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French Rabbi in NYT: “Anti-Semitism Today is Hiding Behind Anti-Zionism”

In a profile in The New York Times today, French rabbi Saloman Malka said that the recent violent demonstrations in Paris and attacks on Jewish interests show that “Anti-Semitism today is hiding behind anti-Zionism.”

In the suburb of Sarcelles, known as “little Jerusalem” because it is home to 15,000 Jews, a kosher grocery and a Jewish-owned pharmacy were torched. A week earlier, a synagogue on Rue de la Roquette near the Bastille in central Paris came under attack while its congregation cowered inside. Demonstrators were heard chanting, “Death to Jews.” …

In Rabbi Malka’s view, the Israeli assault in Gaza, with its mounting toll of Palestinian civilian deaths, has given an anti-Zionist cover to attacks against Jews, spread on the streets and on the Internet by an angry fringe of France’s Muslim population.

Malka’s observation echoes that of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who said earlier this year that “[c]riticism of Israel that is based on anti-Zionism — that’s anti-Semitism today.” Malka also noted that the 2012 murders at a Jewish school in Toulose, and the murders earlier this year at the Jewish Museum in Belgium, “both committed by French-born Muslims — came about when there was no shooting war between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Ironically, “Rabbi Malka comes from the Moroccan town of Meknes, also once called ‘little Jerusalem’ because of a sizable Jewish population that has since all but disappeared.” But the Jewish population of Morocco, which was once 250,000, now numbers just a few thousand. While he is distressed by the barely disguised anti-Semitism, Malka nonetheless finds his loyalty to France unshaken.

The tone of the recent anti-Israel riots has prompted the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Italy to speak out against it. The elevated level of anti-Semitism in France has been a factor in motivating a growing number of French Jews to consider leaving and moving to Israel.

[ Photo: Jattitude TV / YouTube ]