school­mate, report­edly call­ing him a “ter­ror­ist,” a “towel head,” and a “son of ISIS.” (Decem­ber 7)
  • St. Louis, Mis­souri: A threat­en­ing voice­mail was left at the Islamic Cen­ter of St. Louis. The mes­sage report­edly stated “I was a Marine, I killed a lot of Mus­lims, watched a lot of you die and burn…You want to kill? Come my way. I will cut your f-cking head off.” (Decem­ber 5)
  • Fred­er­icks­burg, Vir­ginia: In advance of a pub­lic hear­ing about a new mosque, anti-Muslim fliers were posted around town that read “No Jihad in Fred­er­icks­burg.” (Decem­ber 5)

 

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November 23, 2015 3

Anti-Semite Claims Prominent BDS Activist Invited Him To Berkeley Conference

Anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist Kevin Bar­rett claims he was accepted to present a paper at the 3rd Islam­o­pho­bia and Civil Soci­ety Con­fer­ence in Paris, spon­sored by Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berkeley’s Cen­ter for Race & Gen­der.

Kevin Barrett's GoFundMe page

Kevin Barrett’s GoFundMe page

The con­fer­ence, which appears to have recently been can­celed, was orga­nized by BDS activist and Berke­ley pro­fes­sor Hatem Baz­ian, the Chair­man of Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP), the lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion pro­vid­ing anti-Zionist train­ing and edu­ca­tion to stu­dents and Mus­lim com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions in the country.

Bar­rett, a for­mer Uni­ver­sity of Wisconsin-Madison instruc­tor, is a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to Iran’s Eng­lish lan­guage pro­pa­ganda news net­work Press TV and Vet­er­ans Today, a U.S.-based web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news. Even Bar­rett him­self seems sur­prised he was accepted to present at Bazian’s con­fer­ence. On his GoFundMe page, where he has raised $2,175 to fund his trip to Paris, he wrote, “Amaz­ingly, I just had a hard-hitting, truth-telling paper accepted for a main­stream aca­d­e­mic con­fer­ence: The 3rd Islam­o­pho­bia and Civil Soci­ety Con­fer­ence to be held in Paris Decem­ber 11th-12th 2015.” Bar­rett hoped that by pre­sent­ing at the con­fer­ence, he could send the mes­sage, “Keep our uni­ver­si­ties open to peo­ple who are will­ing to think taboo thoughts and ask the hard questions!”

In Barrett’s syn­op­sis of the paper he was accepted to present, titled “Taboo on Ques­tion­ing: Silenc­ing the Mus­lim Other,” he alludes to his typ­i­cal anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries. In a dis­cus­sion on whether the Jan­u­ary 2015 ter­ror attacks at the Char­lie Hebdo office and a kosher super­mar­ket in Paris were “largely fab­ri­cated by West­ern secu­rity agen­cies to mobi­lize pub­lic opin­ion for a war on Islam,” Bar­rett exam­ines ques­tions like “What are we to make of Netanyahu’s repeated threats dur­ing the run-up to the shoot­ings that if France rec­og­nized or sided with Pales­tine it would be hit by terrorists?”

Try­ing to blame Jews or Israel for acts of ter­ror­ism is noth­ing new for Bar­rett. Some recent exam­ples of his anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries include:

  • In a Novem­ber 13 Vet­er­ans Today arti­cle titled “Another French False Flag?” Bar­rett states that “Since we now know the Char­lie Hebdo attack was a…false flag by the usual sus­pects (NATO hard­lin­ers and Zion­ists), can we safely make the same assump­tion about these new Fri­day the 13th Paris atroc­i­ties? I think we can.” Bar­rett added “The first ques­tion, as always, is: Who gains? And the answer, as always, is: Author­i­tar­ian insid­ers. Zion­ists. Mil­i­tarists. Islam­o­phobes. New World Order-Out-Of-Chaos freaks.”
  • In Barrett’s book We Are Not Char­lie Hebdo! Free Thinkers Ques­tion the French 9/11 he claims that the Jan­u­ary Paris attacks were just one in a long his­tory of events – such as the 9/11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax poi­son­ings – per­pe­trated by Israel in order to “incite hatred of Mus­lims and sol­i­dar­ity with Israel.”
  • In a Jan­u­ary 20 Press TV arti­cle titled “Zion­ist NWO mur­ders Iran­ian gen­eral, Amer­i­can film­maker,” Bar­rett claims that “The Zion­ists cre­ated ISIL and sent it to fight Mus­lims and Chris­tians in Syria and Iraq…New World Order Zion­ism is also tar­get­ing the USA for destruction.”
  • Bar­rett stated in a Feb­ru­ary 17 Press TV arti­cle titled “9/11 attack was Zion­ist coup d-etat to seize power in US: Scholar” that “…Zion­ist pre-emptive mur­der­ers excel at ‘killing the future’…A team of Zionist-liked pro­fes­sional killers exe­cuted a total of 77 peo­ple [2011 attacks in Nor­way], while Zionist-freemasonic assets in the Nor­we­gian police and mil­i­tary stood by.”
  • In the same Feb­ru­ary 2015 arti­cle Bar­rett stated that “The Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were a Zion­ist ‘coup d’etat’ to seize power in the coun­try and launch a per­ma­nent war on Islam on behalf of Israel…”

 

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