France is very upset with Ariel Sharon. So upset as a matter of fact, that Jacques Chirac, France’s President has told Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he is not welcome in France.
This is very heavy-handed and extraordinarily insulting language coming from a national leader of a democratic nation, to a national leader of another democratic nation.
Would Chirac ever say that to an American President given the same circumstances?
What Ariel Sharon said to invite this insult was not that big a deal. At least not in my opinion.
In a speech this past week to an American group visiting Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suggested that French Jews should immigrate to Israel in order to get away from the violent anti-Semitism that is played out in France virtually everyday by members of the more than 6 million Moslems living in that country.
Chirac is outraged. Why?
It is absolutely true that Jews and Jewish owned properties (including cemeteries) in France are regular targets for insults, violence and vandalism.
There are also other instances of extreme anti-Semitism France can not ignore.
1) The French murdered, displaced, dispossessed, disenfranchised and drove all Jews out of France during the days of the French Inquisition in the thirteen hundreds.
As a matter of history; Jews were not even allowed to enter France during that period.
2) In the late 1800’s, France tried to discredit all French Jews by framing Jewish Army Captain Alfred Dreyfus as being a spy for Germany. It took the Herculean effort of non Jewish writer Emile Zola to expose this anti-Jewish outrage.
3) In 1941, France opened the Concentration camp for Jews at Drancy (a community close to Paris), from where thousands of Jews were shipped off to Nazi death camps for extermination. With tens of thousands more murdered throughout France, as the French helped the Nazis do their evil work.
History can also not forget the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were rounded up by French police to be shipped off to Nazi Concentration and Death Camps. Or that Nazi Germany’s FIRST death camp was located in France.
Charles De Gaulle decided after Israel’s tremendous success in the 6 Day War, that France should boycott Israel and become the Arab World’s best friend.
After the devastating Arab loss to Israel, the Arabs needed everything military, including French War Planes. And that’s exactly what France did. They sold-out Israel, and supplied the Arabs with everything from Missile Systems to Mirage Fighter Jets.
4) In 1968, France refused to turn over 5 Gunboats made for Israel that were bought and paid for by the Jewish State.
5) During that same period, France also refused to sell Israel parts for Israel’s French built Mirage Fighter Jets which would have rendered Israel’s planes useless.
6) In 1981, Israel destroyed the Iraqi French built Osiraq nuclear reactor that would have otherwise given Saddam Hussein nuclear weapons with which to terrorize the world and destroy Israel.
7) In virtually EVERY UN vote to condemn Israel, France’s vote goes with the Arabs and Islamists. And in the Security Council where France has a veto, it is never used to overthrow horrible resolutions against Israel.
When I was a kid of about 10 years old, I had a French (Parisian) friend whose family emigrated to Canada from France several years after the Second World War. Even though my friend was very young at the time, he remembered with crystal clarity the night a group of French women who lived in their apartment building beat his mother while she held him close to her body to shield him from the blows.
He recalled his mother being beaten to the floor, where she was kicked and punched, while the attackers verbally assailed her for being a Jew. Not long after, my friend’s family came to Canada. I will never forget that story.
If nothing else, Jews have a terrible memory for the history of anti-Semitism, and always hope beyond reality, that the last time will be the last time. And when anti-Semitism rears its ugly head as it inevitably will: there’s genuine surprise.
In spite of Jacques Chirac’s indignation at the remarks of Ariel Sharon, France has a clear and uninterrupted history of anti-Semitism that all of his protestations will not change.
I imagine that what bothered Chirac most; was not what Sharon said, as much as that what Sharon said was true.
If Ariel Sharon didn’t say what he did about France’s Jews, he would have been guilty of ignoring history, and of gambling with the welfare of French Jews so as not to offend a French leader who’s not worth the time I’ve spent writing this article.
Screw Chirac! Bravo Sharon!