Run or Hide?

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What do you do when the society you're living in, through no fault of your own, decides they hate you? France is becoming a dangerous place for Jews, and many of them are moving to Israel.

Vatikai said that a report compiled by the agency had found 30 000 out of France's 575 000-strong Jewish community were considering immigrating to Israel.

"We are multiplying our efforts to encourage in this case, particularly with an information campaign," he said.

Jews living in France say that they are victims of a growing tide of anti-Semitic crime.

French Justice Minister Dominique Perben said last week that 180 anti-Jewish acts had been recorded so far this year, including cases of assault, arson and verbal insults.

Americans in Saudi Arabia aren't having such a good time of it either. I heard on NPR this morning (I don't have time to go link-hunting right now, but if someone comments or e-mails me with a good one, I'll post it here) that there has been a wave of violent attacks against Americans there. But there isn't a mass movement of Americans out of Saudi Arabia, surprisingly. Instead, they're fortifying the American-only compounds they live in with more fences, barbed wire, and armed guards.

Unpleasant and scary, either way.

NEXT: The Two Faces of Lou Dobbs

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  1. “Jews living in France say that they are victims of a growing tide of anti-Semitic crime.”

    …and to avoid such crimes, they’re considering moving to a country surrounded by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon. Ummmmm….

  2. As much as it gives me the warm fuzzies to think bad things about France — is it even that clear that there’s anything unusual happening here? Hearing that less than 5% of the Jews in any given country are “considering” moving to Israel doesn’t seem terribly surprising, especially considering that the poll doesn’t seem to have given a time frame for the “consideration”.

  3. Dan,

    Well you’re likely right. I can imagine similar precentages of Jewish Americans “considering” moving to Israel. And 180 incidents – none of which appear to have ended in death – out of a population of 575,000 seems like a rather low number.

    joe,

    It does seem rather like out of the fire and into the frying pan.

    Anyway, so far I haven’t heard of any Jews in France having their heads lopped off like the poor fellow a few days ago in Saudi Arabia.

  4. joe,

    Oops, I meant that the other way around. 🙂

  5. …and to avoid such crimes, they’re considering moving to a country surrounded by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon. Ummmmm….

    Yes! I’m sure this is hard for others to understand, but emigrating to Israel is one of the most respectable actions within Judaism. It’s almost an obligatory return to the homeland, regardless of the strife there…and almost more important the more strife there is, for you are required to serve in the Israeli army when you do emigrate. It’s the logical place to relocate in such an instance. In fact, it’s probably long overdue.

  6. Wouldn’t the logical place to emigrate to be the United States?

  7. It does seem rather like out of the fire and into the frying pan.

    Except that in Israel the government is trying to defend its citizens against anti-Semitic violence. Not so sure the same can be said of France.

  8. Wouldn’t the logical place to emigrate to be the United States?

    Well, if you’re Jewish, emigrating to Israel is easy — you’re basically automatically a citizen. Emigrating to the United States is a lot harder.

  9. Wouldn’t the logical place to emigrate to be the United States?

    No…really, it’s not. They likely have friends or family in Israel already, as do most Jewish people. There is no language barrier because they likely have enough knowledge of Hebrew to get by in the beginning and perfect in the short term. And, they will be most welcomed there and embraced within the culture immediately.

    For us (I’m Jewish), Israel is always home whether we’ve been there or not. Does that make more sense?

  10. Violence against Jews in Europe and America is extremely low–Jews can afford to live in safe neighborhoods. This story seems like an effort by supporters of Israel to reverse recent migration patterns. A better approach would be for the Israelis to enact economic and regulatory reforms so young people wouldn’t leave to find work. Sadly the main effect of American aid to Israel may be to delay such reforms.

  11. “What do you do when the society you’re living in, through no fault of your own, decides they hate you?”

    Whatever they choose to do; when that hate turns into action, decent people should come to their defense. Not in France nor anywhere should Jews be held accountable for the murderous and thieving occupation of Palestinian land that is being prosecuted by an Israeli government.

    The only exception to this is for those Jews and any others who give material support to the occupation and, of course, this would still not be a sanction for any violence against them.

    The current anger is understandable given that the Israeli government is currently headed by the likes of an Ariel Sharon, who actually supported racist “Jews Only” housing area laws on government land, in open discrimination against Israel’s own 15% to 20% Arab citizen population:

    http://www.eto.home.att.net/jewsonly.html

    http://www.newsfrombabylon.com/article.php?sid=1779

    But, when this anger is directed against “the Jews”, instead of the Israeli government, it is hideously misplaced.

    RC Dean:

    “in Israel the government is trying to defend its citizens against anti-Semitic violence”

    Among other problems, calling all of the Palestinian resistance to the Israeli government’s occupation “anti-Semitic violence”, gives real anti-Jewish bigots an undeserved pass.

  12. What is really depressing is that France has long held citizenship as a value that is not dependent on one’s religion or ethnicity. In this she is like her sister republic, the USA, and has long been a place of refuge for exiles. The refusal of Islamists to acculturate to secular French political culture, along with such anti-semitism as is found among Le Pern’s followers would scare the schmaltz out of me if I were a French Jew. While I think the Franco-American conception of a secular republic is the better way to go, I can understand the need for the existence of Israel as a bolt-hole. Unfortunately, a secular Palestine with equal rights for all citizens, regardless of religion, is, however noble an idea, a fantasy.

    What is nuts is the kneejerk need to parallel violence done to non-Israeli Jews in another country to “oppression” of Arabs living in Gaza and the part of Transjordan lost to Israel by the Arabs’ countries military incompetence.

    Kevin

  13. Not in France nor anywhere should Jews be held accountable for the murderous and thieving occupation of Palestinian land that is being prosecuted by an Israeli government.

    It’s always funny to hear you try to spin your frothing-at-the-mouth anti-Zionism as something unrelated to anti-Semetism, Rick.

    It would be marginally more convincing if you devoted some time to ranting and raving about Syria or Jordan, who are guilty of the “theft” of more “Palestinian” land than the Israelis are, and who between them have murdered a few orders of magnitude more “Palestinians”.

    And we’re supposed to believe that it’s an eerie coincidence that you focus all of your hate on Israel? It’s kind of cute, but it’s not exactly convincing.

  14. What governments are mainly about is protecting their sovereignty. That leads them to constantly sound like the Chevy Chase line: “I’m Chevy Chase and you’re not.”
    This leads pro-government folks to pay more attention to differences in people than they would otherwise.

  15. It looks like the US response in Saudia Arabia is the same one that Israel is using – “more fences, barbed wire, and armed guards.”

  16. You too! You too-ooooooo!!!!!

    Good one.

  17. Stephen Fetchet:

    “Rick gets to his anti-Zionist positions from the best of intents, and not from the basis of anti-Semitism.”

    I am not “anti-Zionist”, (did you really think that I was?) but rather I’m, “anti-occupation” (see thoreau’s delineation that he makes at 12:09 PM), but to the degree you’re sincere I do appreciate your reconsideration of my motivation.

    “Rick simply favors justice for the Palestinians and …fiscal prudence on the part of the U.S. Government.”

    Yes! I strongly favor both of those things.

    “I’m starting to think Rick is right. Being anti-Zionist doesn’t mean you are anti-Semitic.”

    I always thought that this was self-evident but the term “anti-Zionist” does not accurately define my position. I believe that the people of Israel, including the Arab citizens, have every right to live in an Israel which does not include the occupation of Palestinian land (Mandatory Palestine, via the British Mandate).

    “But the fact that all anti-Semites are anti-Zionists, doesn’t mean that all anti-Zionists are anti-Semitic.”

    Actually, there were anti-Semites who were very PRO-Zionist and had friendly communication with some of the founding Zionist figures. They wanted Jews to “get out of the neighborhood” so to speak. (See: Jewish History, Jewish Religion by Israel Shahak) Stephen, perhaps you consider that these people present a mirror image of the dynamic you posited; doing the
    right thing, but for the wrong reasons.

    “in Rick’s case, he points out that Israel’s existence makes a hash of Middle Eastern politics (in which we are entangled), and the U.S. government spends a lot of money keeping Israel afloat.”

    I don?t think that Israel’s mere existence makes “a hash of Middle Eastern politics”, in fact; I think that many of the other nations in the region could learn much from Israel’s relative liberty. This is another tragedy of the occupation of Palestinian land and the way the government treats its Arab citizens. These things blind the other nations to lessons that they should learn from Israel.

    Also, Israel would survive and prosper without US tax aid and this aid in fact finances the Israeli government’s occupation which harms the Israeli people as well.

    Stephen, concerning your ruminations about principle and segregation; I would like to point out that Jim Crow was often facilitated by government edict. In fact, in many cases the segregation that obtained was possible ONLY because of government edict.

  18. planethoth,

    The displacement of some 750,000 Palestinians upon the founding of Israel is hardly a myth. This, of course, is what the “right of return” question is all about.

    The historian Benny Morris documented that mass expulsion and he now admits that it was a murderous one, but he had written that much of worst of it was due to the confusion of the situation and not intentional.

    Norman Finkelstein refutes this idea of innocence in his Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict It is probably the best history of the situation available:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1859844421/reasonmagazinea-20/

    This, of course, is what the “right of return” question ia all about.

    BTW, although I feel no ethical compulsion to move
    away from the US, Tell me; Is Hoth cold everywhere?

  19. Sorry about the repeated sentence in my last post.

  20. This kills me to say this… but Rick may not be entirely wrong. Anti-Zionism isn’t necessarily anti-Semitism, and I may have been wrong to accuse Rick of it.

    See, I’m starting to think Rick is right. Being anti-Zionist doesn’t mean you are anti-Semitic. Sure, a lot of really odious anti-Semitic bastards would agree with the anti-Zionist position, and cheer anti-Zionism as a means of furthering anti-Zionism. But the fact that all anti-Semites are anti-Zionists, doesn’t mean that all anti-Zionists are anti-Semitic.

    I think I’ve misjudged Rick. You see, it’s quite possible to desire the same ends as really bad people, but to desire those ends for wholly noble motives – in Rick’s case, he points out that Israel’s existence makes a hash of Middle Eastern politics (in which we are entangled), and the U.S. government spends a lot of money keeping Israel afloat. Those are both good arguments supporting anti-Zionism, and the mere fact that Iran, and Hezbollah, and much of the Islamic world is both anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist, shouldn’t confuse us; Rick gets to his anti-Zionist positions from the best of intents, and not from the basis of anti-Semitism.

    Standing up and cheering for the elimination of Israel right now with the best of intentions, is probably comparable in some ways to standing up in 1955 in the Southern part of the U.S. and arguing in favor of continued Jim Crow laws – I think you can make some great, non-racist, compelling public policy arguments in favor of the Jim Crow laws. People who made such principled arguments should not be tarred with the same brush as the racist segregationists.

    In retrospect, there were several great arguments for continuing Jim Crow, and they had nothing to do with hating Black people.

    For instance, the Federal Government had no business telling the states what to do; the 14th Amendment had long been held to approve of “separate but equal” treatment. It isn’t racist to assert state’s rights, or to advocate textual methods of Constitutional and case law interpretation.

    Jim Crow laws also prevented a lot of racial friction. Had we all remained segregated, we wouldn’t have had all these racial discrimination lawsuits to deal with. We probably could have have probably skipped the Watts and Harlem and Detroit and Chicago riots, not to mention the Rodney King riots and the O.J. trial. Blacks and whites would have remained separate, hence less friction. With anti-miscegenation laws in place, families whose children tended to inter-racial romance could have avoided a lot of strife. Nevermind all the cost in welfare payments, when the government started taking an interest in how Black folk were doing. And that’s a good strong libertarian argument, right there – that we could have save lots of money.

    I could put up a number of legal arguments in 1955, that Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia and Heart of Atlanta Motel were all wrongly decided, and that the Civil Rights Acts of ’64 and ’65 were atrocities unfounded in the Constitution. None of these arguments mean that I’m racist.

    On the other hand, if you only knew my arguments, and what the end result would be if my arguments carried the day, and if you saw me standing next to Governor Wallace on the steps of a schoolhouse in ’62 expounding on my vision, then you’d probably find me pretty much indistinguishable from the guys in the white sheets.

    But as Rick will tell you, just because some awful people appropriate your legitimate arguments, it doesn’t mean that you are a racist or a bigot. Rick simply favors justice for the Palestinians and the indigenous persons of the Middle East, and fiscal prudence on the part of the U.S. Government. You shouldn’t judge him based on the other people who espouse that vision. Admittedly, any realist could tell you that wiping out the government of Israel and handing the land over to the Syrians or Egyptians would likely result in genocide for the Jews who live there, but that would be a mere unfortunate result for those people, stemming from our very principled actions.

    Am I understanding your point, Rick?

  21. planethoth,

    We can criticize the racist policies of the Sharon regime at the same time as we do those of the Palestinian Authority and the Jordanian government. The government should quit supporting ALL of the above with US tax dollars. Things will get better if they stop. Tell congress: http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

  22. Dan,

    What?? Did you actually read my whole post?
    Being against the actions of the Israeli government is, of course, very different from being anti-Semitic. The fazt that you can’t defend the Israeli government is no call for you to attribute to those who criticize it, an anti-Jewish bigotry.

    But Dan, I guess things would be easier for your little mind if all the opponents of the Israeli government were bigots since, judging by your snide and historically ignorant quote signs around the word; Palestinians, you would like to just wish them and their history out of existence.

    My pointing out Sharon’s overt racism is not, “ranting and raving” or “frothing-at-the-mouth”. It’s just a truth that you find unpleasant.

    To address directly your claim that my criticism of the Israeli government and our government’s funding of its shameful occupation of Palestinian land is somehow due to an anti-Jewish bigotry on my part, consider that;

    Israel receives billions in US tax aid, far more than any other nation. Don’t you suppose that a libertarian might focus his criticism there? But even with that I do not, as you said, “hate Israel”. It’s the Israeli government for which I harbor disdain. There is a huge difference!

    Also, in other threads here at H&R; I have called for an end to the half billion dollars that the Jordanian regime receives from our government every year, as well as an end to the many billions that the Egyptian government receives. Fortunately, the thug Syrian regime doesn’t get US tax aid.

    On other threads on H&R I have attacked anti-
    Semitism and had confrontations with those expressing anti-Jewish bigotry. I despise anti-Semitism and all racism. I know that all most all libertarians do.

    Dan, if you’re an honorable person, I think that you should apologize for inferring that I am a bigot, but I won’t quit eating till you do.

  23. I think Stephen Fetchet is missing the difference between questioning particular policies of the Israeli gov’t and disputing Israel’s right to exist.

    To put it in perspective, has Mr. Fetchet ever questioned a policy of the US gov’t? Probably, at least I hope so. Does Mr. Fetchet dispute our country’s right to exist? I doubt it.

  24. “For us (I’m Jewish), Israel is always home whether we’ve been there or not. Does that make more sense?”

    No. Sounds like you’ve been duped by some extremely effective marketing. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.

  25. I would be more willing to give Rick Barton the benefit of the doubt had I not observed, over time, his apparent overwhelming fascination with spreading the well-worn gospel b.s. that Israel is built on ‘stolen’ Palestinian land. Well then, Rick, I hope you will be returning to your ancestral homeland, (somewhere in Europe, I assume) since as an American, you realize you stole the Native Americans’ land from them.

    And you want to talk about racist? Then, you should look no further than the Palestinians. Under the laws of the Palestinian Authority and also of Jordan, it is to this day ILLEGAL TO SELL LAND TO A JEW, period.

    Put your money where your mouth is Rick. Leave America and give your land back to the indigenous people you ripped it off from, and then I will think there is something serious about your argument.

  26. ?Someone remarked recently at the astonishing hypocrisy of European diplomats and politicians in supporting the Palestinian “right of return” when so many Europeans are still living in homes stolen from Jews they helped murder.??Ron Rosenbaum

  27. Don’t worry about the repeat sentence in your post, Rick. Once you get frothing about the injustices done to the poor “Palestinians” MEGO sets in, anyway.

    Kevin

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