Here are a series of essays written after visits to France over the course of the last ten years. This period has been marked by a rapid deterioration of the condition of the Jews in France as a result of the virulent anti-Zionism that exploded in the wake of the outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israelis in the fall of 2000. In particular, the image of Muhammad al Durah, a 12 year-old Palestinian boy allegedly gunned down by Israeli soldiers at Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000, served as a major incitement to the torrent of hatred that poured out of both the leftist “progressive circles” and Muslim immigrant communities.
At the time this first began to happen most people, including myself, didn’t even know about the process of Islamization of Europe that Bat Ye’or has called “Eurabia.” In a volume published in 2000 on the state of France, one finds not a hint of awareness that the Muslim population posed a serious problem (the only indexical reference is to one page in the edition for 1994-5). Although admittedly large, the immigrant population from North Africa, imported to do the manual labor that the waning population of Europeans needed to sustain them in their old age, seemed possible to assimilate.
On these subjects, the migration, far from constituting a problem, can constitute a vector of multiple mediations between civil societies [here we see the dangerous effect of misdefining civil society]. Its activity can also been considered relevant to an active integration into the receiving society.
And yet, over the last five years, a stunning transformation has taken place in Europe, made all the more rapid by the radical denial that has marked mainstream European attitudes until this day. If civic Europe survives — which I passionately hope it does — these opening years of the 21st century will be remembered as a period, much like the 3os, when well intentioned people made consistently foolish choices, deepening their danger.
The essays included here mark my own awakening to the problem which, despite my sense of foreboding in the 1990s, I could not have imagined.
Bi-millennial diary: Paris and cultural musak
Paris, May 1997
French Academia’s Fear of the Year 1000: Letter from a Spurned Lover
Chiraq-Iraq: Sailing Full Speed in Iceberg-Laden Waters
Paris, March 5-16, 2003
The Pitfalls of Moral Schadenfreude: What the French Media Chooses to Tell Its Public
Le “non” vu d’outre-atlantique
Paris, June 2005
“The Unintended Consequences of Media Error: Al Durah and the Ramadan Riots of 2005
November 15, 2005
What Happens When the Ostrich Lifts up Its Head
March 4-14, 2006