Thursday, October 8, 2015

Must Read: The Twilight of French Jewry, The Twilight of France

This writer clearly understands what I mean when I say that it's never "just" about the Jews, because what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.

The headline:

"French Jews are emigrating to Israel by the tens of thousands. Their departure isn’t just about them; it’s about the end of the French idea."

This headline should actually be seen as the epitaph for the French republic.

Among the many reasons for the death of both French Jewry and the French republic are things like this:

"This refusal to identify either the culprits or their victims by their proper names—a refusal typical also of the Obama administration—has perversely combined with the swift posting of police and military guards at Jewish institutions to make Jews feel that at best they have become “protected citizens” in their own country, reinforcing the idea that they are no longer at home in France but are rather a new kind of dhimmi. And this, too, has contributed to swelling the wave of aliyah."

And why? Because of the perverse, suicidal wishes of European elites, who flooded the country with antisemitic Jew-haters from various Muslim countries. The Jews who survived being persecuted, hunted dhimmis in their own countries, and fled to France, were now, once again being turned into hunted, persecuted dhimmis by the very same people they tried to escape from only a generation earlier. It's so perverse, so French. 

Thus, despite the general French antipathy toward the Jews: 

"The real game changer at home would not occur until later, triggered by the growing demographic heft of the Muslim population (today more than ten times the size of the Jewish population) and its burgeoning awareness of its own social and political weight."

"Whereas Jews had made themselves inconspicuous, Muslims started to demand more and more from secular society: removal of pork from school cafeterias, permission to wear the veil, provision of female doctors for women in hospitals."

"At first, French authorities reacted defensively, enforcing rules by the book and, in order not to be accused of discriminating, even banning many things that had hitherto been allowed to others, like wearing a skullcap in state-run facilities (public schools and hospitals, courtrooms, government offices at all levels, and so forth). Coerced at once by Islamic pressure and by lingering loyalty to their own principles, those who had long lived with the old ad-hoc arrangements became increasingly zealous in behalf of laïcitéand increasingly intolerant of religious differences across the board."

And lastly: 

"Welcoming and protecting persecuted Jews was for centuries the pride of a republic that aimed at embodying liberalism, secularism, and tolerance. In that sense, Jews had become a symbol of the success of the republican model. This is precisely why many members of the French elite regard Jewish departure as an insult and an outrage. For it tells them an unacceptable truth about themselves: namely, that the French republican idyll, one of the most attractive and promising chapters in the history of mankind, has reached the beginning of the end."

"France can still pretend for many more years to represent the epitome of Enlightenment, but it is a pretense, and an increasingly hollow one. And this is something that not only Premier Valls but, deep down, a majority of Frenchmen understand—just as everyone understands that Jews, the proverbial canary in the coalmine, are always the first victims, but others soon follow.

"On a sunny summer day, on the terrace of a typical Parisian café, a French ambassador, proud to regard himself as an embodiment of enlightened European and republican principles, was having a drink with a Jewish friend."

"They were indulging in small talk about a famous line by the poet Paul Valéry: “Civilizations, too, are mortal.” 

"Suddenly the ambassador fell silent, pondering for a few seconds, and then turned toward his friend."

Of course, you can always go to Israel,” he said. 

But us . . . where shall we go?”

Another thoughtful review is here, and it reads like a wistful political analysis in my view. 

Here's what Steyn said then, and note, this is Steyn quoting from fiction. But as we all know, truth can be even stranger and ultimately more disturbing than fiction. The Camp of the Saints is coming true, and the Houellebecq novel is coming true. Look what Steyn mentioned to me at the time. 

"“I don’t think the English edition is out, or coming out until the fall or whatever, but the new Michel Houellebecq novel, that terrific line that he says to his Jewish girlfriend as she’s getting out of the country [to Israel], “There’s no Israel for me.” And that’s the genius of Houellebecq. Hes actually put the continental European situation in one line. “There is no Israel for me.”

Au revoir, France