As The Daily Wire reported last Tuesday, 80 graves in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France were defaced and vandalized overnight. Tragically, this is a hardly a particularly rare occurrence in France. Last year, authorities in France — which, for decades following World War II, has had the largest Jewish population in Europe — recorded a massive 74% increase in reported anti-Semitic offenses. Sadly, there are far too many high-profile anti-Semitic incidents over the past decade to note, but some notable flare-ups include the Toulouse shooting of 2012, the deadly kosher supermarket shooting of 2015, and the brutal murder of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in 2018.
Often, “anti-Zionism” — that is, opposition to the State of Israel — has served as a fig leaf for anti-Semitism in France, as it has throughout much of the rest of Europe. For example, in July 2014, in the midst of the most recent full-scale Israel-Gaza war, “anti-Zionists” vile Jew-haters in Paris firebombed a synagogue:
A firebomb was hurled at a synagogue near Paris, part of a string of anti-Semitic incidents in Western Europe coinciding with Israel’s assault on Hamas in Gaza.
The firebomb went off Friday night at the entrance to the synagogue of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a northeastern suburb of the French capital, according to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. No one was hurt and the fire resulted in minor damage, Le Monde reported.
Last Wednesday, following the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in eastern France, French President Emmanuel Macron finally decided to state the obvious: “Anti-Zionism” is but one form of anti-Semitism. Britain’s The Telegraph reports:
France is to recognise anti-Zionism, the denial of the state of Israel, as a form of anti-Semitism in response to a surge in acts against Jews not seen “since the Second World War”. …
Speaking at the annual meeting of France’s largest Jewish organization, CRIF, Mr Macron said that France and other countries in Europe had recently witnessed “a resurgence of anti-Semitism that is probably unprecedented since World War II.”
“We have denounced it a lot, adopted plans, passed laws sometimes. But we haven’t been able to act efficiently,” he said. …
“Anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism,” said Mr Macron. “Behind the negation of Israel’s existence, what is hiding is the hatred of Jews.” Such guidelines in no way infringed on people’s right to criticise to the Israeli government and its policies, he said.
The definition of anti-Semitism promulgated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which France is set to adopt, states clearly that one form of anti-Semitism is, “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
As Reuters reports, the World Jewish Congress stated the obvious — more must come besides this one move from Macron: “This is just the beginning of a long road ahead. Adopting this definition of anti-Semitism must be followed by concrete steps to encode into law and ensure that this is enforced.”
Only the test of time will be able to judge Macron’s subsequent actions in cracking down on this age-old evil.