Monday, July 21, 2014
The New Pogrom - Paris, 2014
The French government prohibited 'pro-Palestine' demonstrations after two synagogues were attacked, along with other violent incidents. But that didn't stop French Muslims, who raged through the predominantly Jewish Paris suburb of Sarcelles in what one police official called the “Paris Intifada.”
Sarcelles has been nicknamed little Jerusalem because of its large community of Sephardic Jews.Like most predominantly Jewish neighborhoods, it's a fairly quiet place, with the usual quota of Kosher markets, synagogues and small shops. What happened this weekend was anything but quiet.
On Saturday, 3000 people gathered near the Gare Du Nord, the main Paris metro train station and began marching up Barbes Boulevard, burning, looting and assaulting people who 'looked Jewish' as they went. 14 policemen were injured and 38 arrests were made. On Sunday hundreds of mostly Arab and North African youths marched through the streets of Sarcelles, wielding bars and clubs while shouting, “Death to Israel” and "death to the Jews."
The neighborhood’s largest kosher grocery Naouri was burned to a shell and so were a number of other stores including a local Jewish owned pharmacy and a funeral home. The nearby synagogue in Garges was firebombed, but fortunately not much damage was done. Windows were smashed, shops were looted and several passers by were assaulted.
Le Figaro reported that riot police attempted to disperse protesters and block access to another synagogue in Sarcelles, lobbing tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd. A number of police were reported injured and some journalists were assaulted as well.
“I live in Garges, near the synagogue, but I’m afraid to go home,” a young woman told the newspaper.
“We are seeing real scenes of urban guerrilla warfare,” Thierry Maze, a local law enforcement officer, told Le Figaro.
Many Jews reported being afraid to leave their homes.
Here's what Sarcelles looked like afterwards:
This pogrom - and it really can't be called anything else- has become a major concern to French Jewish leaders.From the Algemeiner:
In a Facebook post on Monday, France’s former chief rabbi Gilles Berheim called on the French government “not to tolerate this kind of behavior.”
“I watched from Israel with great concern and fear the violence that took place in Paris, in Barbes on Saturday and on Sunday in Sarcelles,” he wrote. “While the pretext for these demonstrations was support of Gaza, they are actually anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic demonstrations. This is unspeakable
Rabbi Levy Djian, a French Jewish activist living in New York told The Algemeiner that the series of riots show “we are entering a new era of real fear for the Jewish community of France.”
“Last week, in Paris, synagogues were attacked in broad daylight,” Djian said. “In Nice demonstrators screamed: ‘We are all Mohamed Merah’s!’ Then there were the riots in Barbes (Paris’s 18th district) yesterday, and there were the violent demonstrations in Sarcelles on Sunday.”
(note: Mohamed Merah was the jihadi who murdered a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulon back in 2012. Some hero..)
“The fact that the Muslims feel free to act against the police and the government is very alarming because who knows what will happen tomorrow? Many are talking about going to Israel but this can not be the solution to this problem. There are still many Jewish communities in France and it is imperative that they should be safe and feel totally secure.”
Rabbi Djian has it correct that France's restive Muslims no longer fear the police. Why would they? Certain arrondissements in Paris and elsewhere are known to les flics as La Zone, no-go areas where they only go in heavily armed bands when absolutely necessary. And for all the condemnations of the violence President Hollande and the Socialists owe their election to an almost bloc Muslim vote. They aren't going to bear down too hard.
France's Jews, no matter what, aren't going to feel 'safe and totally secure' in France and they are going to continue to be targeted. It is French Jews that are being attacked, not Israelis or Israeli institutions.It is French Jews, it has been happening for a long time now, and it is not going to change unless something unforeseen happens.
Despite Rabbi Djian's thought on the matter, going to Israel is indeed a solution that is appealing more and more to many French Jews.
As Roger Cukierman, President of Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF), France's major Jewish organization said in Le Monde Juif,the anti-semitic violence could very well drive France's Jews out of the country.
As the French will no doubt find if that happens, après le Juifs, le déluge, to change slightly an an old and famous quotation.