Monday, November 13, 2023

France's March Against Anti-Semitism: Who Marched, Who Didn't

 Gary Fouse


-Agence France Presse

Yesterday, an estimated 180,000 French people took to the streets all over the country to march against anti-Semitism, an estimated 100,000 just in Paris. The march drew some controversy over who chose to attend and who did not. French President Emmanuel Macron, while he issued numerous statements against Jew-hatred, chose not to march, for which he is drawing criticism. Far-left politician  Jean-Luc Melenchon also refused to march since, well, he is pro-Palestinian. Conservative leader Marine Le Pen did march, and that drew comment since some have accused her party, Rassemblement National, of having some anti-Semitic influences. Much of that comes from Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has a long history of anti-Semitic statements.

According to the below article by Clemence de Longraye in the conservative outlet, Boulevard Voltaire, another group was noticeable by its absence. The Muslim community in France.

While it is impossible to gauge how many individual Muslims marched on their own initiative (a couple of dissident imams did, in fact, participate), it appears that community leaders discouraged their faithful from attending. Of course, today, France is remembering the 8th anniversary of the November 13, 2015 Paris attacks (Bataclan nightclub, etc) carried out by Muslim fanatics. It should also be pointed out that there are very logical reasons why few Muslims would join yesterday's march. One reason is the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, in which almost all Muslims support Hamas. Another reason is that anti-Semitism is deeply embedded in Islamic teaching. How could any Muslim religious leader urge their followers to march against what is in the Koran and the hadith?

The below article is translated by Fousesquawk.

Editorial: March against anti-Semitism-Largely absent, the Muslims

Clemence de Longraye  13 November, society, anti-Semitism 

"France marches against anti-Semitism". Seen from abroad, the fight against anti-Jewish hate seems unanimous in France. Really? This Sunday, 12 November, as 180,000 French (all religions combined) hit the streets to say "no" to anti-Semitism, one community was absent: the Muslims. 

The day after the demonstration, several participants were moved by this absence. On CNews, Meyer Habib, deputy of the Republicans for Overseas French, notes that "there was a large absence in this march, the Muslim community". An observation shared by the Jewish authorities in France. At the microphone of RMC, Elie Korchia, president of the Central Israeli Consistory of France, though he welcomes the success of this demonstration, laments this absence. "It's too bad. When you have the world on the streets, that all religions are there, and the one missing is the Muslim religion, it's a glaring absence," he laments. And his colleague, Joel Mergui, president of the Israeli Consistory of Paris, adds on France Info: " We did not see Muslims massively appealing to come and demonstrate."  

The silence of Muslim authorities

As Joel Mergui points out, the absence of Muslims in France in the march against anti-Semitism is notably due to the silence of the Muslim authorities. With the exception of some dissident imams like Hassen Chalgouni (Drancy) or Tareq Oubrou (Bordeaux), who publicly announced their participation in the November 12 march, the majority of Muslim authorities preferred to keep their silence. The organization, Muslims in France (UOIF), accused of proximity to the Muslim Brotherhood, though they claimed "to condemn all forms of hate or violence against our Jewish compatriots without reserve and with the greatest firmness,"  did not wish to respond to the appeal of Gerard Larcher, president of the Senate, and Yael Braun-Pivet, president of the National Assembly, to march against anti-Semitism. 

The French Council of the Muslim Worship (CFCM), for its part, made clear its refusal to participate in this demonstration. On November 8, on X ( formerly Twitter), the (group) hid behind the participation of the Rassemblement National in this march to justify its non-participation. In a press release, the CFCM explained that they "understand the reticence of Muslims in France to march alongside anti-Muslim racists". And it continued, "This march, which has the exclusive objective of denouncing anti-Semitism, should have made it a fight against racism. And there, we would have attended this march with all our hearts".

A new anti-Semitism

This glaring absence in the march against anti-Semitism also shines the light on the new anti-Semitism that the Jewish community confronts today. In effect, as revealed by "X-ray on anti-Semitism", conducted by the Foundation for Political Innovation (Edition 2022), 15% of Muslims say they "feel antipathy toward Jews, that is a proportion more than 10 points more than that measured in the population as a whole". Moreover, the hostile prejudices toward the Jewish community find a particular echo within the Muslim community. Thus, the idea of Jewish control over the media (54%, that is 30 points more than the French population) or finance (51%, + 27 points), is "shared by ( more than 50% ) of Muslims". This adherence to anti-Semitic prejudices is even stronger when the Muslim regularly frequents the mosque, Fondapol also notes. It is logical that the imams did not mobilize very much for the demonstration.