8:51 AM, Oct 8, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an essay for Mosaic, a French professor writes that it's "The Twilight of French Jewry, the Twilight of France."
"If 100,000 Frenchmen of Spanish origin were to leave, I would never say that France is no longer France. But if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.” Thus declared Prime Minister Manuel Valls to the National Assembly in January 2015, within days of the homicidal jihadist attacks in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher supermarket.
What prompted this impassioned declaration? It is true enough that increasing numbers of French Jews have been leaving for Israel. In the past five years alone, more than 20,000 have done so, and since 2012 the annual figures have been moving steadily upward. Still, the French Jewish population, standing at about 480,000, remains the largest in Europe, and the latest surge, following as it does upon earlier, smaller movements of French Jews to Israel, is a far cry from the Prime Minister’s alarmed figure of 100,000. Is so massive an outflow really imminent, and, no less important, is there a sense in which the departure of a cohort of 100,000 Jews would truly mean the failure of the French political model of republican governance—that is, of France itself?
I. Jewish Emigration from France: Causes and Effects
Between the 1950s and the turn of the 21st century, the intermittent stream of Jewish emigration from France to Israel was mainly impelled by two factors. One was the positive pull of Zionism; the other was the negative push of anti-Semitism. But the latter, even though it could take on a violent or occasionally deadly form, was perceived, including by many Jews, less as a national problem than as a passing and unfortunate spillover from the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East or as a lingering expression of extreme right-wing hatred of Jews. Nor did the French government take it seriously. Until 2002, indeed, the socialists in power were in complete denial about the threat, and in this they enjoyed the complicity of the mainstream press, which operated on the (fallacious) premise that to publicize anti-Semitic violence would only exacerbate it.
Then, between 2002 and 2014, the number of home-grown anti-Jewish threats and acts—verbal abuse, desecration of cemeteries, swastikas on Jewish property, fire-bombings of synagogues, and other forms of violence up to and including murder—climbed to three times the figure for the entire previous decade. The 2006 torture and murder of twenty-three-year-old Ilan Halimi was a marker of this “new” breed of anti-Semitism, whose perpetrators were drawn from the impoverished and crime-ridden sectors of the Muslim community. Another such marker, six years later, would be the murder of a Toulouse rabbi along with his young sons and another child by the self-styled “Islamic warrior” Mohamed Merah. December 2014 saw a home invasion, robbery, and rape in the Paris suburb of Créteil; its Muslim perpetrators justified their choice of victims with the same words as Halimi’s torturers: “Jews have money.” And so it went.
Whole thing here.
2:20 PM, Oct 6, 2015 • By LEE SMITH
Today, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that Russia has violated Turkish airspace for a second time. On Saturday, a Russian plane crossed into Turkish airspace near the Syrian border, and in response the Turks scrambled two F-16s. In a subsequent incident, Ankara said that a MiG-29—flown either by Russia or its client Syria—locked its radar on to two more Turkish F-16s Sunday as they patrolled the border.
1:53 PM, Oct 5, 2015 • By JEAN KAUFMAN
Whenever I read about the European response to the current wave of “migrants” to Europe, one of the first questions that comes to mind is, “Why?”
4:01 PM, Sep 22, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Moody’s must have it in for France. Sure, its economy is moribund. Sure, its trade unions are among the most intransigent in the world. But surely the socialist government deserves some credit for one of the most significant reforms in 200 years.
Hungary’s Orbán cancels Merkel’s invitation.Sep 28, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 03 • By CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL
Until mid-September, the half-million migrants who had been marching northwards into central Europe seemed like the Old World equivalent of Hurricane Sandy survivors. Families uprooted by the war in Syria were seeking safety, according to this view of things. It was sad to see little girls sleeping by the side of the road, but inspiring to see European volunteers, with their clipboards and their bags of snacks, their water bottles and Port-a-Potties, showing such compassion and logistical expertise.
Labour elects an unelectable leader.Sep 28, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 03 • By DOMINIC GREEN
The eighties, as the hipsters among us know, are undergoing a revival. The music and fashion of the decade have been disinterred, and its politics too. Where, the pundits of America ask, is our Reagan? Meanwhile in Britain, the Labour party has revived its eighties’ follies by choosing an unelectable leader. Jeremy Corbyn is one of the hardest of the hard left, an ideological relic. His surprising success in Labour’s leadership election represents an unsavory turn in European politics.
Sep 21, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 02 • By CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL
You could tell that the plan European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced on September 9 for distributing 160,000 refugees around the European Union was slapdash. You could tell by the number of times Juncker felt he had to browbeat his listeners about their Nazi past. “We Europeans should know and should never forget why giving refuge . . . is so important,” he said. Of course giving refuge is important. So is democratic accountability. Right now Europe’s politicians owe their citizens an explanation, not a scolding.
European disunion.Sep 21, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 02 • By DOMINIC GREEN
Europe’s migrant crisis, the continent’s greatest humanitarian disaster since the aftermath of World War II, continues to worsen. The summer began with mass drownings in the Mediterranean and bickering between the European Union and the governments of its member states over who should foot the bill for search and rescue patrols of Europe’s southern coasts. The summer is ending with a series of appalling images that have galvanized public opinion, especially in the northern European states, and forced both national and supranational authorities to act.
1:14 PM, Sep 1, 2015 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
For the last several weeks, Air Force Secretary Deborah James has been touting the deployment of F-22 Raptor fighters – the best plane America owns – to Germany as “the strong side of the coin” in an effort to reassure Eastern Europeans who have seen their air space increasingly violated by Russian jets. “Russia’s military activity in the Ukraine continues to be of great concern to us and our European allies,” she said.
Victorino Matus, big spender.Jul 27, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 43 • By VICTORINO MATUS
Have you ever had two dinners in one night? I did, more than 20 years ago, in Budapest. My buddy Todd and I had gone backpacking through Europe, hitting 11 cities in 30 days. As students, we were careful not to overspend, staying at pensions and hostels and crashing at my former host family’s house in Germany. By the time we reached Budapest, our last stop, we’d saved more money than we’d anticipated.
8:14 AM, Jul 13, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
As he has for much of his post-presidency, Bill Clinton was on the road again in June, traveling to Europe at the end of the month for various conferences and other public appearances. After a few days in London, the president popped over to Paris for a day or two to shop at Hermès, a well-known luxury boutique. Such trips, however, do not come cheap. Hotel contracts for the president's Secret Service team for the Paris leg of the trip alone came to over $48,000.
4:29 PM, Jul 5, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The vote in Greece is running 60 percent “No” on the terms of its creditors. The same experts who had been predicting a close vote will now explain why it was a runaway in favor of … well, who knows. But count on the usual confident voices to sort it all out.
1:42 PM, Jul 3, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will not find a home in France. The French government has announced today it will not grant asylum to the fugitive.
"France has received the letter from Mr Assange. A closer examination shows that given the legal elements and the material situation of Mr. Assange, France can not act on its request. The situation of Mr Assange presents no immediate danger. He is also the subject of a European arrest warrant," the French government writes in a statement released by the Elysee Palace.
5:42 PM, Jun 30, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The crisis in Greece remains … a crisis. After five years, during which time everyone who was paying attention said it was a crisis. And, of course, the crisis went unresolved.