France Can Acknowledge Its Past Crimes against Its Jews, but Can’t Face Its Present Ones

July 27 2017

July 16 saw the commemoration of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup in Paris: the 1942 mass arrest, carried out by the French police on Nazi orders, of over 13,000 French Jews who were then shipped off to extermination camps. At the ceremony this year, French President Emmanuel Macron apologized for France’s actions and pledged to make France a country where the Jewish victims, among them over 4,000 children, would have wanted to live. 

But, writes Nidra Poller, the “tragic reality” is this: as shown most recently by the April murder of the sixty-five-year-old Sarah Halimi by a radicalized twenty-seven-year-old Muslim, France can’t and won’t fulfill that pledge:

If the descendants of those [murdered] children lived in France today, they might have to hide their kippot and Magen Davids, they might be harassed out of schools and neighborhoods, beaten up in the métro, accused of genocide against the Palestinians. If the descendants of those children lived in France today, the children hunted like animals by the French and exterminated by the Nazis, . . . they might be assassinated at a Jewish school in Toulouse [as in March 2012], their lives might be shattered by the savage murder of their grandmother in Paris in 2017. And who would be persecuting them? The descendants of immigrants and refugees from Arab-Muslim countries, the underprivileged victims of discrimination whom President Macron vows to protect [by means of the same] tender consideration that put a Kobili Traoré in the apartment downstairs of Sarah Halimi wthout first making sure he had integrated the values of the Republic.

[Unlike the situation in 1942], the French police did not pound on the door and drag Sarah Halimi from her home in the middle of the night. The police stood down, waiting interminably for reinforcements, while Kobili Traoré beat, smashed, and exterminated a defenseless Jewish woman.

The courage and lucidity to acknowledge the French crimes of the past falters in the face of French crimes of the present.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: European Jewry, France, French Jewry, History & Ideas, Holocaust

 

What Israel Can Offer Africa

Last week, the Israeli analyst Yechiel Leiter addressed a group of scholars and diplomats gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss security issues facing the Horn of Africa. Herewith, some excerpts from his speech:

Since the advent of Zionism and the birth of modern Israel, there has been a strong ideological connection between Israel and the African continent. . . . For decades, [however], the notion that the absence of peace in the Middle East was due the absence of Palestinian statehood prevented a full and strategic partnership with African countries. . . . The visits to Africa by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in 2016 to East Africa and in 2017 to West Africa—reenergized the natural partnership that was initiated by Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir in the 1960s.

There is much we share, many places where our interests converge. And I don’t mean another military base in Djibouti. . . . One such area involves the safety of waterways in and around the Red Sea. Curtailing contraband, drugs, arms smuggling, and other forms of serious corruption are all vital for us. . . . But the one critical area of cooperation I’d like to put the spotlight on is in the realm of food security, or rather food insecurity.

Imagine Ethiopia’s cows producing 30 or 40 liters of milk a day instead of the two or three that they produce today. Imagine an exponential rise in (organic) meat exports to Middle Eastern and even European countries, the result of increased processing, storage, and transportation possibilities. Cows today can have a microscopic chip behind their ears that sends messages to the farmer’s computer or mobile phone that tracks what the cow ate, what its temperature is, and what care it might need. Imagine a dramatic expansion of the wheat yield that can make Ethiopia a net exporter of wheat—to Egypt, perhaps in the context of negotiations over the waters of the Nile.

Israel has proven technology in all of these agricultural areas and we’re here; we’re neighbors. We are linked to Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa, in so many ways.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Africa, Ethiopia, Israel diplomacy, Israeli agriculture, Israeli technology