France is at it again


Following up their ban of the niqab, or face veil in public because it is a secular democracy, France has denied again, women the right to wear modest clothing while swimming and recently removed two Muslim women from a pool at le Port Leucate for doing so.  We wrote about this phenomenon last summer but it doesn’t look like people have taken our advice.

Two Muslim women were ordered to leave a swimming pool in a French holiday village on the southwest coast for wearing body-covering “burkinis”.

The women had plunged into the pool at le Port Leucate wearing full body swimsuits, including a head-covering hijab veil, but were immediately told to get out of the water.

The incident occurred less than two weeks after French MPs voted to ban body and face-covering garments, including the full Islamic veil, from public places including the street.

Under the new law, due to come into force early next year, women face a fine or community service for hiding their faces in public and those forcing women to wear the full veil risk prison.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has described the garment as “not welcome” in the staunchly secular French republic.

Now my question is if Muslims in France insist on asserting their rights in this secular democracy where certain things are not welcomed, what else will France do to them?  The history of Europe in the 20th century for religious minorities doesn’t bode well for French Muslims. Wars and ethnic cleansing have been the by-product of European religious intolerance.  My advice, if you’re willing to take is if you like swimming during the summer time, go to another country where you will be welcomed to vacation.  My advice to America is now is the time for an excellent marketing campaign to attract Muslim vacationers…..opps.  I forgot they’d probably be on a no-fly list, along with thousands of other law abiding Americans. My bad.

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First Person Account of Racism in liberal France


A Jewish Voice Against the Burqa Ban

Even as a Jew in New York, I know of what it is like to be Muslim in France.

While studying abroad in the French city of Strasbourg in 2007, I decided to grow a bushy beard. Little did I know that in France, only traditional Jewish and Muslim men don anything but the most finely trimmed mustache or goatee. Since I did not wear a yarmulke or other head covering, people who saw me on the street assumed that I was Muslim.

I felt that police officers and passersby treated me with suspicion, and even on the crowded rush hour bus, few chose to sit next to me if they could avoid it. On one occasion someone followed me home and tried to start a fight, only to find that I was a bewildered American, not a French Muslim.

Never before, and never since, have I experienced disdain of this sort. On a daily basis, I was made to feel badly because of my appearance — and what was presumed to be my corresponding religious affiliation. So when I read of the effort by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his supporters to criminalize the burqa (and other garments that fully cover a woman’s body, head, and face) in France, I understood it to be far more than a measure to protect women’s rights or preserve the concept of a secular society, on which the modern French state is built.

In my opinion, it is easy to see how the “burqa ban” might be misused as a part of a broader effort to stigmatize a religious population, one that already perceives itself to be on the margins of society.

Admittedly, I am fundamentally opposed to any garment or religious practice — including those found in my own Jewish tradition — that suggests that women hold a different or subservient position. But the burqa ban in France will not achieve the aim of gender equality. If anything, it will strengthen religious conservatives in France’s Muslim population by convincing members of the moderate majority of Muslims that the rest of French society will never accept them.

While there are said to be only 2,000 women who wear burqas in all of France today, the entire Muslim population, estimated to be around five to six million, will take umbrage at another measure that singles out their community.

If we assume that Sarkozy is genuinely motivated by the belief that the burqa “hurts the dignity of women and is unacceptable in French society,” according to an April 21 article in the New York Times, his best response would in fact be to enact measures welcoming Muslim citizens more fully into French society. Such affirmations would undercut efforts by the small minority of religiously conservative Muslims to gather a following among disaffected coreligionists who feel unable to overcome anti-Muslim prejudice.

The need for the French government to treat religious minorities with respect is bolstered by its own history. In 1781, the enlightened German thinker Christian Wilhelm von Dohm made what at the time was a revolutionary suggestion: “Certainly, the Jew will not be prevented by his religion from being a good citizen, if only the government will give him a citizen’s rights.” But it was the French who first put Dohm’s prophetic vision into action.

In 1806, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte emancipated French Jews by passing laws to improve their economic and social status. He invited them to live anywhere they pleased and recognized their religion, affirming its permanent place within the private sphere of French life. Though he did renege on several of his early commitments, Napoleon’s efforts ultimately enabled Jews to become a full part of French society.

Through these acts of profound tolerance over 200 years ago, France set an example for all of Europe and proved that its open-mindedness was more than rhetorical.

Modern France would do well to follow its own admirable example and truly treat Muslim citizens as equal participants in society. Foregoing the burqa ban would be a sensible first step.

The Feminist Hypocrisy


While faux pas French feminist criticize the candidacy of one of their own because of an article of clothing, America’s other allies, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have figured out how to make the best use of all of their human resources, men and women, those who wear a scarf and those who don’t but still want to serve their country.  Why a country would want to deny participation of one half of its citizens because of a scarf or a religious belief, even while the very same people want to serve, participate, protect is a study in racism and a mindset that takes people backwards in time we decided was counterproductive or worse.  No forward thinking country should countenance such a philosophy neither should a country support one that does.  A new America would do well to cast its lot with the likes of  Pakistan and the UAE and shun the homophobia that is overtaking Europe, and countries like France and Denmark and clearly and emphatically make a statement that the religious rights of a citizen of a country and that’s citizen’s desire to serve his or her country are the basis of solid, long lasting relationships America will honor.   Anything less than that is contributing more to the problem than to the solution.

France’s Fascism Rears it’s Ugly Head Again!


Twenty-first century France  has  replaced 20th century  Nazi Germany as  the European hotbed of political fascism, climbing on the backs of its Muslim population to claim this distinction much like German socialism climbed on the graves and skeletons of the European Jewish minority in the 30s and 40s.  Nationalism and secularism are the reasons given for this decision on the part of French government  to curtail the rights of a vibrant Muslim minority,  making a mockery of the French motto of ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ while inciting its citizens to turn against one another based on the clothes they wear and the religion they profess.  While the tombstones of French Muslims are desecrated,  French feminists, who claim advocacy of  a woman’s right to choose, bemoan and denounce the candidacy of a French women who supports contraception and abortion rights because she chooses to wear a scarf on her hair!  The hypocrisy of the French position, so steeped in bigotry and irrational hatred have led Ilham Moussaid to point out

It is with great sadness that I watch … my life reduced to my headscarf. It is with great sadness that I hear that my personal beliefs are a danger to others while I advocate friendship, respect, tolerance, solidarity and equality for all human beings.

It would appear based on what she says above, Moussaid is more French than any of her detractors.  Touche!

European Selective Media Reporting


Hat tip to Niqnaq

Zionist Fanatics Practice Serial Vandalism in Paris

Thousands of books drenched in cooking oil – that is the latest exploit of the Zionist fanatics who regularly attack property and people in Paris and get away with it.

In the early afternoon of Friday, July 3, five men, mostly masked, stormed into the “Resistances” bookstore located in a quiet residential neighborhood of the 17th arrondissement in northwest Paris. To the startled women working in the shop, as well as two customers, they announcing that they were from the Jewish Defense League and began ripping books off shelves and tables, dousing them heavily with cooking oil, and then smashing four computers before leaving rapidly in a waiting vehicle.

The bookstore is owned and operated by Olivia Zemor and Nicolas Shashahani, who are also the leaders of the very active militant group CAPJPO-EuroPalestine (CAPJPO stands for Coordination des Appels pour une Paix Juste au Proche Orient).  In addition to a wide collection of books on the Middle East and other subjects, including fiction, the bookstore has a reading room and a lending library, gives courses in English and Arabic, and possesses a modest but well-attended auditorium where authors are invited to speak.

Two and a half years ago, on December 7, 2006, a similar attack squad threw teargas grenades into the bookstore as a crowd was gathering to listen to the late Israeli author Tanya Reinhart and her companion, the Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai. On that occasion, Shashahani had to be treated for effects from the teargas but material damage was slight. This time, the entire shop is a shambles, with countless ruined books, and damage runs to tens of thousands of euros, according to Shashahani.

But, he stresses, this is only one in “hundreds of violent actions” carried out by the French version of the banned US Jewish Defense League in recent years.  There is no reason to expect them to stop so long as they can count on indulgence on the part of French authorities and the silence of the mainstream media.  The vandalism on the Resistances bookstore was reported by the French news agency AFP, but the dispatch was apparently carried only by the small tabloid Le Parisien and not by the major newspapers, much less by television.  Usually, almost the only people who are informed about such events are in the politically active circles targeted for intimidation.

The general public remains ignorant of these aggressions, while it is regularly informed by television of even relatively minor acts of anti-Semitism – some of them imaginary (as the famous case a few years ago of the young woman who totally invented a story of being the victim of an

“anti-Semitic assault” by blacks in the suburban commuter train in order to get attention from her family, and got the attention of everyone in France all the way up to the President of the Republic).  Real “anti-Semitic acts” occur, but most are no more organized than school-yard insults. However, the publicity they receive serves to keep alive the notion that the very existence of Jews is under perpetual threat – the basic alibi used by the Jewish Defense League. The false claim that “the French government does nothing to protect Jews” is used as a pretext for aggressive “self-defense”.

As disciples of Meir Kahane, the JDL not only favors purifying an enlarged Eretz Israel of Arabs, but wants to bring the fight against Arabs and “Islamofascism” to France itself.  Debate is not their style. After training in Israeli martial arts, they carry on their fight by physical means, attacking Arabs, Muslims and defenders of the Palestinian cause.  The JDL is an informal group of a few hundred members, rather than a registered organization with a headquarters.  The French police, adept at infiltrating every sort of political group, certainly must know who and where they are, but they seem never to be disturbed after one of their raids. Moreover, unless the aggressors identify themselves, victims cannot be sure whether they are being attacked by the LDJ or by Betar, an older Zionist youth organization founded back in 1929 by Vladimir Jabotinsky and close to Likud.  Both use similar methods, and probably overlap, although the LDJ, as the more radical of the two, is said to be draining members from Betar.

In the rare cases when Zionist fanatics are actually arrested and put on trial, they are usually treated with uncommon indulgence. In December 2003, a group of pro-Palestinian students were violently attacked by the usual suspects.  A Palestinian student suffered grave eye injuries. Faced with lackadaisical police, the students carried out their own investigation, leading to the conviction on September 16, 2004 of one Anthony Attal.  He was given a suspended sentence of ten months.

LDJ or Betar members also have the advantage of a “sanctuary” – Israel. On October 25, 2006, a 68-year-old pro-Palestinian radical militant, Ginette Hess Skandrani, was attacked in her own home by three unknown men who beat her savagely, explaining only “you know why”.  Hospitalized, her head wounds required several stitches.  Last February 4, her aggressors were finally convicted and sentenced, but:

— one of them, Ruben Colleu, was sentenced to two years in prison, of which 18 months were suspended – but he had already fled to Israel.

— the second, Stevel Elie, was sentenced to three years in prison – but the French court had already given him permission to go to Israel “to do his military service” in Tsahal.

— Only the third, Mike Sfez, was still around.  Like Colleu, 18 months of his two year sentence were suspended, and the remaining six months could be transformed into social work.

Only recently, large squads of presumed LDJ thugs have attacked theater-goers outside a benefit for children of Gaza and attacked persons of Arab appearance on their way to a meeting of diverse groups scheduled to discuss the “Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions” movement.

The LDJ has its apologists in the police.  On June 5, 2006, the head of the small right-wing Christian union “Action Police CFTC”, Michel Thooris, praised the LDJ and Betar for “performing a public service mission by defending people and property”.  He was not publicly reprimanded by his big boss, the minister of the Interior at that time, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The double standards of Sarkozy’s tough “law and order” policy are all too obvious.  His ostentatious policy switch from a certain traditional French balance in the Middle East to strong support for Israel is only likely to encourage the LDJ in its feeling of impunity.  This spring, a commercially successful author, Paul-Eric Blanrue, was unable to publish his book on “Sarkozy, Israel and the Jews” in France, and was obliged to find a publisher in Belgium.  Still worse, the usual French distributor of his Belgian publisher refused to distribute the book in France.  His press conference in Paris was unattended by any journalist and his book, which carefully documents Sarkozy’s policy of wooing Jewish support in France by aligning with Israel and attacking the “riffraff” in the suburbs, has been ignored by French reviewers.

Even though the market is saturated, there is always room in the media, however, for laments that France’s secular tradition is threatened by the “communitarianism” of… Muslims.  The ideological and violent provocations of fanatic Zionists are rarely singled out as the main cause of this disturbing trend.  Of course, France’s many militant intellectual Zionists do not resort to the methods of the LDJ and Betar.  But the theme of Jewish victimhood, which is constantly present in schools, in cinema, in political discourse and in the media, provides a congenial atmosphere for the pathological violence of the Jewish militias in France, and for the indulgence with which they are treated.

The situation is scarcely improved by the extreme fragmentation of the Palestine solidarity movement in France – which can be seen as just one aspect of the endemic sectarianism of the French left.  The various victims of LDJ or Betar violence – such as CAPJPO, Ginette Skandrani, the comedian Dieudonné, etc., etc. – are often not on speaking terms with each other, so that even if they all profess solidarity with Palestine, there is very little or no solidarity between them.

However, one may hope that the July 3 attack on the Resistances bookstore may arouse a broader protest than other recent attacks, quite simply because of the strong connotations of destroying books.  A protest demonstration has been called for the evening of Wednesday, July 8, to demand that the government finally ban the JDL, just as it has already been banned in the United States and Israel.  This will be an opportunity to show solidarity in resistance to the most active form of fascism in France today.

The French Government and Hypocrisy- One and the same


lorealLet me see if I understand this correctly, the French government can impose limits on what a hijab-demo-17jan04-741person can wear or not wear in order to attend government schools, yet a private company cannot say who it can hire to be sales staff for its products, even when the people appearing in those products are people of color?

France can ban the wearing of religious symbols even when those wearing them are doing so of their own free will in an expression of their religious beliefs in a society thatsupposedly  promotes, liberty, fraternity and equality, while insisting at the same time that companies do not have the right to determine who they can  employ in selling their products?  No one sees the slightest bit of hypocrisy in the French position?

People, who of their own free will,  practice a faith that may be different and not customary to the wider society  and choose to wear clothes that express themselves in ways different than the majority, but who are at the same time law abiding citizens who do not  frighten or intimidate others, should not have laws legislated which seek to limit or curtail that expression.  In fact the beauty of liberty and freedom means acts of social interaction are interpreted based on the law, which should should not be enacted to deny expression, but rather the acts of illegality that expression may or may not encourage.  Therefore, if a school girl walking down a French street is the victim of sexual harassment or assault it is the perpetrator of that action who should be limited not the girl wearing an article of clothing.   What the French want to do is take the act of discipline off their hands by removing the object of people’s ire, and in the process limit the freedom of its citizens.

Likewise, companies who have broadly used women of color in their advertising campaigns but choose to hire a sales staff they think may be able to sale their product to a broad based clientele should not have the weight of the State descend on them in a punitive way.  L’Oreal in France has to have the support of a majority of women of color in order to be profitable.  If hiring people that reflect a certain demographic will give them that market, how can the State justify changing that dynamic and jeopardizing the viability of the Company?  Will the State then say that the public MUST buy certain products in order to insure the success of a company so that it doesn’t go under because of the financially oppressive measures of the State?  Don’t be surprised if that happens next.

For now, France is following in the tradition of other western countries that seek to use expressions of liberty and freedom as slogans  which fall quickly when government wants to intervene in the lives of its citizens.  The tools the state uses for this intervention are usually fear and loathing of opponents who are unknown or unfamiliar.  Civilized people should recognize such tactics for what they are.  Ignorant people are too easily persuaded and succomb to the deceit.  The two cases above highlight how France is counting on the latter with its citizens!  Que sera, sera!

Libel in Sarkozy’s France


This constitutes libel in France, not free speech.

“The reports of the Interior Ministry will never acknowledge the hundreds of our brothers killed by the police without any of the murderers being held to account,”( wrote Hamé, now 32, whose parents came from Algeria in the 1950s.)

“The reality is that living in our neighborhoods today means you have a greater chance of experiencing economic abandon, of psychological vulnerability, of discrimination in the job market, of unstable housing, of regular police humiliations,”

France never ceases to amaze me how they always change the bar when it comes to freedom, and free speech.  Cartoons that inflame France’s largest religious minority is free speech and can be reproduced by as many papers as want, but a one sentence jab at another religious minority is worthy of getting the offender fired from his job.  The quotes above were enough for now French President Nicholas Sarkozy who as Interior Minister in 2003 filed charges of libel against the writer, rapper, Mohamed Bourokba.  Bourokba has been cleared of the charge but one can only wonder what will be Sarkozy’s impact as President on speech that he doesn’t like versus speech on or about people he doesn’t like.