Tachles With Aviel – The Intifada in France

Will France learn from the dire situation it is now in, and will Europe become more sympathetic toward Israel as a result?

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: Islam, France
Demonstrators hold up smoke flares during a protest in Paris to commemorate 17-year-old Nahel, who was killed by French police. Photo: EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED BADRA
Demonstrators hold up smoke flares during a protest in Paris to commemorate 17-year-old Nahel, who was killed by French police. Photo: EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED BADRA

Let’s see how the French deal with their own nationwide unrest. Foreign media is quick to point out that the “riots came after police violence in France.” So we are supposed to have some kind of understanding for the violence due to an act of police violence? To what end? To excuse this Muslim outburst of violence and pretend like France’s Muslim population is otherwise perfectly peaceful? A 17-year-old Muslim was killed by a French police bullet, sparking the current riots. Can France be set on fire because of this? Surely not. But after five consecutive nights of intifada, it’s time to call a spade a spade. Muslims and Islam think and react differently than “white” Europeans. In private conversations I always say: “Welcome to the club.”

France is burning. In the numerous videos, the country looks like it is at war. Vehicles and houses burned in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Strasbourg and other cities. Numerous stores were looted, including Apple. More than 1,300 rioters were arrested and 79 police officers were injured. In addition, 31 police stations were attacked. Thousands of cars have been set on fire and 2,560 fires are believed to have broken out on public roads, the French Interior Ministry said yesterday. Over 45,000 police officers were mobilized nationwide. Due to the ongoing intifada in France, President Emmanuel Macron has canceled his two-day state visit to Germany.

Firefighters extinguish a burning bus during clashes between protesters and riot police in Nanterre, near Paris. Photo: EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED BADRA

I can very well imagine how the world would react if such a nationwide Palestinian intifada had broken out in Israel, especially if it was over alleged violence by Israeli security forces. There is no doubt that Israel’s government would be held responsible, because the world expects Israel to exercise an impossible level of restraint for the sake of stability in the Holy Land, while the Palestinians get away with murder. We are regularly told by Western powers to respond with restraint in order to calm Muslim anger. So perhaps I should propose the same to the French police and gendarmes: “Hold back and everything will be fine.” That’s what they always tell us. Christians especially like to tell me that “Israel must turn the other cheek.” A Messianic friend I met with over the weekend quipped, “Now the French can show us how it’s done.”

But it just doesn’t work. Or can it? Maybe in France, but not in Israel. Though even in Europe, the numbers aren’t promising. According to official figures, around five million Muslims live in France today, which makes up 8.2 percent of France’s total population (60.5 million). Unofficially, however, there is talk of more than 10 percent Muslims in France. According to the Pew Research Center, there were an estimated 26 million Muslims in the 28 member countries of the European Union, plus Norway and Switzerland in 2016. Six years earlier, seven million fewer were counted. Today it is even estimated that there are around 50 million Muslims in Europe.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have many Muslim friends and acquaintances, both in Israel and in Sinai. But what is happening in France now and could break out across Europe at any moment is a real danger for the Christian Occident. I know not all of our readers see Europe as “Christian,” for Europe has broken away from the Christian faith in general. But the point is that for the Muslims who are now plundering and burning France, Europe is a Christian continent. In the Arab press they even still refer to Europeans as “Crusaders.”

Earlier last week, a 37-year-old Iraqi immigrant burned pages from the Koran in Stockholm, Sweden, and announced further actions of this kind. The Islamic world reacted with outrage.

Demonstrators stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad. Morocco withdrew its ambassador. Erdogan condemned the burning with sharp words. When the Bible is blasphemed, the Christian world does not freak out, nor does the Jewish community worldwide.

On the one hand, these Muslims enjoy European democracy, hospitality, generosity and prosperity, but on the other they want to live their traditional lifestyle in Europe. And the French are now feeling that. In Israel, too, the Palestinians enjoy Israeli democracy, security and prosperity, and yet they want to live in the country without Israeli rule. We can best sympathize with what France is now going through, more so than other European neighbors. In relation to Israel, the Europeans have always believed they knew best how to handle the Muslims. And please don’t think this is a “I told you so” moment. I genuinely hope that Europe learns from this and becomes more considerate and understanding of Israel’s situation. And it should not be surprising that right-wing parties are on the rise in Europe, just as right-wing parties in Israel appeal more to the people than left-wing parties. A lot is changing, in Israel as well as in Western Europe, and we alone are to blame for that. We are too merciful to the others among us (each for our own reasons) and that is now coming back to bite us.


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