Behind the French Elections

By Esther Carciente & Sidney Slivko
May 8, 2002

With an overwhelming majority of 82.21% of the valid vote in his favor, Jacques Chirac won the French presidential elections over le Pen in a landslide victory.

On the surface, it would seem that republican France mobilized against right-wing fascist and revisionist Le Pen, declaring loudly its abhorrence of all he represents.

However, encouraging as it is, this vote can't distract us from the new anti-semitism emerging in France and Europe on the wings of Islamism and anti-Israeli manifestations.

With 405 anti-semitic acts between September 2000 and January 2002, and 395 more between March 29 and April 17, 2002, French anti-semitism is becoming more frequent and violent, fueling a general feeling of insecurity for the Jews in particular but also for the general public.

France is becoming increasingly a country where the Jews feel insecure, threatened and where the joke of living with suitcases near the door takes a new and actual meaning. There is speak of emigrating to other countries, even Israel is becoming a possible choice.

Nothing can be sure till after the results of the second "tour" of the parliament elections in June 2002, but one of the first priorities of the new French president should be restoring the faith of the Jewish population in the French republican institutions.

POINTS TO PONDER

  • It seems that anti-semitism, once considered an intolerable evil after The Holocaust, is coming more tolerable. How widespread is this?
  • The State of Israel was established after The Holocaust as a "safe haven" for Jews who were victims of generations of anti-semitism. What is its role now?
  • What can we do to combat (or overcome) anti-semitism?


 

 

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