Wednesday, November 09, 2005

As promised, a return to non-mocha-related discourse

Too many articles to link to, and not enough time, so here's my Francophilic-Zionistic take on the riots in France:

The first assumption would be that Jews would side with Sarkozy. He's all Giuliani-like, cracking down on the bad guys, on a population that has hardly been friendly to Jews. But then, look a bit deeper: French Arabs are still considered to be "Arab" no matter how many generations they've been in France, and the same often goes for French Jews. Which means that French Jews have a special place in all this (not "chosen," alas, just special): They can both identify with being French-but-not-French and identify with the French government/ethnically French society in condemning any and all frightening, potentially Islamist acts within France or elsewhere.

The problem with my post, I realize, is that I am not a French Jew and thus cannot speak for how it "really feels" to be one right now. This sort of criticism is often affixed to American Jews who claim to speak for Israelis. (I do not make such a claim). The difference is that Israel would want me as an Israeli, whereas to be a true "French Jew," rather than a Francophilic American chock full of origine juive, would take significantly more effort and would require decisions to have been made, and effort to be French to have been put forth, by my parents, grandparents, and so forth. In other words, I can be accused of ignorance, but not hypocrisy. But my point holds, no matter what a bona fide French Jew would tell you: it's an ambiguous situation. My cousin Caroline writes in the Jerusalem Post:

Once the violence has been quelled and the leaders of the insurgency imprisoned or deported, the leaders of these official bodies - or alternative leaders - must be vested with the ability to bring French Muslims into French society. These efforts may involve ending the French welfare system as it is presently constituted and shifting subsidies from government handouts to job training. It must certainly involve consistently asserting law and order in the immigrant enclaves.

This is a conservative, Israeli take, no doubt, but it reveals that even a right-wing Jewish interpretation of the French riots need not be entirely critical of the Islamist or potentially-Islamist side and may well be surprisingly moderate.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Caroline Glick, oddly enough.

petey said...

Good lord, that's a long paragraph just establishing that you don't have standing to have an opinion on the topic at hand.

If I were writing your blog, I'd have mentioned that this is a good moment to rent La Haine.