Jews Leaving, Muslims Rising: Reflections of France Part III

For the earlier segments of this essay, see Paris Notes, Spring 2006.

The Jews I meet with show heavy signs of wear. One of the sweetest and smartest of the French Jewish intellectuals I know, a woman of Tunisian origin, one of the single-generation acculturaters, comes towards me without knowing I see her. Her face is so drawn with care that I have difficulty identifying her. I go by her haircut, until, upon seeing me, her smile comes back and wipes away the lines of worry.

The Halimi Affair, whose Jewish and Muslim dimension the French Jews know about in much greater detail than their Christian and post-Christian fellow-citizens, has that community in a panic.

People are affolés, like the thirties. People are leaving. Especially the Jews. But if you try and make the parallel to the thirties, you get cut off. Your colleagues won’t talk to you, stop having you speak at colloquia.
In 2002, the cry was “Synagogue brulé, République en danger.” In 2006, it was “Ilan Halimi brulé, République en danger.”
It’s gotten worse. Before we had hope. We told ourselves, they’re unaware. If we can get them to look at this clearly, we can persuade them. Now we’ve persuaded them, and they do nothing.
The level of appeasement is depressing: every time the Muslims get angry, the French trip over themselves to calm their passions. It’s far worse now. I am losing hope for France.
Even the French communities in good neighborhoods, with fancy Kosher restaurants nearby, are feeling the cold wind blow.
Now, in market places, in schools, even when it doesn’t involve immigrants, Jew is used as an epithet. You can even call a Chinese “dirty Jew” if you want to insult him.

In other words, in the world of honor-shame in French culture today, the Jews are the dhimmis, the ones publicly singled out for humiliation.

“But what about the huge demonstrations? Didn’t they represent a serious change of public opinion?”
“Maybe. Aside from the politicians, it was mostly Jews…. and all along the way, reports Alex Feigenbaum hostile Arabs who refuse to condemn the march [translated by Nidra Poller here], feeling fully justified given the crimes of the Jews/Israelis.

In Morocco, the Jews were preserved, and you know what? They harmed us. yes, yes, they harmed us a lot. They can do whatever they want, they control the media. They have money. The Arabs have nothing.
“And petrodollars? Oil at $70 a barrel?”
It’s still cheap for the Americans. And the Arabs are left with nothing. Here they’re demonstrating for a Jew. In Israel, if a Jew is killed, Sharon kills a million Palestinians…. It’s a genocide.”
“There were 500,000 Palestinians in 1948. Today there are 2 million. You call that a genocide? When my family was exterminated, the numbers dropped dramatically.”
That’s ancient history,” he grumbles. And adds, to clinch the argument, “Ilan ran after girls.

The voice of a man who’s been listening to his own community of grievance and watching French TV news, a man who will not be persuaded by evidence.

“Since 9-11, there’s been a notable change in the Muslim community. Before you rarely heard Arabic spoken. Now they speak it loudly, the mothers aggressively take over areas in parks and gardens. They started to pick up their heads and feel pride.”
“Over 9-11?”
“Yes, it gave them a sense of power.”

At the fac, the political tensions are high, the attitude towards Jews violent. Zionists are the enemy. A few Jewish students went to a meeting on Palestine at one of the more radical campuses in Paris, Jussieu. The feral hatreds, the wild enthusiasm for Hamas, the loud consensus that Israel should not exist… one has a sense that the morally revolting behavior that Oriana Fallaci denounced in September 2001 is alive and well at the French fac. There are still enthusiasts of indiscriminate Arab aggression, people for whom the Palestinians are a chosen people whom one loves and from whom one demands no restraint. And in the rest of Europe, is it the same? Are global Jihadi forces welcomed and redoubled by the anti-Zionist left all over Europe? Can the continent survive such madness?

The ending is instructive on the state of democracy in France today, at the level of the (next generation of elites):

At the end of the conference, although they had remained discreet and quiet, my friends were spotted by the service d’ordre [whatever that is… is it like the Dead hiring Hell’s Angels to be service d’ordre at Altamont?], “as Jews” and are literally physically attacked and knocked down. My friends, girls as well as boys, getting punched, insulted, will leave injured and bloody from the building. Busted lips, punches, kicks. Lynching of Jews in the heart of my own university. And no intervened.

The lack of intervention is a recurrent theme. The Great Train Razzia of New Year’s 2006 illustrates just how easily the Arab bullies can intimidate the French, including their police.

One hundred drunk and disorderly “youths” from the “sensitive neighborhoods” outside of Marseille were let loose in a train carrying revelers from Nice to Lyon via Marseille. They vandalized the train, terrorized the passengers, stole from them, sexually assaulted several young women, made convincing death threats and, when all these wicked deeds were done, pulled the emergency brake and jumped the train on the outskirts of Marseille.

The train of events that involved intimidated people looking away, falling silent, coming late is depressing in its pervasiveness… including how long it took for the story to come out — a now familiar pair of deeply anti-civic behavior (predatory, tribal behavior) on the one hand, and media reluctance (to put it mildly), on the other. If Europe survives this challenge, one of the great research fields of its surviving intellectuals will hopefully be that of “the bystander effect,” both on an individual and a collective plane. In the meantime, put yourself in the shoes of a young testosteronic Arab youth in France. These people are ripe for the picking. Like the team that faked Al Durah, they are surely laughing their heads off at what wimps the French are. No wonder the kids come in from the suburbs pour casser (to break) a demonstration of students in Paris.

When I did my thesis research in Paris in 1980, a woman could walk the streets at midnight without concern. So much safer than NYC. But now, as I walk alone at night, and think of the vulnerabilities of a system where bullies can count on the getting challenged, I feel quite differently. Even with my wife. My paranoia? It’s not my wont.

I ask a Jewish colleague, brilliant man with profound articles on questions like ressentiment, the emotional dimensions of thinking, and conspiracism, whether he plans to stay. “I have a one year old daughter named Yaël; I don’t know if I want her going through the French public school system with a name like that. And his calculation, now just based on the prevailing attitude, is demographically prescient. Within a decade over a third of the school cohort will be Muslim in France.

As another Jewish family confirmed to me, the youth are planning to leave. French Jews are in Israel, Montreal, the US, raising the housing market by buying not pied-à-terre, but escape hatches, places to go to… in case. The FBIs [French-born Israelis], noting the one-foot-in-Israel-one-in-France style of the new arrivals, call it the “Aliyah du Boeing.”

In the meantime, the statistics about the Muslims should be alarming, if only people knew about them. 20% of the Gaulois are over 65(!), 20% of the youth are born into immigrant families with increasingly tenuous ties to the culture of the republic. In a decade or so, the schools will have cohorts in which a majority of Muslims will not be unusual, even outside the “lost territories” (or rather, in the ever-larger lost territories). When one considers the tenor of the classrooms in the lost territories that holds learning in contempt, and the increasing flight of teachers from a system that can assign them to a “zone de non-droit” (outlaw zones, where the king’s writ does not run), one has to wonder what will come out of the school system.

But the Gaulois have imposed a silence on official figures. It’s inappropriate for a lay nation to count its citizens by religion! And so estimates swing wildly. The answer to the question, “How many Muslims in France?” tells you a great deal about a person. Estimates — all confidently given — range from 4-8 million (6.6%-13.3%) of the total population. How can you lose track of, or make up 4 million people?

The more I hear, the more I begin to have a sense that the Gaulois have skidded imperceptibly into a set of practices and policies which encourage the one percent of their population which produces approximately 20% of its elite [figure taken from the Saint-Cyr estimate] to leave, while the same policies or practices empower the 7-14% of their population where a growing number, actively or passively, consciously or unconsciously, increasingly work to destroy the République.

And most Gaulois have no idea. They don’t listen to what Jews say on their own initiatives, and when they’re told about it, they refuse to grant the complaints any real credence.

On one level, the Gaulois act as if they forged their civil society entirely on their own merit — they need no Jews, no Americans to teach them any lessons. Their own sterling product can handle any challenge, including absorbing millions of increasingly Islamicized Muslim immigrants. So they can afford to lose some of their Jews and infuriate their American allies, while, in an admirably principled way, make friends with Muslim bullies who thrive on hatreds. After all, it’s not like we’re in some kind of a crisis here.

That all seems pretty self-destructive. But what do I know. I’m an outsider looking in. And I can’t bear witness.

6 Responses to Jews Leaving, Muslims Rising: Reflections of France Part III

  1. Pamela says:

    That all seems pretty self-destructive. But what do I know. I’m an outsider looking in. And I can’t bear witness.

    It seems to me you have my dear, sweet man, it seems to me you have

  2. Atlas Shrugs says:

    Dying Breed: Jews lflee France, Barbarians at the Gates

    You must go to Augean Stables and read all three parts, pleasePeople are affolés, like the thirties. People are leaving. Especially the Jews. But if you try and make the parallel to the thirties, you get cut off. Your colleagues

  3. marina says:

    There are so many things I find offensive and inaccurate in this article that I will just mention one: the (Arab) “mothers agressively taking over the parks and gardens”!?

    What does this mean? First the majority of young women of Moslem North African descent do not speak Arabic to their children but, guess what!, they speak French. Often they do not really know Arabic themselves.

    Secondly even if these mothers did speak Arabic, do you mean there is a conspiracy (“the Arabs control the sandboxes and the swings!”). In the early 20th century, there were regions in France (such as les Pyrenees Orientales) where children spoke a different language at home (like catalan). Inside the schools it was compulsory to speak only French, even in the school playground: there were signs “Parlez francais, soyez propres.” (“Speak French, be clean”). Are you suggesting putting such signs in French public gardens?

    I’m sorry you find this offensive. Surely you aren’t going to insist that there are not large numbers of North African mothers who are bi-lingual, and could, if they so wish, speak Arabic to their children. As for the conspiracy, let’s not do a reductio ad absurdum. This is, whether you want to admit it or not, a battle for turf, and it goes on at all levels of the culture. I’m not suggesting French-only signs, or anything like such policies — although the woman who made the remark clearly was unhappy with the situation. What struck me about the comment was not the actual development, but the trigger — 9-11. Much of my work is examining the ways in which events like 9-11 or Muhammad al Durah strike different audiences differently, and the ways that honor-shame cultures process things differently. If I had to characterize the “ostrich posture” which you “firmly” adhere to, it’s that you accept, almost as a kind of dogma, the notion that everyone is the same, responds the same (that’s different from equal), and that to even suggest that different cultural attitudes and mentalities are at play is offensive, maybe even racist. I don’t think that helps us understand what’s going on.

  4. marina says:

    no, I don’t see a battle for turf, even outside of the sandbox

    We clearly disagree. I think the riots of last November was largely about turf, and the suburban team won. The French cops admit that there are “zones de non-droit.” You don’t think that’s territorial? You think they are not aware of these matters? To take the Kabyle, for example, whom Bourdieu began his career studying, territoriality is critically important. That’s what street gangs are all about. I don’t understand how you can say there are no turf battles here.

  5. eric says:

    A freelancer, I am considering writing a testimony to the crime against Ilan Halimi; it is a crime against all that the prior generations have strove to ensure.

    I am looking for primary information, including court documentation, interviews, and family testimony, including police records, that which is available.

    “Fear, ye we perish unavenged? Not so! Today, no!
    But in God’s time, Our witnesses arise.”
    Emma Lazarus

    Eric S. December, 2006

  6. To know God Igbann team, but you are what you are weak and appreciate nothing and Muslims emerge victorious, God willing, and you to dismember the few … we … you are true in the fire to deem that a misguidance guided to Islam, God destroy you in the fire ….. … Wanni you a true secretary … will not say more than that …. and I hope that my message arrived … Khyber Khyber, O Jews. Mohammed’s Army will return

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