Does France Have a Problem? Here is Paris During a pro-Hamas Rally, Judge for Yourselves

For weeks now ever since the latest Israel-Hamas conflict broke out, Paris has been intermittently rocked by anti-Israel violence, rising antisemitism and violent attacks on Jewish synagogues and property.

Quenelles and fascist salutes by pro-Hamas protesters standing on the Place de la République statue during a banned demonstration on Sat 26 July 2014 (Photo Twitter)

Quenelles and fascist salutes by pro-Hamas protesters standing on the Place de la Republique statue during a banned demonstration on Sat 26 July 2014 (Photo Twitter)

Socialist PM Manuel Valls, speaking on July 21 at commemorations in Paris of the 72nd anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup  said: “Anti-semitism, this old European disease, has assumed a new form. It spreads on the Internet, in our popular neighbourhoods, with a youth that has lost its points of reference, has no historical conscienceness, and which hides itself behind a false anti-Zionism.”

The Prime Minister justified his decision to forbid an earlier anti-Israel demonstration in Paris (others were allowed in major centres around the country without significant incident) saying recent acts of violence against Jews in Paris “justify the choice to forbid”.  He added: “the historical reality of the Shoah (Holocaust) should not be denied, nor diminished (…)To laugh at the Shoah is to insult the dead”.

(The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup was the arrest of 13,000 Jews in Paris, by French police under German orders during World War II).

The full 19 minute video courtesy of the French government website is below:

Whether France has a ‘disaffected youth’ problem is not a new question. For decades immigration into France and indeed a host of other European nations has been a highly sensitive issue with many voters but much less so for EU leadership elites. For France a country with an estimated 3.9 million (2009) Muslims mainly descended from immigrants, the issue was a key factor in the European Parliament elections in May when the populist hardline right-of-centre Front National won 26% of the vote shaking the ruling Socialists to the core.

Jean-Luc Névache the prefect of the Val d'Oise speaking to the media at Sarcelles in the aftermath of the 20 July 2014 rioting and destruction (Screen capture)

Jean-Luc Névache the prefect of the Val d’Oise speaking to the media at Sarcelles in the aftermath of the 20 July 2014 rioting and destruction (Screen capture)

The latest riots were attributed by historian Georges Bensoussan in Le Point (Issue 2184 not online) to “anti-Jewish conflicts in the Maghreb that predate Zionism and existed in North Africa in the 19th century … Palestine crystallises the frustrations of those of Arab origin and the present Israel-Palestine conflict has reawakened this anti-Judaism. The Islamisation of some of the youth of Maghrebian descent in France has played an important role in the anti-Jewish radicalisation (that we are now seeing)”.

The gallery of photos below depicting the mayhem and destruction (which occurred at Place de la République even though the Paris Prefect had prohibited the gathering on the grounds of a perceived danger to public order) , is screen captured from video coverage posted on YouTube by French news teams and amateur photographers:

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Art Goldhammer veteran US commentator on French affairs and himself a Jewish academic and author writing on his blog ahead of the July 26 Paris disturbances noted: “the violence in Paris revealed, or revived, the equally unspoken reality of widespread hatred and hostility among French Muslims toward French Jews… I say ‘hostility toward French Jews’ (and not Israel) because, as (Pascal) Riché’s report in particular makes clear, while demonstrators may be protesting Israel’s policy toward the West Bank and Gaza–which deserves to be protested–they are also motivated by the belief that ‘the Jews control everything’ in France and elsewhere and that it is this occult Jewish power that dictates French policy toward the Middle East. This is a dangerously false belief, and it is almost as depressing to see it aired in the streets of Paris as it is to see demonstrators carrying effigies of the rockets that Hamas has aimed at Israel.

“A recent Pew poll showed that anti-Semitic sentiment in France is relatively low and that France is one of the least anti-Semitic countries in Europe. Unfortunately, this has been accompanied by an exacerbation of anti-Semitic sentiment within the Muslim minority in France. There is no doubt that this new polarization has been and will continue to be cynically exploited by politicians wanting to demonstrate a ‘tough-on-Islam’ stance at little or no cost. But what is to be done? The festering of anti-Semitic sentiment in a substantial segment of the population of any country is a most unfortunate development in 21st c. Europe. The only real solution is to end the conflict in the Middle East, but that’s like saying that the only real solution is the End of Time. It’s enough to make one weep.”

Newsweek has just published this in depth review of the growing problem in Europe: Exodus: Why Europe’s Jews Are Fleeing Once Again

The rioting and wanton destruction in Paris and the defiance of pro-Hamas groups who rallied on Saturday despite the ban, has resonated loudly around social networks. Some of the reaction to the violence is reflected below:

Watch dramatic amateur footage from the Place de la Republique demo posted to YouTube here: 26/7 La ManifGaza à Paris aujourd’hui n’a rien à voir avec la Palestine!

Related FrenchNews Online articles

Story: Ken Pottinger


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