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March 23, 2003

French Jews Tell of a New and Threatening Wave of Anti-Semitism

A further indication of French anti-semitism (see post below from Jerusalem Post), in The New York Times

SEVRAN, France — Jérémy Bismuth is Jewish, though he doesn't wear a yarmulke or Star of David pendant or adhere to a Kosher diet or leave school early on Fridays to be home before sunset. Nothing identifies the 15-year-old French boy as Jewish except his birth.

Yet because he is a Jew, he was attacked by a group of other children, mostly Muslim, at the private Catholic school he then attended. They dragged him into the school's locker room showers shouting that they were going to gas him as the Nazis had gassed Jews. He was beaten and flogged with a pair of trousers whose zipper scratched one of his corneas.

For Jérémy and his parents, the incident a year ago was the harrowing confirmation of a trend that many say is gathering momentum: a resurgent European anti-Semitism, coming not from its traditional source among Europe's right-wing nationalists, but from the Continent's growing Islamic community, egged on by the political left.

"The political climate is too pro-Arab, and in the past year it has become intolerable," said Michèle Bismuth, Jérémy's mother at the family's home last week. She said her traumatized son would not leave the house for 10 days after the attack.

To some, such incidents, which have becine increasingly common since the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian fighting began more than two years ago, represent the Middle East conflict brought to Europe, where sympathy for the Palestinian cause runs far higher than in the United States.

"Since the intifada began in 2000, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been imported here," said the mother of another high school student who had a hood thrown over his head and was beaten to unconsciousness by a gang of Muslim youths calling him a "dirty Jew" outside a Paris high school two months ago.[more]