The wolf that cried wolf
Ariel Sharon is not only a rabid wolf himself, but he cries wolf as well.
The recent report by a disturbed woman of an anti-semitic assault on her and her child turned out to be false, but for
"We see the spread of the wildest anti-Semitism" in
, he said. France
Anti-semitism exists. It is as pernicious as any other oppression: racism (it's close relative), sexism, homophobia. But we must make a distinction between the anti-semitic attacks of neo-Nazi thugs who physically assault Jews and other minorities, and the thuggish attacks of young, often unemployed Muslims in western countries who face the twin assault of virulent Islamophobia and the exclusions and bigotry of the security measures in the West that accompany the war on terror - who rightfully simultaneously see their own plight as lying on same continuum as the occupations of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan.
Not that it feels much different on the receiving end: a vandalised synagogue or cemetery looks pretty much the same whether performed by Nazi thugs or Algerian kids from the
It must be said: There is no new wave of anti-semitism around the world. There simply isn’t.
This is not to condone such acts. The left must work much harder to incorporate minorities in general and Arab youths in particular into our organising for global justice and against the war, thus offering a much more constructive outlet for this frustration. This is especially the case in France, where the left, with a few exceptions, has lined up with the Chirac government in its racist attacks on Muslims who wear the Hijab in the name of some ‘laïcisme républicain,’ - the defence of which looks little different to national chauvinism elsewhere. When progressives do not open up space for the excluded and marginalised, where else does such anger go but into such destructive acts? In
And the number of attacks by these kids, such as do exist, is a fraction of the daily, often violent assaults on Muslims in the west by racists, the police and security services. In
In France, are Jews being rounded up, arrested in secret, tried and sentenced in secret, without being able to contact family, employers or even legal representation, deported or tortured and killed? No? Because that is happening on a daily basis in the United States to Muslims. We have no idea how many have been arrested in this way. It could be dozens. It could be hundreds. We have only the reports of these ‘new desaparecidos’ from their families in immigrant communities in the
If there is one good thing to come out of this affair, it will be that the French will react with indignation against
Fascism and anti-semitism do exist in elsewhere