Anti-Semitic aggression in France

Numerous acts of anti-Semitism, including most recently an incident on the fringes of the yellow-vest protests, have caused concern in France in recent days. Protesters hurled insults at the intellectual Alain Finkielkraut on Saturday in Paris, and last week it was revealed that in 2018 the number of anti-Semitic acts rose by 74 percent compared to 2017. Who is responsible for this hatred, and is it a problem for the yellow vests only to deal with?

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La Stampa (IT) /

Protest movement at a crossroads

The yellow vests must now adopt a clear stance, sociologist Massimiliano Panarari demands in La Stampa:

“If the goal is to keep tensions running high in the country and to get as many people as possible to go out and demonstrate, then the movement will continue to attract not just many legitimate protesters but also all the fanatics who are simply 'against' the institutions. And it will also be infiltrated by the far right, who will try to shift the trend from anti-Macronism to anti-Semitism. Either that or the yellow vests' leadership will (finally) decide to take responsibility, isolate the violent, extremist and nihilist factions, and draw a clear line regarding which people - and acts - it really stands for.”

Libération (FR) /

Absence of rules fuels hatred

Leftist essayist and philosopher Raphaël Glucksmann explains in Libération why anti-Semitic incidents have taken place on the fringes of the yellow-vest protests:

“The fact that a social movement could be sullied to such an extent by anti-semites is largely due to the lack of a framework and to the crisis of intermediary bodies, namely the unions and the political parties. It would be wrong to see the absence of unions and political organisations simply as an emancipation, a positive development in and of itself. The unions and parties allow us to establish unshakeable taboos, rules, and principles for life in society. Without an institutional framework, without intermediaries, there are no more taboos. And when there is no longer a structure which allows anger to be channelled, democracy enters a crisis.”

Mediapart (FR) /

Government instrumentalising fight against racism

Those in power want to discredit the yellow vests, a group of associations and unions criticises on Mediapart:

“These anti-Semitic acts clearly bear the ideological signature of the far right. ... They testify to the spread of the far-right dialectic in a context of increasing social inequality. ... Nevertheless, the government and its allies have decided to seize upon such incidents and use them against the yellow vests, denouncing their alleged violence, anti-parliamentarianism and anti-Semitism. ... Structural racism is neither a product of the yellow vests nor of the minorities. It is caused by the state, which has engendered an unequal, violent society. We condemn the degrading manipulation of the fight against racism by those who more often than not have themselves promoted racism.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Europe without Jews isn't Europe

Anti-Semitism is a problem across Europe, Die Welt writes, sounding the alarm:

“Jewish communities in Britain warn that if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is elected prime minister the result could be a further exodus of Jews from Europe. ... What's now happening in France, where the number of anti-Semitic offences is rising fast, has already happened in Sweden: the Jewish communities give up and leave the country. ... This cannot and must not go on. We risk losing the battle against anti-Semitism in Europe - and ourselves in the process. Judaism belongs to the very core of the European identity. A Europe without Jews would no longer be Europe. It would be a farce, a scandal, the end of Europe as we know it.”