This was published yesterday at the JPost and reposted here, with footnotes not included in the original, and with the author’s permission.
NOTE: For more on Islamic anti-Semitism, click here.
France: Importing Muslims, and Exporting Problems to the Middle East
It came as a surprise for Israel’s leadership that at the UN Security Council, France voted in favor of Palestinian statehood. This was contrary to the positions held by the United States, Australia and Great Britain. The French vote should primarily be seen as one more gesture made toward its Muslim population: Muslims massively supported the candidacy of François Hollande in the 2012 French presidential elections.1
The French vote at the UN is a small part of far larger and more complex processes which occur in France and elsewhere within Europe. On Bastille Day, 14 July 2014, while the Protective Edge Campaign was taking place, Hollande announced that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not be imported [to France.]2 The previous day, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls had already stated that France would never tolerate having the Israeli-Palestinian conflict imported on French soil, via verbal violence or actions.3 The main reason behind these repeated declarations was the slate of attacks on French synagogues and other Jewish targets by Muslims.
These statements distorted the French reality. Hollande and Valls should have said something more truthful, to the effect of, “We will not let the Muslim aggressions against the Jews continue. French anti-Semitism in 2014 was even more severe and more prevalent than in previous years. The attacks on the synagogues were, yet again, extreme acts of violence by Muslims against Jews and Jewish targets in France.”
The main local anti-Semitic incidents had manifested themselves largely since the year 2000, almost immediately after the beginning of the second intifada. Before that, Middle-Eastern Muslims had already come to France to commit murder. In Paris, in 1982, for instance, at the Jewish-owned kosher style Goldenberg restaurant, six people were killed, most probably by the Arab Abu Nidal group.4
The remarks of Hollande and Valls further belied the facts regarding current events in France. Using the term “importing the conflict” would mean that the two so-called French “proxies” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, namely, Muslim immigrants and French Jews, were fighting each other. This was, and is not the case. For the past fourteen years, there has only been unilateral aggression, with most violence coming from one distinct direction: from those Muslims who carry out anti-Semitic incidents against Jews. Well before the start of the Protective Edge campaign, Sammy Ghozlan, the president of the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism in France, was quoted as saying that the vast majority of physical attacks in France against Jews are committed by Muslims.5
The “import” of the Middle Eastern conflict and the ensuing increase of anti-Semitism in France had already taken place much earlier. The potential for Muslim aggression against the Jews was already imported from the moment France allowed millions of Muslims to immigrate, unselectively. A 2014 Anti-Defamation League study showed that Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco are among the ten countries where the percentage of anti-Semites among the population is among the highest in the world.6 The immigrants from these countries brought their culture with them to France, and that included their anti-Semitism. Polls confirm the disproportionately large level of anti-Semitism among French Muslims as compared to the general population.7
The Jews were the first and foremost targets of the aggressors, but certainly not the only ones. By the autumn of 2005, major violent disruptions and acts of vandalism broke out all over France. The rioters were either all Muslim, or almost all Muslims. Hooligans and criminals of North and West African descent destroyed not only thousands of cars, but also large amounts of other public and private property.8
These problems had nothing to do with either the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or with any Muslim-Arab identification with the Palestinians. The riots were anti-French in nature, did not focus particularly on the Jews, and were a result of an immigration policy which France should have never allowed. The size of the immigrant population alone could have easily indicated to the various governments that France could not possibly integrate them into French society.
The issue of importing conflicts however, is much wider than France. The massive immigration from Arab and Muslim countries has brought about increased and more extreme anti-Semitism into many other Western European nations. Not only is the number of anti-Semitic incidents in which Muslims are involved disproportionately larger than their percentage of the local population, but the most severe of such incidents are often perpetrated by Muslims.9
Another social ill imported with part of the immigrant population is the marked tension between various groups of immigrants and between immigrants and native populations within several countries. For example, in 2007 in Doetinchem, the Netherlands, violence broke out all night between dozens of Kurds and Turks.10 In July 2014, there was a pro-ISIS demonstration in The Hague.11 In October 2014, 60-70 Kurdish protesters occupied part of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague, demanding international action to defend the Syrian town of Kobane against Islamic State fighters.12
The main country of conflict nowadays, however, seems to be Germany. Along with the support for the Islamic State among some German Muslims also came protests against this terror group, particularly by Yazidi and Kurdish immigrant groups in Germany, who were acting in solidarity with their home communities. In August 2014 in Herford, Germany, 300 Yazidis immigrants from Syria and Iraq protested IS actions against their communities. During the demonstration they were attacked by pro-ISIS supporters. Earlier in the day, a Yazidi restaurant owner and a sixteen-year old were attacked and injured by IS supporters for displaying a poster advertising the anti-IS demonstration.13 There were also over the years conflicts in asylum centers between Christians and Muslims.
In October 2014 there were violent clashes in the German cities of Celle and Hamburg. In Celle there were also clashes between Yazidi and Chechen Muslim immigrants. In Hamburg, an initially peaceful protest by Kurdish immigrants turned violent when Salafist Muslims confronted them.14
In addition, certain German extremists have joined the “imported battle” from the Middle East (and North-Africa.) They demonstrate under the banner “Hooligans against Salafists.” In the absence of Salafist demonstrations, they confront the police in the meantime. This was the case when 4,000 football fans and members of a neo-Nazi organization confronted the police, causing major riots in Cologne, Germany. The authorities faced great difficulties in containing the situation.15
All this, however, pales in comparison to current reactions to the German immigration. A new group called Pegida, (“Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West”) now marches against Muslim immigration and against having public funds support immigrants in the town of Dresden. Only a minority of the over 15 000 Pegida supporters are neo-Nazis. The remainder are ordinary citizens.16 In the meantime the Pegida type demonstrations are spreading to other German cities and so are counterdemonstrations.
What can one conclude from all of this? Once again, the Jews were the first to suffer, this time from Europe’s unselective immigration policies. Yet now the negative consequences of unselective Muslim immigration have reached completely different dimensions.
And as far as the recent French UN vote and France’s political stance are concerned, the French authorities may give futile reasons for the way they voted. The prime reason, however is related to the massive number of unselectively imported Muslims. In order to please them, the current French government is supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state, and thus exporting its domestic problems to the already much-troubled Middle East.
2 “François Hollande :”Le conflit israélo-palestinien ne peut pas s’importer,” Le Monde, 14 July 2014. [French]
3 “Valls ne laissera pas le conflit Iraélo-Palestinien s’importer en France,” Le Monde, 13 July 2014. [French]
4 New York Times Service, “Terrorist Abu Nidal Reportedly Found Dead,” Baltimore Sun, 20 August 2012.
5 “Report: Gang of youths taser French Jew at Paris monument,” JTA, 11 June 2014.
6 “ADL Global 100: A Survey of Attitudes toward Jews in Over 100 Countries around the World,” Anti-Defamation League, 2014.
7 “French Muslims see Jews controlling nation’s economy, media,” JTA, 16 November 2014.
8 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The Autumn 2005 Riots in France: Their Possible Impact on Israel and the Jews,” The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2006.
9 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Muslim Antisemitism in Europe,” Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism 4, 2 (2013): 195-229.
11 “Vlaggen met hakenkruis bij demonstratie”, De Telegraaf, 12 July 2014. [Dutch]
12 “Kurdish protesters break into European Parliament,” BBC, 7 October 2014.
13 “Iraq conflict resounds on German streets,” The Local, 7 August 2014.
14 “Reactions to riots in Hamburg, Celle,” Deutsche Welle, 8 October 2014.
15 Philip Oltermann, “Football fans and neo-Nazis clash with police in Cologne,” The Guardian, 27 October 2014.