Who are the Real Anti-Semites?

It’s odd how when a Muslim mob attacks a landmark cathedral in Europe and assaults women outside the cathedral, that somehow means that it’s time to issue warnings about the new nationalists

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in France with reported hate crimes against Jews having doubled over the last year.

If you follow the news from the Continent, you might think that increased Anti-Semitism has something to do with the increased presence of Muslims in France. After all, as polling data shows, anti-Semitic attitudes are most pronounced in Muslim countries. In Algeria, 87 percent of the population harbor anti-Semitic attitudes; in Tunisia it’s 86 percent, and in Morocco, 80 percent. And, as it happens, much of the Muslim migration into France comes from these areas in North Africa. It would seem, then, that the rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes is mostly a factor of Muslim immigration.

If that’s what you were to conclude, it only proves that you’re a simple-minded American with no taste for nuance (a French word, I believe). A recent report by Human Rights First grudgingly admits that Muslim immigration does have something to do with increased crimes against Jews, but manages, nevertheless, to create the impression that the main culprit is the far right—in particular, France’s National Front political party.

As for Muslims? The report does say that the other major factor in addition to the rise of the far-right is “the resentment of disenfranchised immigrant and minority groups.” What immigrant and minority groups are being referenced? The report does hint that it might be Muslims, but is quick to point out that “French Muslims, immigrants and French citizens of Middle Eastern, North African, and sub-Saharan African heritage also suffer from hate crimes, prejudice, and discrimination.” Somehow the editors of the report manage to portray the chief persecutors of Jews as fellow victim with the Jews.

Ironically, the three hate crimes mentioned in the executive summary are the Paris massacre of November 13, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and the murder of four Jews at a kosher market shortly afterwards. Not surprisingly—at least to the un-nuanced—all those crimes were perpetrated by Muslims shouting “Allahu akbar.” The full report mentions four other incidents, including the murder of a rabbi and three children outside a Jewish day school in Toulouse. The assailants in all these cases were also Muslims. Where are the egregious examples of National Front hate crimes? The report apparently cannot come up with any; yet it manages to leave the distinct impression that if only the “xenophobic far-right” National Front would go away, the anti-Semitic problem would go away as well.

The report further undercuts its own conclusions by featuring a map showing that 50 percent of anti-Semitic incidents take place in three locations: the suburbs of Paris, Marseilles, and Lyon. The suburbs of Paris are notorious for their many Muslims no-go zones, Lyon has a large Muslim population, and the population of Marseilles—the “most dangerous city in Europe”—is over forty percent Muslim. Is it sheer coincidence that these are also the most dangerous areas for Jews? Yet the report does its best to shift attention away from Muslims and on to the far-right.

I first read about the report in a Catholic News Agency piece titled “France might not have any Jews in the future and here’s why.” The “here’s why” part is just a retailing of the Human Rights First report. So the Catholic reader is left with the same impression conveyed in the original report—namely, that anti-Semitism in France is mostly the fault of the political right.

In short, there seems to have been no attempt at independent investigation on the part of the Catholic new service. For some stories—say, a pope’s talk to a delegation of Irish step dancers—that kind of digging is unnecessary. But when it comes to a story about the future of Jews in France, a little more effort is called for. When Jews are being targeted the way they were during the Nazi era, it is important to get the story right. Moreover, the future of Jews in France is linked to the future of France itself—and also to the future of the Catholic Church in France. That’s because Islamic dogma requires the subjugation of Christians as well as Jews. And if Muslims in France are targeting Jews today, they will be targeting Christians tomorrow.

That already seems to be happening in neighboring Germany where, just prior to assaulting over 800 women, a Muslim mob subjected the Cologne Cathedral to a “massive rocket and ‘banger’ fireworks barrage that lasted the whole service.” In response to this provocation, the archbishop of Cologne warned about threats from “right and brown circles,” and the bishop of Eichstatt complained that German leaders were responding to immigrants in ways that were “right-wing and Islamophobic.” Meanwhile, over in Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn responded to migrant violence by warning against a “new nationalism.”

It’s all very odd. When a Muslim mob attacks a landmark cathedral and assaults women outside the cathedral, that somehow means that it’s time to issue warnings about the new nationalists. The term “new nationalist,” of course, is meant to evoke fears of neo-Nazism. It sounds very ominous until you remember that most Europeans—including European bishops—are several degrees to the left of Americans. Terms such as “far-right” and “nationalist” are labels for anyone who is not on board with the full liberal, borderless, socialist agenda. If applied to the American context, the European understanding of “far-right nationalist” would include almost all of the dozen or so GOP presidential candidates and a solid majority of American citizens as well.

The Human Rights First report on anti-Semitism was obviously shaped to conform to the liberal narrative. Boiled down, it goes something like this: Yes, these culture-enriching Muslims may be a bit of a problem, but that’s just because they haven’t quite adjusted to their new culture; the real danger always and everywhere are the nationalists. So the report goes easy on the Muslims and comes down hard on the right.

The question is, why do Church leaders and Catholic reporters want to march in lock-step with this distorted view of things? Why, with the exception of marriage and family issues, do they automatically side with secular liberals on every issue from global warming to immigration?

To put it bluntly, why can’t they think for themselves? Don’t they know that the fatal attacks on Jews in France in recent years have been perpetrated by Muslims? The CNA story reports that “the [French] government has stationed security outside of Jewish buildings and synagogues to protect them from vandalism and violence.” Violence from whom? The story doesn’t say. But anyone who has access to independent news sources knows about the numerous assaults by Muslim mobs on Jewish businesses and synagogues in recent years.

It’s true that Muslims aren’t the only ones with anti-Semitic attitudes. In France, such attitudes can be found on the right, left, center, and also, as the report takes pains to point out, among Catholics. According to the report, “Apart from groups affiliated with right-wing political parties, anti-Semitic attitudes are most prevalent among observant Catholics.”

Perhaps. But there seem to be a difference in degree. From what I understand, it’s perfectly acceptable in many polite French circles to make anti-Semitic jokes or to make disparaging remarks about Israel. On the other hand, in some Islamic circles in France, it’s perfectly acceptable to beat a Jew or kill him.

Many of the Nationalists groups in Europe include Jews. And most of these groups have made solid efforts to purge anti-Semites from their ranks. Geert Wilders, the popular leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, is the most prominent “far-right” nationalist on the Continent. He wants a complete end to Muslim immigration and he wants the Dutch people to regain a sense of pride in their national and Christian identities. Yet, in almost every speech he gives, he emphasizes his support for Jews and for Israel, and he often speaks fondly of the several years he spent in Israel as a young man.

The worst thing that the Human Rights First report has to say about France’s National Front Party is that although its leaders have attempted “to ‘clean-up’ the party’s anti-Semitic rhetoric and Holocaust denial,” its platform” still contains positions on ritual animal slaughter and public subsidies that are discriminatory against Jews as well as Muslims.”

Although any form of anti-Semitism should be rejected, that seems pretty tame when you compare it to the oft-quoted hadith attributed to Muhammad:

The last hour will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. The Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will say: “O Muslim, O slave of Allah! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!” (Sahih Muslim 41: 6985)

That attitude is very much alive today. In fact the Hamas Charter calls for the elimination of the Jews and incorporates the above hadith into its text. Hamas’s official Al-Asqa TV station often calls for the killing of Jews, including messages such as this:

Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah”

That frame of mind is no longer confined to the Middle East. After nearly decapitating his Jewish neighbor and gouging out his eyes, French Muslim Adel Boumedienne boasted “I have killed my Jew, I will go to Heaven.”

Undoubtedly there are observant Catholics in France who are both nationalists and anti-Semitic. But I doubt if any of them believes that killing a Jew will be his passport to heaven. Nevertheless, the opinion elites in Europe keep insisting that there is a moral equivalence between nationalists and violent Islamists. Catholics should avoid signing on to this simplistic and misleading view of things. The irony is that the people who want to raise the borders against an influx of anti-Semites are castigated as anti-Semites, while the people who are welcoming in the Muslim masses portray themselves as friends of the Jews. With friends like these, it’s no wonder many Jews are leaving France.


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About William Kilpatrick 60 Articles
William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Psychological Seduction, Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong and, most recently, Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West. Professor Kilpatrick’s articles on cultural and educational topics have appeared in First Things, Policy Review, American Enterprise, American Educator, The Los Angeles Times, and various scholarly journals. His articles on Islam have appeared in Aleteia, National Catholic Register, Investor’s Business Daily, FrontPage Magazine, and other publications. Professor Kilpatrick’s work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation. For more on his work and writings, visit his website, turningpointproject.com.