the impact of Israeli politics in France (and the world over)

“But what do Israeli politics have to do with Paris or France?” you may well ask.
Here’s what.  These photographs are dated January and February 2015.

twofourthreeonemore soldier school

These are French soldiers (partially paid for with the tax revenue of French citizens) standing in front of Jewish schools and institutions all around France.  Closer to home, here are machine gun-toting French soldiers on my street.

French soldiers secure the access to a Jewish school in Paris as part of the highest level of "Vigipirate" security plan

Yes, the end of my street has turned into a combat zone complete with metal barriers and army trucks parked on the sidewalk.  In January there were dogs.  I’ve changed my route to work because of this.  Back in January when I walked past the soldiers, the machine guns and the dogs, here’s what I was thinking –

Catholic schools do not have soldiers guarding them.  Secular schools do not have soldiers guarding them.  Private British or American schools do not have soldiers guarding them.  Why is it that Jewish schools and institutions require these elaborate security systems?  Why??

I had hoped that opposition candidate Isaac Herzog would win the Israeli elections and, as a result, the soldiers here would dismantle their military hardware and leave.  But that’s not how things turned out.  It looks like they’re here to stay.  And possibly reinforced.


Surely it must be “beschert” that Netanyahu won the election Tuesday, but not for the reasons his jubilant constituency might think.  (“beschert” is Yiddish for “it was meant to be” or “it was guided by heaven.”)  He has antagonized so many people now the world over – Jews and non-Jews alike – that the time has come for pressure to change.

Recommended reading –

Just who exactly are the Neoconservatives?

And lastly, an interview with Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges on the complicity of the U.S. government in Israeli military actions (as brought to light by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden).

18 thoughts on “the impact of Israeli politics in France (and the world over)

  1. I am not sure why everyone is so surprised by Bibi’s comments. The actions of Israel have been sending this message loud and clear for a very long time. I commend Bibi for finally setting all these fools standing behind him straight, and letting them know that Israel has never been a democracy and never will be (unless you are Jewish, of course).

    • There are many Jews who vigorously oppose Bibi, the Likud and hardline right-wing policy. Not enough, evidently, but they do exist.

      Israel is a parliamentary democracy that holds elections.

  2. Why do you blame Netanhayu for what the Muslims do? This is blaming the victims. What happens in Israel has nothing to do with Paris. It’s simple Jew-hatred for Muslims in France to attack the Jews next door. We have nothing to do with it. You don’t see exiled Tibetans attacking Chinese restaurants in Paris in protest at China’s policy to Tibet, do you? You don’t see Pakistanis in London attacking Indian food shops over Kashmir, do you? You should blame the PA or Hamas for stirring up world-wide Jew hatred than blame Bibi. Whether you agree with him or not, it’s not his fault that people are attacking Jews. The attackers themselves are to blame. (See for some videos about how the PA teaches children to hate Jews.)

    Also, to think that a compromise is possible is quite unrealistic. According to the Hamas charter:

    Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences
    [Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement…There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.
    ( )

    Under these circumstances, I think Netanyahu is right: there’s no point in talking about a peace settlement or two-state solution because one side has said a priori that it doesn’t want it. And by the way, when was the last time you read an article in the Guardian criticizing Hamas for rejecting the two-state solution? Everyone assumes they want it, but there’s no proof at all of that. On the contrary, they have stated categorically that they reject negotiations entirely. So it is hardly illogical for Netanyahu to say that under the circumstances, with the current government, there’s no point in talking about a two-state solution.

    For example, Netanyahu did agree to withdraw to the 1967 lines and made all sorts of other concessions, but the Arabs rejected it. See

    Shavua tov! And don’t blame the Jews. Blame the Jew haters.


    • The word “hate” was mentioned several times in your comment. It seems to me that many people who adhere to right-wing ideology dwell in a world of hate. This isn’t about “Jew-hatred”….at least my blog post isn’t. My comments come from anti-Likud and anti-Netanyahu sentiment. My comments come from anti-neoconservative (the architects of U.S. Foreign Policy and the war in Iraq…and the reshapers of the Middle East) and anti-far right wing sentiment. My comments come from anger at Israeli-Gaza violence and this culture of impunity we live in.

      You ask “Why do you blame Netanhayu for what the Muslims do?” When Gazan neighbourhoods are precision-targeted then decimated by Israeli air strikes and close to 3,000 Palestinian civilians die – THIS INCLUDES HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN…when Palestinian families are chased and terrorized from their homes by violent, extremist settlers (sometimes using dogs) to make way for unlawful demolitions in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem)…and when this action is followed up by illegal expansion of Israeli settlements….with the support and blessing of Netanyahu…do you still have to ask the question “Why do you blame Netanhayu for what the Muslims do?”

      And I haven’t even touched upon the illegal expropriation of water resources by Israel from the Palestinian Territories or the erection of the Separation Wall, better known as the Apartheid Wall. Nor the fact that a large percentage of those illegal settlers are subsidized by the Israeli government which transfers millions annually to the settlements.

      I agree with you about Hamas. The biggest enemy of the Palestinian people is Hamas. But please, stop justifying Israeli murders of innocents with the display of videos showing how the PA teaches children to hate Jews. I too can display videos showing indiscriminate IDF bombing with highly-sophisticated weaponry on poor, densely-populated civilian Gazan neighbourhoods. Those people didn’t stand a chance. I can display UNICEF images of dead Palestinian children murdered by the IDF. These are war crimes and it sickens me that individuals – on both sides – are not prosecuted.

      It has been proven that the Israeli military used flechette shells, which spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal metal darts, in its military operation in Gaza.

      What democratic civilized prosperous nation, as Israel is, behaves in such a heinous manner? Of course Israel has the right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Gaza, but this is hardly a proportionate response. This massacre was a grossly excessive use of force and grossly disproportionate to the damage Israel received.

      “What happens in Israel has nothing to do with Paris. It’s simple Jew-hatred for Muslims in France to attack the Jews next door. We have nothing to do with it.”

      Oh, stop playing the victim card.

      “We have nothing to do with it.” You try so hard to divest yourselves of all responsibility.
      If you voted Likud, you do. If you voted HaBayit HaYehudi, you do. Same for Yisrael Beiteinu and all those other far-right nationalist and religious fanatical parties.

      “You’re anti-Semitic”. This is the classic facile response to anyone who dares criticize Israel – a tactic aimed to divert attention from Israel’s transgressions. Let’s be clear – I’m not against Jews nor the state of Israel. I’m against extreme and radical right-wing actions, governance and policies.

      It also happens that I’m against killing children.

      “What happens in Israel has nothing to do with Paris”.

      Are you aware, Larry, that there are six million Muslims (10 percent of the country’s population) living in France? And that France’s Jewish community is the largest in Europe?

      In response to last summer’s Gaza killings by the IDF, the continued settlement-building on Palestinian territory, the general Israeli oppression and marginalization of Arabs, does it not occur to you that perhaps tensions might “spill over” into other countries? I have judiciously used the term “spill over” but, frankly, I see it as backlash. Or what journalist Michel Gurfinkiel calls an “importation of the Palestinian conflict into France.”

  3. Bravo. It’s high time that Israel be put on trial – in an international court of law. Impunity for Israeli war crimes, no longer!!

    • Israel exonerates itself over killing of Gaza boys on beach – June 12, 2015

      Four Palestinian cousins – aged between nine and 11 – were killed by an Israeli missile as they played near a bombed-out fisherman’s hut in the harbour area of Gaza City. At least four other boys, including three members of the same family, the Bakrs, were left wounded as they were targeted by a second missile while they fled along the beach in terror.

      It was a scene of carnage witnessed by journalists watching from the balconies of nearby hotels – and surely an indication that something had gone badly wrong in Israel’s military procedures for such a deadly strike to have been aimed at what were clearly children.

  4. There’s a heart-wrenching article in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper how, one year after the Israeli-Gaza war, Palestinian children are still suffering from psychological trauma.

    A year after the war, Gaza grieves for its child casualties.
    At a school where six boys were killed during last summer’s Israeli offensive, the loss is an open wound. For other young Palestinians, the scars are psychological.

    “About 1,000 pupils attend his school, arriving in two shifts – so many that he struggles to remember the names of all the boys killed in last summer’s war.

    “I remember Haitham Abdul Wahab,” he says finally, flicking through one of the picture albums to try to find him. “He was a good boy. He was well loved in the school. He was killed at his uncle’s house with his brother and mother.”

    Six pupils from the Doha school were killed in the war, more than from any other school in Gaza. In total, more than 550 Palestinian children died during the conflict. Across Gaza, schools lost pupils and teachers, and thousands were injured.”

    I am sickened by Israel’s actions.

    • Me too. I’m also sickened by Israel’s impunity. I read an interesting piece in the FPJ (Foreign Policy Journal) entitled “Why Israel’s Impunity Goes Unpunished by International Authorities”. Here’s an excerpt –

      It is an irony of history that an entity that claims to be innocent and whose people were the victim of the Holocaust has been itself committing the most heinous crimes in contemporary history.

      Antonio Gramsci spoke of the theory of cultural hegemony. He argued that big powers have made up global relations and structures in such a way as to serve their own tyrannical interests. As a result, the only outcome of bringing up Israel’s crimes at international bodies will be further disgrace for the Israeli regime and reduction of its international credibility. Apart from that, such institutions are not able to play an effective role in preventing Israel’s impunity.

  5. Juliet, please allow for this post as an eloquent comment in re Israel and the Palestinians

    • Sherman, you keep sending me stuff written by conservative Jews with a capital “C”. Of course Michael Oren is going to say that anti-semitism thrives in Europe, look at his profile that I got from Wikipedia –

      “Oren grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, in a Conservative Jewish household. He attended West Orange High School. As the only Jewish boy in a heavily Catholic neighborhood, he says he experienced antisemitism. In his youth, he was an activist in Zionist and Jewish youth groups such as United Synagogue Youth.”

      He then goes on to say – “Take, for example, the European Union’s recent decision to label Jewish goods from Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights.”

      Judea? Samaria?

      Judea and Samaria refer to the territory which is now known as West Bank. These ancient titles are purposely used by Zionists to justify their claim on the West Bank on religious grounds.

      Now, here’s something Oren says that I agree with 100% – “Tens of thousands of Palestinians are employed by Jewish-owned factories in the West Bank. Once these Israeli products are labeled, they will not be purchased or even stocked by most Europeans. The result will be a de facto boycott that will bankrupt dozens of Israeli companies and render their Palestinian employees — who earn far more than the average West Bank rate — unemployed.”

      I’m against the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) for that very reason. If it puts Palestinians out of work, then forget it. I just hope those Palestinian workers are paid well and treated well by their Israeli employers.

      “Europe seems obsessed with Jews. Unfortunately, that obsession — characterized by the singling out and demonizing Jews while embracing their murderers — keeps European anti-Semitism thriving.”

      It sounds to me like Oren is obsessed with Europe. I’m afraid, Sherman, that Europe is far too preoccupied with the non-stop waves of migrants flooding into its territory – not to mention Islamist terrorism, to be “obsessed with Jews”.

      • Hello Juliet, First, I appreciate your being open minded and fair enough to post the Oren article. I want to stress that I am not religious in the least. I do defend Israelas the Home of the Jewish People, who have a right to their homeland as do all peoples. The Arabs, as Oren points out, could have had their homeland had they gone along with the partition plan of 1948 instead of going to war, not once, but four times. Think of all the effort, life and time lost in vain when that effort, time and life could have been used to constructively build a Palestinian State side by side in peace with Israel.
        I appreciate that you are against the BDS movement. As for the settlements, whether they are called Judea, Samaria or not, I frankly do not defend them on any religious grounds. I do defend the right of Israel to have a strong and secure border until Israel and Palestine can live in peace as do other countries that share borders. Sadly, extremists on both sides, driven by religious fanaticism, will not share space holy to both. What makes it even more tragic is the many similarities between Jews and Muslims..

        I do wish you would be a little more open to the reasons this conflict has gone on for so long. Oren, I think has laid out those reasons in a logical manner. But, the bottom line, as I see it is, the intransigence on both sides by the fundamentalists, who are the root problem. I believe that if Hamas could renounce its charter to obliterate Israel and kill the Jews (no matter where they live), if the Muslim extremists and Jewish extremists could reason with each other it would be a better world. In the words of John Lennon, Imagine!


      • Sherman,

        While you’re watching John Lennon singing Imagine on YouTube, I’m viewing a Fred Astaire-Rita Hayworth dance number, also on Youtube. Go figure!

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