Anti-Semitism and France

(Guardian-UK) Jon Henley - There are three main kinds of anti-Semitism in France. There is the old, ingrained, Catholic kind, that put Captain Dreyfus on Devil's Island and that still produces, in polite conversations at middle-class dining tables, the kind of remarks you would never hear in London or New York. A new kind is that of the intellectual left, whose anti-Israeli polemics are interpreted, by extension and by association, as in essence anti-Semitic. Thirdly, there is the nastiest, the most violent and the most visible kind: the anti-Semitism of disaffected youths, mainly of North African origin. The common consensus is that this last kind of anti-Semitism is responsible for almost all of the 510 physical or verbal assaults registered against Jews in the first six months of 2004 and the 593 registered in the whole of 2003 in France. The real time-bomb quietly ticking away at the heart of 21st century French society is not anti-Semitism, but France's absolute failure to properly integrate its Muslim community (estimated at 5-6 million strong). France has created a genuine racial underclass, living in decaying, crime-ridden estates in which France has sadly come to specialize. The problem of failed Muslim integration in France is made 100 times worse by the nation's profound inability to recognize it.

2004-07-30 00:00:00

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