How French Politicians Helped Foster Anti-Semitism in France

Surveying the recent history of anti-Semitism in France, Shmuel Trigano argues that French politicians and intellectuals have simultaneously denied and encouraged hatred of Jews:

At the time of the Iraq war in 2003, President Jacques Chirac pursued an anti-American and pro-Arab policy. There were huge demonstrations in the streets against the United States and Israel. Because he attributed decisive influence over the Pentagon to Jewish Americans, Chirac feared [that] “American Judaism” would pressure Washington to turn against France if the extent of anti-Semitism in France became public. On one of his visits to Washington he brought with him a delegation of Jewish leaders tasked with declaring that there was no anti-Semitism in France in order to “calm” American Jews. The Chirac years were the darkest for French Jews in this period and put a negative stamp on the future fight against anti-Semitism. . . .

Taking its cues from the government, French society refused to recognize anti-Semitism for what it was. . . . The eruption of violence [against Jews by Muslim immigrants], it was similarly claimed, did not emanate from French society, but was rather an “imported conflict” from the Middle East. This dishonest phrase surreptitiously impugns the nationality of French Jews by grouping them together with recent immigrant communities, many of whose members are often dual citizens of North African countries. Neither could the violence be called anti-Semitic, it was further claimed, because only the Nazi, extreme right could be so termed. . . .

In the face of all this, the official institutions of French Jewry kept silent [about rising anti-Semitism] for an entire year. Finding themselves left to their own devices, each Jew, or at least the most conscientious among them, underwent a process of growing isolation from French society. . . . In every milieu, social as well as professional, Jews were reproached, summoned to apologize for or distance themselves from Israel, from Ariel Sharon. Those with dignity and honor refused this deal—one that would have offered them access to society and recognition; they preferred to leave behind the public sphere, with its enmity toward Israel and Jew-bashing.

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Anti-Semitism, Francois Mitterand, French Jewry, Israel, Jacques Chirac, Jewish World

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security