What American Jews Can Learn from French Jews about Fighting Anti-Semitism

In France, the last three months of 2023 saw a 1,000-percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents when compared with the previous year. And this is in a country where the harassment of Jews, not to mention violent attacks, had already become commonplace. Norman J.W. Goda examines how French Jews have reacted to outbursts of anti-Semitism aimed at Israel, which have a long history:

President Charles de Gaulle’s November 1967 comments that the Jews “have remained as they have always been, an elite people, self-assured and domineering” and that Israel was “a warlike state resolved to aggrandize itself” were stunning to French Jews. . . .

Pro-Palestinian anti-Zionist organizations formed in France after the Six-Day War. They included university students who styled themselves as revolutionaries. Using the language of anti-colonialism still fresh from France’s ill-fated attempt to retain Algeria, these organizations also borrowed the legacy of the French Resistance, neatly turning the Israelis into the Nazis. French keffiyeh-wearing Communists complained of Jewish press control. “Palestine solidarity” events included distribution of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Goda argues that American Jews have much to learn from the responses of their French coreligionists:

They dissected and flatly rejected the linguistic ruses of the day, understanding that the anti-Zionism of the Third World and the European left was little more than anti-Semitism cloaked in a different kind of duplicity. They understood that if the French republican ideal truly strove for the dignity of humanity, it could in no circumstances excuse PLO terror, which strove not for human liberation, but for human destruction. . . . Most important, they found like-minded allies while speaking up, calling anti-Semitism out when they saw it, and even breaking with de Gaulle, who was still a hero to the aging former Resistance members among them.

Read more at Sapir

More about: Anti-Semitism, Charles de Gaulle, French Jewry

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security