France’s Anti-Semitism Problem Continues to Worsen, While Its Government Continues to Do Too Little

Feb. 27 2020

According to a recent and still unpublished report on anti-Semitism in eleven European countries—based on two years of research overseen by the former New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly—France is the nation most dangerous for Jews. Judith Miller writes:

Attacks and threats against French Jews surged 74 percent from 2017 to 2018, . . . and preliminary data for the first half of 2019 indicate “further intensification,” with another 75-percent increase last year. Moreover, the official estimates of some 500 attacks and anti-Semitic acts per year are “notoriously underreported,” according to the study.

Kelly and [his collaborators] blame the French government for failing to respond to the almost constant violence against, and harassment of, French Jews. Government funds to the Jewish community total just $3.7 million a year—“about one-fifth of what British Jews receive from their government, though France’s Jewish population is roughly double that of Britain.” . . . What the report calls the police’s “catch-as-catch-can” mobile deployments to protect synagogues and other Jewish facilities “provide little or no police presence and deterrence.”

To justify such indifference and what the report calls the public and private sector’s “inadequate” response to the growing threat, Paris hides behind its “lip-service to France’s secularism.” Requests for additional government funding to address security shortfalls would likely be rejected, prominent French Jews complained, . . . since France’s political, judicial, and law-enforcement establishment interpret their country’s “secularism ideology” to mean that the state “cannot give ‘special’ attention to one ethnic or religious group over another, even in the face of disparate threat or dangers.”

[T]he report stresses that the “single greatest threat of violence” against French Jews emanates from radicalization among portions of a growing French Muslim population, [which is in part] due to France’s failure to assimilate Muslims and to “anti-Semitic social media and satellite TV from the Arab world.” . . . Overall [its tone is] pessimistic. “Radical Islam is universally seen in France as a physical threat,” Kelly and his team conclude. “And this [kind of] more violence-prone anti-Semitism is certain to worsen.”

Read more at City Journal

More about: Anti-Semitism, Arab anti-Semitism, France, French Jewry

When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount