Senior French government officials this week were pulling no punches as they stated with perfect clarity that the violent anti-Israel demonstrations on the streets of Paris and elsewhere around the world are fueled by a racist hatred of all Jews.
Last weekend in Germany, demonstrators in Berlin hurled stones and rioters in Frankfurt vandalized a local synagogue as they protested Israel’s military operations in Gaza; in Los Angeles and Boston, pro-Palestinian protestors assaulted rival pro-Israel demonstrators; and while direct violence was more subdued in London rallies, anti-Semitism slogans were used as an estimated tens of thousands took to the streets in support of Hamas-ruled Gaza.
But nowhere was the situation worse than in Paris, which some noted had come to look a bit like Gaza as Muslim and other pro-Palestinian rioters rampaged through the streets.
After anti-Israel protestors wounded 15 French police officers, Prime Minister Manuel Valls forcefully addressed the issue:
“Traditional anti-Semitism, this old disease of Europe is joined by a new anti-Semitism that cannot be denied or concealed, that we must face. It happens on the social networks and in workers’ neighborhoods, among ignorant young men who hide their hatred of Jews behind a façade of anti-Zionism or hatred of the State of Israel.”
Those riots quickly turned into an anti-Semitic affair, as businesses in the largely Jewish neighborhood of Sarcelles were attacked and burned.
Standing outside a Sarcelles synagogue that was violently besieged by demonstrators, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve decried the anti-Semitism sweeping his and other nations.
“When you head for the synagogue, when you burn a corner shop because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing an anti-Semitic act,” Cazeneuve told reporters.
Anti-Israel activists like to claim that they have nothing against the Jews personally, and are only protesting “Zionism.” The same assertions are often made by Hamas officials when addressing an international audience.
But in the cases of both the anti-Israel activists and Hamas itself, the constant references to Jews in the context of “protesting Zionism” belie their true intent and the spirit behind their movement.