Opinion

The French riots and Jew-hatred

Antisemitism has found new expression in rioting crowds that demolish and destroy in the name of the oppressed.

A burning car during riots in Paris, France. Photo: Bumble Dee/Shutterstock.
A burning car during riots in Paris, France. Photo: Bumble Dee/Shutterstock.
Fiamma Nirenstein
Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies.

The tragic police shooting of French 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk and the ensuing massive riots cannot but recall the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020. Certainly, the context, history and cultures involved are different, but the destruction has been the same.

In the days after Floyd’s death, rioters destroyed stores, cars and entire city centers under the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” Not a single voice in the media or politics questioned that this was not just a reaction to a murder. Floyd’s death was a racist murder, and thus it was immediately assumed that the riots were a judgment on a society, a civilization, that was riven with “systemic racism.”

This attitude has since expanded into a defamatory attack on the entirety of American and ultimately Western civilization. America, the attackers hold, is racist and evil in its essence, stained forever by the original sin of slavery.

All Western nations are also implicated in such crimes, they say, and are thus considered just as fundamentally evil as the United States. They are guilty before, during and after the fact, with no hope of redemption. “White” people, in the eyes of the extremists making the charges, are inherently racist and thus inherently evil.

This is how France is currently being portrayed today in the international press: As a place of pure darkness, despite decades of French struggle to deal with the problem of social, religious and political integration.

We have seen the results of this in America: Athletes and politicians like Nancy Pelosi knelt for the eight minutes and 46 seconds it took Floyd to die. The idea of “white privilege” spread like a particularly virulent virus. A moral panic imposed a new culture of guilt in schools, universities, publishing houses, Netflix series, the arts, quotidian language and revisionist history of America and its heroes.

As always with frenzied mass movements, this one soon came to concentrate on their perverted image of “the Jew.” Thus, the Jews were identified with the “oppressors,” constantly victimizing the “oppressed”: Black people, Palestinians, the underprivileged and now the inhabitants of the French suburbs where the police fear to tread.

A mob in Nanterre went so far as to write “Let’s make a Shoah” on the Holocaust monument in Nanterre, defaming the memory of the 200,000 Jews murdered by the collaborationist Petain regime.

French-Jewish politician Meyer Habib was right when he said, “We now have an intifada in the heart of France.” Indeed, what endangers the Jews today is the ideological connections drawn between white colonialism and imperialism—never the long history of Muslim colonialism and imperialism—along with capitalism, apartheid, Zionism and the State of Israel.

This monstrous ideology, spearheaded by the large Muslim presence in France, has already taken many innocent victims, from the murdered young Jew Ilhan Halimi onward. There have been victims in Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse, Belgium and beyond.

It is similar to the ideology that developed in the U.S. after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose struggle for civil rights was undertaken in tandem with American Jews. Unfortunately, King was superseded by the likes of the deceased Malcolm X and the very much alive Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan and Ilhan Omar.

France has its own history of upheaval, of course, with numerous clashes between police and crowds of French immigrants and their children. But today’s clash is more dangerous, because it is taking place at the heart of a culturally polarized world, in a confused and divided Europe irritated by the lack of real leadership in the face of a major war on the continent and the ongoing problem of immigration.

Today, “la France,” with its extraordinary past and culture, has been brought low by street violence and forced to dwell on its guilt, on a personal self-indictment, while social explosion finds new detonators on the ideological front.

What is truly painful is that this defames Nahel’s memory. A poor boy of Algerian descent, he appears to have wanted to be a rapper and a YouTuber. That is, he hoped for the success for which Western society had offered him an opportunity, despite its many difficulties.

Yet the reaction to his death has completely rejected this reality. Instead, it concentrates on the impossibility of a diverse Western society of opportunity and points to Nahel as its paradigmatic victim, rather than a possible success story tragically cut off too soon.

The media has led the way. Al Jazeera has claimed that France “has a long and sordid history of colonial racism and violence against people racialized as ‘non-white,’ stretching from Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique in the Caribbean to Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, North and West Africa, as well as Vietnam. … France has ruthlessly oppressed Algerian people in particular—including those who are French citizens.”

Al Jazeera, of course, is mainly an Arabic-language outlet, but appears unaware of the fact that Arabic is the lingua franca of the Middle East because of colonial racism and violence.

But Al Jazeera is not alone. Spanish newspaper El Mundo described “the [French] suburbs as marginal places where discontent is rampant and the model of integration has failed. The citizens are often Frenchmen of foreign origin … born in a France that treats them as second-class citizens.” El Pais declared, “The episode illuminates the discrimination suffered by the people of the suburbs.”

The BBC slammed the French police and turned the death of Nahel into “a symbolic moment that describes the relationship with the disillusioned population.” The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung portrayed the riots as an uncontrollable explosion and La Tribune de Geneve as a “clash between two irreconcilable camps.”

Certainly, the work of repairing the West after slavery, colonialism and other crimes is not easy, but following World War II, the West set about precisely this task, for which its own media and intellectuals now give it no credit whatsoever.

And throughout, the Jews are seen as the guiltiest of all the white supremacists. Given this, it seems time to take into consideration the fact that the world’s oldest hatred, which created the most terrible episode in human history—the Holocaust—has found expression in the new form of rioting crowds that demolish and destroy in the name of the oppressed.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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