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MoPOP at dusk, Seattle

Friday, January 9, 2015

Bitter Harvest


I am trying to remember the last time we were in France. Leslie thinks it might have been 2001. In any case, it was the jewish holiday of Sukkot and we found ourselves pleasantly strolling around in the Marais, the epicenter of jewish life in Paris.

In the yiddish language that the jewish French have used for centuries, the area is known as the pletzl or little square.  We watched hasidic jews buying palm fronds and searching for the perfect etrog, the citrus fruit most associated with the harvest festival in the jewish tradition.

The day before we arrived the jewish market in the Marais had been blown up and we watched as the black smoke continued to pore out of the market's smoldering eaves.

Marais 1942

We loved Paris but the signs of antisemitism were hard to miss. We had several minimal type confrontations with the brutish algerian youth that tend to the petty criminal and are seemingly ever present in Paris but they paled next to our experience one morning on the Champs d'elysee when the old gallic matriarch veered out of her way, unprovoked, walked right up to us and spit at our feet with a dramatic flourish.

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What we witnessed ourselves in the Marais was not the first time a jewish market had been bombed or vandalized, in 1982 it was Goldenberg's. In fact, 423 antisemitic acts were logged in France last year, including rape, 49 acts of violence and one attempted homicide. Jews are now leaving the country in droves for a hopefully safer haven.

Fame Flynet
Today, french born islamic terrorists invaded a kosher market in Porte de Vincennes, the Hyper Cacher. Sixteen hostages were taken, four people were killed and four wounded before the attacker was killed and his girlfriend accomplice escaped.

The Grand Synagogue of Paris has closed today for security reasons and the authorities are suggesting that businesses in the Marais do the same. This is the first time that the Synagogue has closed for shabbat services since World War II.

The attacker in the kosher market, Amedy Coulibaly, called a local radio station during the siege and explained his actions, claiming allegiance to the Islamic State and saying that he wanted to defend Palestinians and target Jews.

France is now said to lead the world in antisemitism.
A survey last year from the European Jewish Congress and Tel Aviv University found that France had more violent anti-semitic incidents in 2013 than any other country in the world. Jews were the target of 40 per cent of all racist crimes in France in 2013 – even though they comprise less than 1 per cent of the population. Attacks on Jews have risen sevenfold since the 1990s.
Jews became the favorite whipping boy in France at the end of the nineteenth century, when they were blamed for every ill imaginable by a scared ruling class, which sadly culminated in the Dreyfus affair.

In World war II, the Vichi france of Marshall Phillipe Petain deported between 75.500 and 75,000 french jews to Nazi death camps. Many of these deportees were scooped up right on the Rue de Rosiers, the exact site of today's tragedy. Truth be told, the French have long turned a blind eye to crimes against this particular citizenry.

Elite French Soldiers performing Quenelle in front of synagogue

French Comedian Dieudonn√© M'Bala M'Bala has now popularized the quenelle, a backward Nazi salute and created a stage act that targets jews. The people love him. Regular french people, french soccer players and even soldiers have been photographed performing the gesture.

There are frequent demonstrations where marchers proclaim "death to the jews."And this is happening in a society where thousands of French Islamic youth are leaving every year for Jihad. It seems like it has become a very dangerous place, at least for members of a certain tribe. The rest of you, by all means, go visit and tell me just how wonderful a time you had in Provence.

Today the situation in France is framed by the National Front of the far right Le Pen on one side, and a muslim powder keg on the other, with a homegrown gallic variety plunked down on top for good measure.

And also mix in the typical self righteous European liberal intelligentsia who find it easier to play along with the dangerous muslim underclass than to take a stand for a relatively small number of people they have never cared for much anyway. Blame zionism for the whole thing.

I think that I would get the hell out of there too. Of course, that is, if there was anywhere one could go.

Getty Images

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are a world class editorialist. Truly.
r

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert, your best blast yet! Searing! Your words penetrated me and I felt so many emotions… Mostly anger, some fear and deep deep sadness.
Thanks for all that you do to awaken us. Much love to you and Leslie, N