France's "Enemies of the People" Recognizing Anti-Semitism
In France today, Muslim anti-Semitism is spreading. But as it is now Muslim and not coming from the "far right," those who claim to fight anti-Semitism refuse to see it as anti-Semitic. How individuals become anti-Semitic criminals is explainable: When groups of human beings are defined as "enemies of the people," their elimination becomes logical.
Seventy years ago, on July 17, 1942, the Velodrome d'hiver Roundup took place in Paris. It was the greatest mass arrest of Jews ever carried out on French soil, and one of the main mass-arrests of Jews in Europe during World War II .
It took fifty-one years before a commemoration was held in memory of this crime. And it took two more years for a President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, to acknowledge France's responsibility for this crime. The new French President, Francois Hollande, was even more explicit this year; he talked about a crime committed "in France, by France." He added, most pointedly, that anti-Semitism is not an opinion but "an abjection". At a time when anti-Semitism is in France again, and just four months ago in Toulouse the worst anti-Semitic crime to have been committed in France since World War II took place -- the murder of three Jewish children and the father of two of them, by a French Islamist -- these words are not enough. It is necessary to look deeper.
In fairness, France was not the only country in Europe to have been infected for centuries with anti-Semitism, but French authors have played a particularly important role in the formulation of racist theories and modern anti-Semitism.
Few other European countries have seen the publication of a major newspaper devoted almost entirely to inciting hatred against Jews. Before Der Stürmer was published by Julius Streicher in Germany under Adolf Hitler, France was where Edouard Drumont published La libre parole (the Free Speech), from November 1892 to June 1924; hardly any page of La libre parole was devoted to anything but inciting hatred against Jews.
No viscerally anti-Semitic book has enjoyed the success of La France juive (Jewish France); written by the same Edouard Drumont; published in 1886; continually reprinted until 1938, and since 1986, available again in bookshops.
Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau, a French diplomat, played a founding role in the development of modern racism with his Essay on the Inequality of Races. His views (and those of his disciple, Houston Stewart Chamberlain), exerted a profound influence on writers such as Paul de Lagarde and Julius Langbehn, who played a crucial role in the development of German National Socialism.
At the time when Der Stürmer was published in Germany, Leon Daudet and Charles Maurras were the figureheads of the extremely anti-Semitic L'Action Francaise [The French Action]. It rivaled the ardor of the equally anti-Semitic Je suis partout [I Am Everywhere], overseen by French fascist writers Lucien Rebatet and Robert Brasillach, author of the famous sentence, "We must finish with the Jews as a whole, and not keep the small ones".
The Roundup took place in a context of pervasive anti-Semitism; the anti-Semitism was not limited to just a handful of people. And it did not magically disappear with the end of the war. The idea, long inculcated, that the crime was committed by a minority of bad apples that were "not France" has prevented a wider examination of conscience and allowed more easily the rebirth of anti-Semitism later, under more elegant packaging.
In France today, anti-Semitism in the manner of Edouard Drumont, Leon Daudet or Robert Brasillach has not disappeared, but it is minor. The main form of anti-Semitism is Muslim anti-Semitism. And since those who claim to fight anti-Semitism only recognize anti-Semitism when it speaks like Edouard Drumont, Leon Daudet or Robert Brasillach, anti-Semitism as it exists is not challenged.
In addition, France is not alone in having been occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II. The difference is that while France was occupied, it adopted a political regime based on active collaboration with Nazi Germany, and this regime was largely composed of people from the Left.
Even though some French conducted themselves with dignity and courage during that period, the large majority acted with cowardice. Many French denounced Jews. France had forty million inhabitants then, including almost "forty million Pétainists," as the title of a book by historian Henri Amouroux states.
Most ministers of the collaborationist government of Vichy were socialists before the war. The two main collaborationist parties during the war were the Parti Populaire Français (French popular party), headed by Jacques Doriot, a former Communist mayor of Saint Denis near Paris, and the Rassemblement National Populaire (Popular National Gathering), headed by Marcel Deat, a former Socialist deputy of Paris. Until the failure of Nazi-Soviet Pact, the French Communists were among the most ardent collaborators.
In 2008, Israeli historian Simon Epstein published a book, Un paradoxe français [A French Paradox], explaining in detail how the pacifist left of the 1930s became the collaborators in the 1940's. Simon Epstein's book was totally ignored by the French media when it was published.
The Roundup was organized by a regime based on active collaboration with the Nazis. Moreover, that regime was composed mostly of people coming from the French left. (...)