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"You spit when I walked on the street": The "new anti-Semitism" in France

PARIS – The solemn boulevards and quiet side streets of the 17th arrondissement in Paris bring Jewish life to life in France: there is an abundance of kosher food and restaurants and about 15 synagogues built just two decades ago

But for residents like Joanna Galilli, this area in northwest Paris is a tactical retreat. It has become a sanctuary for many Jews who claim to be harassed in areas of growing Muslim population. Ms. Galilli, 28, moved from a suburban Parisian neighborhood this year where "anti-Semitism is quite high," she said, "and you feel it tremendously."

"They spit when I go out on the street," she said, describing reactions as she wore a Star of David.

France has a painful history of anti-Semitism, with its worst hours in the 1930s and during the German occupation But in recent months a passionate debate has erupted over what commentators call the "new anti-Semitism" as Jewish groups and academic researchers pursue a wave of anti-Semitic acts against the growing Muslim population of France.

Almost 40 percent of racially or religiously motivated acts of violence were committed against Jews in 2017, even though they account for less than 1 percent of the French population of 500,000 people, and anti-Semitic acts increased by 20 percent from 2016, an increase that the Home Office described as "worrying." [19659002] In 2011, the French government ceased to categorize the perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts. Previously, according to a study by a leading academic, Muslims were the largest group identified as perpetrators. According to the researchers, the outbreaks of violence often coincided with conflicts in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians.

For the French government, the debate is profoundly complicated and also touches the country's political nerves as ethnic and religious fault lines. France has the largest population of both Jews and Muslims in Europe, and both employment and treatment by the police discriminate against Muslims.

French leaders fear that one side will oppose the other , This would violate a central principle of France – that people are not categorized by race or religion, but only by French citizens who are equal before the law.

"We are all citizens of the Republic, one and indivisible, but this is not reality," said a pollster, Jérôme Fourquet, who together with his colleague Sylvain Manternach published a recent book entitled, "Next year in Jerusalem, French Jews and Anti-Semitism "published by the prestigious Fondation Jean-Jaurès, a think tank associated with the Socialist Party

" All politicians talk about living together, "said Mr. Fourquet. "And instead we have de facto groupings based on culture and community, but recognizing that means recognizing the failure or collapse of the French model."

Gunther Jikeli, a German historian at the University of Indiana, the conducted a careful study of Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe, called the phenomenon "dazzling" evident "in a recent opinion article in the newspaper Le Monde.

In 16 surveys conducted in Europe over the last 12 years," anti-Semitism is in Jikeli wrote [19659002] "There is a kind of norm of anti-Semitism to see Jews as negative," he said in an interview.

Muslim leaders in France are outraged by the They reject the researchers' detailed findings and argue that the slogan "new anti-Semitism" is used by the Muslims of the L Andes, estimated at six to ten million, wrongly blame in times of increasing Islamophobia.

Violence against Muslims also increased between 2016 and 2017, but Muslims make up a much larger percentage of the population, nearly nine percent and possibly even higher.

But some Jewish leaders, independent scientists at universities and research foundations and intellectuals, especially on political law, say the phenomenon is real and threatening.

Many French Jews have voted with their feet. More than 50,000 have moved to Israel since 2000, compared to about 25,000 French Jews who left between 1982 and 2000.

Tens of thousands of others have left the peripheries of Paris and Lyon, where the Muslim population is rising and retreating Neighborhoods with larger Jewish populations

In June 2014, four French Muslims of African descent were arrested for robbing and robbing a young Jewish man and his girlfriend in 2014. The defendants, sitting in a glass box, listened in silence as the judge read the charges, including rushing to the couple's apartment in the Paris suburb of Creteil and throwing religious items to the floor. One should have shouted: "Jews do not give their money to the bank!"

"The pain is coming back," said one of the victims, Jonathan Ben Arrousse, 25, in court before the court opened on June 26. During the attack, he was handcuffed and gagged while his girlfriend was raped in another room. The revival of the attack was "very difficult".

The Creteil process comes barely three months after the murder of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, Mireille Knoll, in her Paris apartment by an assassin shouted "Allahu akbar." Protesters poured into the streets of Paris.

A manifesto signed by a former president, a former prime minister and numerous intellectuals, both Jews and non-Jews, warned of a "silent ethnic cleansing" reference to what Mr. Fourquet called the "large-scale phenomenon" of internal migration. The manifesto called on Muslims to renounce anti-Semitic verses in the Koran.

Nonetheless, the French leaders are hesitant to pronounce or condemn the term "new anti-Semitism" for reasons of caution that critics consider harmful.

"Fearing not to set community against another, you cover up things," said novelist and essayist Pascal Bruckner, a signer of the Manifesto after the death of Ms. Knoll.

In 2014, François Hollande, the then President, was cautious with the Créteil attack in the context of the "fight against racism" and "discrimination", although he acknowledged his anti-Semitic character. However, the examining magistrate did not do so, and the prosecution changed its course only after an outcry from Jewish groups.

Researchers have found a strong correlation between floods of anti-Semitic acts in France and flare-ups in the conflict between Israel and Palestine In the Middle East

Since 2000, when the second intifada or uprising began, there was an "explosion" of anti-Semitic Acts in France, which increased in 2000 from 82 in 1999 to 744, such as Mr Fourquet and Mr Manternach. In 2004, a synagogue was burnt down in Trappes, a suburb of Paris with a large Muslim population, as tensions over the intifada persisted.

Similarly, in the period 2008-2009, Israeli-Gaza reports of anti-Semitic incidents increased almost tenfold in a single month.

The number of anti-Semitic acts has fluctuated over the years since the first strong rise, dropped to 49 in 2013 and rose to 108 in 2014 when a pro-Palestinian demonstration took place in Paris Sarcelles suburb was violent, several kosher food items were burnt and Molotov cocktails thrown into a synagogue.

In comparison, the reported attacks against French Muslims who outscored Jews 12 to 1 increased between 2016 and 2017, from 67 to 72. 19659002] As anti-Semitic incidents began to gather, many Jews began coming from the neighborhoods of the Greater Paris region who have a large Muslim population, withdraw.

Mr. Fourquet, the pollster, cited many examples that used estimates of Jewish groups. In Aulnay-sous-Bois, the number of Jewish families fell from 600 in 2000 to 100 in 2015; in Le Blanc-Mesnil, to 100 families of 300; in Clichy-sous-Bois there are now 80 Jewish families, compared to 400; and in La Courneuve, there are 80 families, down from 300.

Ouriel Elbilia, a 17th-century rabbi, said Jews moved to the district because they felt threatened in their neighborhood. He added that his brother is a rabbi in Clichy-sous-Bois, northeast of the capital, but "there are virtually no services left because the community is empty"

One recent afternoon on the terrace in front of Garry Levys kosher restaurant on rue Jouffroy d & # 39; Abbans in the 17th arrondissement, the tables were filled with men wearing skull caps, an unlikely sight in the Parisian suburbs.

"People want to go where it's safe," Levy said. "They want to be in neighborhoods where they can go to the park without being molested by young Muslims."

Jewish groups say that wearing a skullcap in public may be dangerous in some immigration areas. In many areas, they say, synagogues are closing for lack of members.

"In the last 20 years, entire communities have been relocated," said Ariel Goldman, a lawyer leading France's leading Jewish social welfare agency. "These places are empty."

For Muslim leaders, the allegations are outrageous.

"People are leaving because they have reached a different economic level," said Mamadou Diallo, who runs a youth center in Paris from Nanterre, a western suburb. But he and about a dozen other young Muslims sitting at a table on a recent afternoon confirmed that they had heard anti-Semitic remarks.

"Too many for my taste," said Mr. Diallo.

Ahmet Ogras, President of The French Council of the Muslim Faith, specifically criticized the recent manifesto published by intellectuals and political leaders

"It was not a manifesto," he said. "It was a lucky bag," he said, bringing together an appeal to Muslims to give up parts of the Koran by claiming "ethnic cleansing."

"We were shocked," he said.

He said that Muslim groups are partners in the fight against anti-Semitism and that "you can not create" new "anti-Semitism." Jewish groups should "stop blaming Muslims," ​​he said.

"Why not?" Are you doing studies on Islamophobia in the Jewish community?

Rachid Benzine, a French political scientist of Moroccan descent, said that some Muslims felt discriminated against in French society, especially in matters of citizenship, and that they believed the Jews enjoyed a much better treatment [1965-9010] "What you need to understand is that there is some sort of obsession, fantasized about the position that Jews in the French Republic have that turns out to be a sort of grudge, a jealousy," he said. "And then there's the Israeli – Palestinian conflict that gives the whole of its energy. "

In the northern Parisian quarter Barbès-Rochechouart, it is easy to find routine expressions of anti-Semitism that are closely related to the anger over Israel.19659002] Umar Zarikh, a truck driver of Moroccan descent Under the elevated subway tracks in the immigration area, during Ramadan on a crowded market, it was s chnell prepared for the topic.

"It is the Jewish lobby behind it, the governments of the Fifth Republic," he said amid the denunciations of Israel as he searched for food to quickly break Ramadan. "They have the power in all European countries."

Michel Serfaty, a rabbi, has been traveling in good health through Muslim communities in France for more than 10 years, but recognizes a difficult struggle.

I saw it myself, "he said," day after day, the insults, and finally people say, 'Right, that's it, we're leaving. "

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