Monday, November 21, 2005

Do French Canaries In The Coal Mine Sing Like Edith Piaf Before They Fall Off The Perch?

The Brussels Journal's Fleeing France points us to Barricaded in Paris:
Paris was burning for two weeks this month. But Jewish Paris has been burning for five years -- a steady, fiery precursor that went largely ignored by the French authorities. The rise of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000 sparked a wave of mainly Muslim-led, anti-Jewish violence in France that has since brought forth thousands of hateful acts aimed at French Jews and their places of business, study, recreation, prayer and burial.

Jew-baiting is but one bit of the ethnic disaster occurring in France today, but it is a telling bit: chiefly a case of entrenched European anti-Semitism against Arabs -- who, let's not forget, are Semites, too -- helping kindle a violent anti-Semitism against Jews.

The poor, disenfranchised Muslim youth who were rioting throughout France this month are the brothers of those who for years have been attacking France's Jewish population. Almost invariably they are members of a largely North African subculture of extremism -- a blister on the skin of France's overwhelmingly moderate and peaceful Muslim community of six million -- a subculture rising up after decades of maginalization, poverty and abuse.
I don't quite follow the logic of the second paragraph, as I don't see how anti-Semitism against very French Jews who come from communities centuries old is related to "anti-Semitism" against non-assimulated northern African Muslims whose communities have existed, at most, for a few generations. It may be technically true that these people are Semititc, but to call prejudice against them "anti-Semitism" is to deny the meaning of the term and excuse the French of racism and xenophobia. It is as if establishing a moral equivalence allows the French to be charged with a lesser crime.