Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk




   Recently, the foreign minister of France visited Lebanon and Syria and arrived at once at  the conclusion every French government has supported these fifty years. Israel alone is at fault and Arab terrorism is not to blame. The French also demand that the European Union, consisting of all the nations who participated in the mass murder of six million Jews in our lifetime, intervene on behalf of the Arabs by sending an armed force to Israel, no doubt including the Germans.

   The anti-Jewish attitude of the French is not new. Remember that Theodore Herzl founded the Zionist movement in answer to the infamous “Dreyfus Affair” which began in 1894 and continued for seven years.

    In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus of the French General Staff was arrested on the charge of selling French military plans to the German government. At once, the Catholic Church and the press denounced Dreyfus and all Jews as traitors. Mobs ran through the streets of Paris and other French cities and screamed “Death to the Jews” as Dreyfus was found guilty and condemned to the horrible French penal colony in South America called Devil’s Island.

    Despite the danger of physical attack, the novelist Emile Zola published a pamphlet in which he openly accused the army general staff of falsifying evidence against Dreyfus. This came about because Colonel Henri Piquart had found the fraudulent papers used to convict Dreyfus and handed them to Zola. Piqaurt was transferred to a colonial post and a second trial of Dreyfus was held. This revealed that Major Esterhazy, who had fled to England, was the real spy and that the documents used to accuse Dreyfus had been forged by a Colonel Henri. Despite all this, Dreyfus was found guilty a second time but pardoned by the president of France and reinstated in the army.

   The Dreyfus case demonstrated to the Jews of Europe and to Theodore Herzl that the Jews of Europe had no security anywhere, not even in France, the one country which was viewed as the very cradle of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”. The French revolution of 1789 had freed the Jews of Europe from the ghetto. The French armies under Napoleon had freed the Jews of Germany from the German ghettos. Yet, in France, such hate was so popular that Herzl, a correspondent for Die Wiener Neue Freie Presse or The New Free Press of Vienna, wrote his famous book Der Judenstaat. Subsequently he organized the first Zionist Congress at Basle, Switzerland in 1897. In 1898 he said that a Jewish state would be established in 50 years and he was right because the Holocaust engulfed us as he had feared.

   The French contribution to that great mass murder was considerable. During the German occupation of that country, from 1940 to 1945, the French police went out of their way to cooperate with the occupiers in sending French Jews to their deaths in the camps to the East.  Jewish children were also rounded up and murdered after their parents had already been deported.

   After the second world war the French refused to do anything about the murderers.  On the contrary.  Just as in Germany, the killers were given positions in the government of General de Gaulle and their collaborationist past covered up.  Yet it was the same Charles de Gaulle who sold Israel its atomic reactor only to change his mind later when he engaged in the most gross anti-Jewish polemics.

    During the past few years France has consistently sided with A. R. Fat and his terrorists. This is not because France is all that dependent on Arab oil, because France is the most nuclear energy consumer in Europe.

   The French tradition relative to its Jews is schizophrenic. The French government subsidizes kosher dining facilities.  Sometimes Jews are given cabinet level positions in the government. Two Jews, Leon Blum and Pierre Mendes – France have been prime ministers of France. Equal rights for all minorities is a cornerstone of French life. Despite the large Arab population in France now, French Jews have nothing to fear except that France, alone among the European nations, wants to impose the Arab agenda on Israel, like it or not.

    The ambivalence of the French towards their Jewish citizens is not new. As early as 1800 the French Revolutionary Assembly voted “to the Jew everything, to the Jewish nation, nothing.”

   Since then, the French Jews have been "Fiddlers on the Roof",  as the recent visit of the French foreign minister to Syria and Lebanon demonstrated once more.

Shalom u’vracha.


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