Photo Credit: flash 90

Last Saturday, well-known French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, born in Paris in 1949 and the son of Holocaust survivors, was verbally assaulted in a street of Paris by Islamist thugs who told him to “go back home to Tel Aviv.”

European anti-Semites tell the Jews to “go back” to Israel. Arab anti-Semites tell the Jews to “go back” to Europe. Wherever anti-Semites happen to be, they want the Jews to go someplace else.

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Almost one million Jews were chased from the Arab world, often violently, but eight million Jews persist outside Israel, in the United States, Europe, Canada, Russia, South America, Australia, South Africa, Ukraine, and dozens of other countries. But everywhere they live, Jews face increasing anti-Semitism.

If anti-Semites had their way, Jews would be nowhere on the planet, something that the Nazis said very explicitly, and something that modern anti-Semites imply, when they do not state it bluntly.

Yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a half-hour speech on the alarming levels of anti-Semitism in French. He admitted the failure of past French policies to fight anti-Semitism, including his own policies, and he promised new measures and decisive action.

I would like to believe that Macron and other Western leaders are honest and sincere when they fight anti-Semitism, but they should stop and think about how their message against antisemitism correlates with their general narrative on the Israel-Arab conflict.

I am thinking in particular of a claim that these leaders typically make, which is that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are illegal.

Have they considered the fact that Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria for thousands of years, and that they lived there until they were ethnically cleansed by Arab armies during the war of 1947/48?

Have they considered the fact that wherever Arab authorities, such as the Palestinian Authority, are in charge, Jews are forbidden to live, and that therefore Jewish settlements protected by the Israeli army is the Jews’ only option to live in Judea and Samaria?

These leaders’ message with regard to Judea and Samaria implies that it is okay to ban Jews from living somewhere, even if they have a long history in that place. Therefore, when Macron says that French Jews have every right to live in France, how can we expect French anti-Semitic thugs to take him seriously? He is, after all, very obviously contradicting himself, as are pretty much all world leaders. How can we expect anti-Semites to take any of them seriously when they denounce anti-Semitism in their own countries?

The anti-Semitic claim that Jews should not be allowed to live somewhere, anywhere, must be denounced by every moral person, without contradiction and without compromise. Jews should be able to live wherever they choose to live, period, including France, including Judea and Samaria, and even including the Arab world. Anyone who says otherwise is excusing and reinforcing anti-Semitism, regardless of whether they mean to do it or not.

Picture taken in May 2018 in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter of the Golden Menorah, a reproduction of the menorah in the Second Temple which was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 CE.
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Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected.