Tags: antisemitism | yellow vest | macron | france

Anti-Semitism of Yellow Vest Protests Roils France

Anti-Semitism of Yellow Vest Protests Roils France
People take part in a rally against antisemitism, at Republique square in Paris, on February 19, 2019. (Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 20 February 2019 04:16 PM Current | Bio | Archive

France, at the highest levels of government, has expressed outrage at anti-Semitic slogans launched in public against a leading French intellectual and member of the prestigious French Academy during another weekend of Yellow Vest demonstrations.

When several days later vandals desecrated scores of graves in a Jewish cemetery, French President Emmanuel Macron in a public statement said that anti-Semitism is “a negation of France and the Republic,” and tens of thousands of French men and women participated Tuesday in demonstrations against anti-Semitism in 60 French cities.

In Europe, and especially in France, when Jews are threatened, centrist political parties and progressive elements in society opposed to extremism go on high alert.

How to explain this resurgence of hatred against Jews in France and elsewhere in Europe?

The simple answer is scapegoating. When turbulence strikes, it’s the fault of the Jews.

The Jews are the tip of the iceberg.

Although Jewish responsibility for problems is a total fiction, the iceberg itself is very real: an explosive package of unbalanced distribution of wealth, financial power overriding industry and real economies, too much government and social spending, globalization, and uncontrolled population movements.

In almost all countries the environment for Jews turns sour in a direct line with worsening economic and social conditions.

But in a certain sense, France stands out because their revolution against privilege and in favor of equal rights for all men held out a special promise for Jews. It is no coincidence that the French Republic was founded upon the Rights of Man at about the same time as the United States adopted the Bill of Rights.

France’s promise quickly faded however because freedom, and the breaking apart of barriers between the social classes, brought about tensions, jealousies, division.

Just a few years after the Revolution, French politics broke down into a series of popular uprisings where hatred and violence coalesced around a continual conflict between Catholic Right and the social-conscious, secular Left.

Throughout the 19th Century and until World War II, the Right characterized the Left as Free Masons and Jews acting as an underground, behind-the-scenes, secret source of manipulating governments.

During World War II the French Vichy government persecuted Free Masons and Jews, not just because ordered to do so by German occupying authorities, but because they were legally classified as enemies of the true France.

Although guilt for the holocaust and then the great economic boom after the war put hatreds into deep freeze, when the quality of life for the French middle class slowly but surely turned downward, profound jealousies and social contempt came out of the closet in the form of street demonstrations that often turned violent.

Today support for the Yellow Vest street demonstrations and violence comes both from the Extreme Right and Extreme Left who prey on the sentiment that politicians are puppets of global conspiracies, high finance, Free Masonry, financial and real estate magnates, all grouped as the “elites,” too often a euphemism for Jews and their disproportionate influence.

It does not help that Jews with less than 0.02 percent of the world’s population have as of 2017 been awarded 22.5 percent of Nobel prizes and Israel, labeled an oppressive arrogant State, has more companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange than any country outside the United States, save China.

The Extreme Right and the Extreme Left, relying on massive support from the 6 to 8 million non-integrated Arab immigrants, have found common meeting ground in blaming these “elites.”

What good is coming from what is perceived as a national crisis is that the French government and mainstream press are considering the rise in anti-Semitism as a serious national priority.

Here are suggestions of action that are under consideration:

- Police the social networks to censor hate messages.
- Make serious changes in school curricula with the Jewish people taking their place not just as suffering victims, or, in the case of Israel, as an oppressor of poor Palestinians, but as a legitimate national entity among other populations in ancient and medieval history alongside the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Byzantines, Greeks, Persians, Romans, etc.
- Implement a prison system where dilapidated buildings are replaced with serious supervision and attempts at correction, not just punishment, and where today the antiquated system allows the inmates to take over prison governance.
- Reform the Justice system to become more independent of the executive and with judges selected not just from a magistrate school but from the most distinguished and respected members of the legal profession.
- Following the above reforms, repeal the absurd laws that automatically release on probation any condemned criminal to two years or less in prison.

The government takes seriously the need for action because first of all countries where anti-Semitism becomes a societal problem history teaches that democracy, human rights, and also economic growth suffer.

Secondly, the president himself is now threatened and much of the anger against him personally is centered on the claim that he has been put in power by banking and elite (i.e. Jewish) interests. The fight against anti-Semitism has thus become a fight for maintaining the current government in power and for the very legitimacy of the present system of governance.

Mark L. Cohen has his own legal practice, and was counsel at White & Case starting in 2001, after serving as international lawyer and senior legal consultant for the French aluminum producer Pechiney. Cohen was a senior consultant at a Ford Foundation Commission, an advisor to the PBS television program "The Advocates," and Assistant Attorney General in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He teaches U.S. history at the business school in Lille l’EDHEC. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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France, at the highest levels of government, has expressed outrage at anti-Semitic slogans launched in public against a leading French intellectual and member of the prestigious French Academy during another weekend of Yellow Vest demonstrations.
antisemitism, yellow vest, macron, france
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 04:16 PM
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