REVIEW OF KNOBEL'S BOOK
Review of the book of Marc Knobel
Anti-Semitic hatred and violence - A Retrospective: 2000 - 2013
BY DIDIER BERTIN - 6 MARCH 2014
I- FORM OF THE BOOK
This thick book of 347 pages probably very expensive to publish and in any case to buy: 27 Dollars, is a too detailed database almost indigestible due to the very lack of synthesis and thread that should have permitted to transform this database into a real book.
Too many pages show in detail descriptions of facts and probably also copies of information from press agencies, newspapers and official reports and give an impression of abundant filling. The interpretation of the content by a historian misses terribly.
This retrospective claims to go until 2013, which is an eventful year on anti-Semitism in France, actually stops in 2012.
The chapters are mainly organized year by year within which they are in fact entangled. Events as demonstrations are described with a profusion of unnecessary details and reproduced almost in their entirety individual interventions when we expect summary or meaningful interpretation.
Series of opinion polls are reproduced probably from the reports of CNC DH (National consultative commission of Human Rights) and should be considered with caution because the surveyed individuals are inclined
to say what it is expected more than what they really think.
The lack of synthesis is not offset by the mention of the facts which do not always speak for themselves contrary to what seems to think Marc Knobel; if this was the case the sole reading of news in press publications would be sufficient without investing in a book.
II - CONTENT
If the form is disappointing the background is even more since hatred and violence are merely presented without in-depth interpretation. This book focuses on the situation of anti-Semitism in France without taking into account those of other European countries which would enrich its interpretation and understanding.
This book is by far too focused on the idea of a new anti-Semitism derived from Islam and from the Middle East conflict that would lie in France, an angelically non- anti-Semitic country whose laws would be so perfect that its liability could not be sought.
Jews are indeed in opposition to part of the Muslim community who would be immerged in the Palestine issue and would incorporate a very strict reading of the Koran.
Muhammad was indeed disappointed by the fact that the Jewish people did not accept him as prophet and number of known verses of the Qur'an dedicate an open and violent hatred of Jews e.g. verse 82 of Sura 5 (Al - Maida The table is served), verse 30 of Sura 9 (A- Tawba - repentance), verse 56 of Sura 4 (An - Nisan - women) and verse 69 of Sura 3 (Al-Imran - family). Fortunately many Muslims take a certain distance with the meaning of these verses. Also many Muslims are not satisfied that a Jewish state was reinstated in the Middle East, that is to say to them in Islam and would like to see it disappear.
This problem must be solved by a general dialogue that brought Islam to tolerate other religions and convictions and is not specific to the Muslim community in France which must in any case comply with the laws of the French Republic as all citizens.
If some Muslims free to their opinions have violent and intolerant behavior towards Jews in France, they mostly illustrate the inability of France to enforce its laws or sneaky will to refrain from enforcing them in some cases. The inability of France and other European countries to enforce their laws and not to take coercive steps to ensure that all communities live in peace involve directly their liability and this behavior is not always innocent. This is in contrast to the understanding of the phenomenon by Marc Knobel too absorbed by the facts and forgetting the source.
2 - France and anti-Semitism
The French Republic is responsible of the public order in its territory without which the country's integrity would be threatened and if current steps are not sufficient they must be increased. The Republic may not wish to take the necessary steps if it considers that the anti-Semitism is not a priority.
There was a time of permanent terrorist attacks in Israel and efficient steps were taken to stop them; is France unable to do what Israel did?
Substantial increase of penalties would have an immediate impact in France, where the anti-Jewish M'Bala does not even pay its weak financial convictions; so who mocks the Jews: France, Europe or the Arabs?
We should focus on the duties of the Republic and not on the Muslims as does Marc Knobel because we are in France and not in the Middle East and we are not in charge of the administration of Ministries of Interior, Justice and Education.
Who allows the Salafists to grow in France? Who allows the Arabic television to disseminate anti-Jewish broadcasts in France via a French satellite as this is rightly underlined by Marc Knobel? Who left Merah free? Why a second trial was necessary to punish adequately the murderers of Ilan Halimi? Why Jews are attacked in sensitive areas and elsewhere?
The only answer is that the French Republic does not or hardly takes the necessary steps. We should not either forget that France is traditionally an anti-Semitic country even if this displeases to Marc Knobel and in addition pro-Arab because of economic imperatives including the perfume of oil in front of which the Jewish community in France has no weight.
Considering the figures mentioned by Marc Knobel from a TNS Sofres opinion poll, 70% of French surveyed individuals said in May 2005 that anti-Semitism was widespread in France and the book may have started by this fact. The figures of the anti-Semitic actions and threats should have also been updated and itemized.
According to the CNC DH - National Consultative Commission of Human Rights in 2012 anti-Jewish acts and threats totaled 614 i.e. +58% and anti-Muslim acts and threats amounted to 201 i.e. +30 % and the other antiracist acts and threats totaled 724, i.e.+ 2%. These figures are not mentioned by Marc Knobel although his retrospective was assumed to include 2012 and 2013.
If we call racists all these actions we could say that on 1539 racist actions in 2012 , 40% were anti-Semites, while Jews of France represent only 0.9 % of the national population and for example Muslims about 7.5 % others say 10%.
The Muslim population represents thus 8.3 times the Jewish population and on the basis of equal populations, weighted antisemitic acts would amount to 5,096 in 2012 as compared to 201 anti-Islamic acts.
Racism in France is by far consists by far of anti-Semitism and should be the highest priority of the Republic; this should have been underlined by Marc Knobel.
Given these figures the leftist antiracist organizations still reluctant or even hostile to treat anti-Semitism appear to be political and partisan organizations even racist in a certain manner.
The best opponent to anti-Semitism in France in 2013 and 2014 was the Interior Minister Manuel Vals a Spanish citizen who became French and who seems to benefit of a positive independence of spirit as a result. Manuel Vals had to pay a price for his convictions as his fame decreased in the last opinion polls. The French accuse him probably of having been too offensive against the anti-Jewish M'Bala and this is an excellent indicator of the French mentality.
3 - In short, the origin of the French anti-Semitism
a) France is fed with values of the Church which has rooted in the minds the anti-Judaism and its stereotypes. Nostra Aetate of the Second Vatican Council is a poultice on a wooden leg as the Church remains deeply attached to a well-worn doctrine. This influence reigns on the conscious or the unconscious of many citizens, politicians and leaders of media.
b) France was the best student of the Nazi class during the Second World War and the subterfuge that has made France a last minute ally did not allow the country to do the moral work of memory that the Germans did.
c) Anti-Judaism involves that many French including leftists utilize their Christian value for compassion to load the Jews with all the sins and consider the Arabs as the weak victims of the powerful Jews. This perverse attitude can be found in all Europe whose actions have reduced the Jewish population on this continent from about 74 % of the global Jewish population in 1880 to 10 % in 2010. Moreover, this compassion is also nurtured by the Arab oil.
d) Number of MEPs including many French and members of the French Socialist Party supported the statement by the European Parliament in 2008 following that of Prague making the Holocaust equal to communist crimes and the Nazis equal to the communists. Finally the Holocaust ranked second as the suggested day of commemoration for the victims of the Nazis and of the communists is a day that symbolizes the anticommunist hatred. Only German MEPs did not support such an offense against the Jewish people.
4 - Return to the 30s
Contrary to what Marc Knobel think we are seeing a return to the atmosphere of the 30s and the economic situation as in 1930 plays a role.
The trivialization of the Holocaust started by the anti-Jewish M'Bala has met the views of the European Parliament and the European Commission seems open to the renegotiation of the rank of the Holocaust requested by the Eastern countries of the European Union.
Only one single French MEP supported a statement to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference. Marc Knobel was perhaps not aware of this situation.
Violent anti-Jewish group of French are formed around M'Bala and Alain Soral and others and utilize again the slogans of the 40s like the Jews out of France or Jews make us their slaves and dominates the world. It is a European phenomenon that is spreading especially in Eastern countries with the support of the governments as in the Baltic countries, Hungary and outside the European Union in Ukraine where anti-Jewish and Nazi militias have lent a hand to the new government in Kiev which might constitute a threat for the Jewish community.
3 - The freedom of Jews in France and the freedom of expression in France of Israeli leaders
Contrary to what we may understand from the book of Marc Knobel Jews have every right to show their commitment to Israel as well as to France like French Armenians are attached to Armenia or the people of Maghreb to their country of origin.
It is neither shameful nor embarrassing to be taken to an Israeli because Jews have a duty to support those who have made the choice to build what could be their shelter at any moment.
Jews should abandon "anymore" one single ounce of their rights to please to anyone and have to organize demonstrations to show their concern regarding the security of Israel and to react to the hateful provocations.
Israeli leaders are free to say what they think even in France about the safety of Jews and they have a duty to encourage them to leave in case of danger even if the truth displeases the French authorities who should start to enforce adequate laws and their sovereignty on the French territory.
If the Jews had to leave France because of the inability of the French government to ensure their safety it would be legitimate for Israel and the Jewish authorities to negotiate the payment of allowances to victims and to the host country.