France may well show more fortitude and perseverance in fighting Islamist terror than is widely expected, argues Michel Gurfinkiel. But whether a reinvigorated French nation will become more sympathetic to its beleaguered Jews is another question entirely:
In recent years Jews have been a main target of jihadist violence in France, from the Jewish school massacre in Toulouse in 2012 to the Hyper Cacher massacre in 2015. It goes on: four days after the November 13 attacks, a Jewish teacher was stabbed in Marseilles by three men wearing pro-Islamic-State t-shirts. While the government and the political class constantly express their concern, and the police have provided large-scale protection to synagogues and other Jewish public places, . . . many Jews wonder whether parts of the public are not in fact indifferent, ready to wave away Muslim anti-Semitism and terrorism, even in France, as an outcome of an alleged Israeli unwillingness to come to terms with the Palestinians.
The new patriotic mood that has been emerging since November 13 seems to have muted this “argument.” Since everybody feels threatened now and everybody demands protection, there is much greater understanding and sympathy for the special case of the Jews. Israel is no longer described in the media as a country engaged in a colonial war of sorts against the Palestinians, but rather as a victim, along with France, of jihadist terrorism—and even sometimes as a positive example of successful anti-terrorist mobilization.
For all that, however, the long-term consequences may not be positive for Jews, and French-Jewish emigration, either to Israel or North America, will likely not subside. One reason is that greater ethnic and religious polarization means less toleration of all third parties.