Friday, July 21, 2006

Why The Mixed Messages From The French?

The Jerusalem Post reports the divison of the Europeans newspapers, in the Israeli-Hezbollah War. (Bullet points are mine)


  • "As always," Le Monde wrote at the start of the crisis, Israel had responded "by making disproportionate use of military force, in violation of international law." On Wednesday, the paper applauded French President Jacques Chirac's call for Israel to exercise restraint as "without a doubt the most legitimate policy."

  • The French president's plan, Le Monde wrote, was the "only way to preserve a common line with the United States and a kernel of international consensus." It warned Israel that in implementing its "optimistic" plan "to do away with Hizbullah, it must not destroy Lebanon's efforts to reconstruct its country."

  • The Paris daily Liberation condemned the world's "relative indifference" to the crisis, which it blamed on US President George W. Bush's "policy of going along" with Israel's decisions. "We can deplore, but we cannot be surprised by the general helplessness," it wrote Wednesday.

  • Le Figaro of also found fault with the United States Monday for not responding more quickly to the crisis and criticized Bush's attempts to bring "something positive out of this double war against 'extremists,' out of this wreckage of weapons and blood, at least that of civilians."

These are not surprising responses, within themselves. I would expect this, given their criticisms I have read in the past. In fact, I would have been slightly shocked to read otherwise. But for more clarity about where I am going with this, let's read on.

The History News Network has posted an essay by Edward Olshaker, entitled, Axis of Hypocrisy—Russia, US, UK, Italy, France Urge Israeli Restraint.
This is a good essay to read in its entirety, but here are the points I want to outline, for the purposes of this post:



  • On October 28, 2004—five months after Yasser Arafat’s Fatah murdered eight-month-pregnant mother Tali Hatuel and her four young children, execution-style—Chirac wrote a note of encouragement to the terrorist mastermind, who was being treated in a French hospital: “I wish that you could resume as soon as possible your work at the service of the Palestinian people…[France] will always stand next to you.” Yet on November 6, 2005, Chirac vowed to punish all who “sow violence or terror” in France.

  • In early 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including dangerous terrorists—the kind of concession that the French government, among others, welcomed as a step toward peace. Later that year, French authorities arrested thousands of young rioters, vowing to prosecute, imprison, and in some cases deport them. Releasing them as a goodwill gesture never appeared to be an option under consideration.

  • In July 2004, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier visited Arafat in his Ramallah compound, where he was confined after it was found that he had resumed his involvement in serial murder of civilians. Barnier scolded Israel for limiting Arafat’s freedom of movement: “I’ve seen the situation, and it is not suitable for him nor for the Palestinian people.” Yet the state of emergency declared in France in late 2005 empowered the government to limit the freedom of movement of countless innocent citizens by imposing curfews enforced by imprisonment and fines. It also provided for bans on public meetings, and house searches without a warrant—measures that would be widely condemned as “trampling the Bill of Rights” if they occurred in the United States.

  • “…as Jacques Chirac explained to Ehud Barak [in 2000], Israel, being the stronger side, must be the first to stop [the use of force, in its attempts to fight terrorism]” (Yaacov Lozowick, Right to Exist). For Chirac himself, however, being the “stronger” side carried no obligation to be the first side to stop the use of force or make concessions; on the contrary, the stronger side—his side—must dominate, period. Chirac proclaimed, “The law must have the last word. The republic is quite determined, by definition, to be stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear.” As reported by Amir Taheri in the New York Post: “The French authorities hit back, sending in Special Forces, known as the CRS, with armored cars and tough rules of engagement.” The CRS is described as having a “brutal reputation.”

  • Although instructions to shoot the elderly wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer and dump him off a cruise ship came from Arafat’s headquarters, Chirac’s reaction to Arafat’s death was to visit the hospital and announce, teary-eyed, “I came to bow before President Yasser Arafat and pay him a final homage…with him disappears a man of courage and conviction” and urge Palestinians to “continue to be faithful to Yasser Arafat’s memory.” An Associated Press report during last year’s intifada in French cities described an atrocity that brought back memories of the Klinghoffer tragedy: “Attackers [in a Paris suburb] doused [a] woman, in her 50s and on crutches, with an inflammable liquid and set her afire as she tried to get off a bus…” Chirac never announced any intention to find those responsible, arrange generous funding for them, and engage in peace talks with them, even though Chirac apparently needed his own peace partners in order to negotiate an end to what his police commanders described as “a state of war.”

  • After Israel was forced to hunt down terrorists in Jenin following the 2002 Passover massacre, Le Monde—displaying an obscene form of anti-Israel bias that has become more acceptable and commonplace during the Chirac administration—published a deeply dishonest and bigoted cartoon depicting Israelis as Nazis exterminating the population of the Jenin “Warsaw Ghetto,” further fanning the flames of anti-Semitism at a time when French Jews were being assaulted and synagogues and Jewish schools were being firebombed in epidemic numbers. Yet, although distortions and lies intended to demonize Israel are acceptable in the French media, merely reporting the facts about the French Muslim uprising was deemed inflammatory and therefore censored. “[France’s] largest private television network, TF1, refrains from airing footage of burning cars or buildings…The state-owned television channels, France 2 and France 3, have stopped reporting on the number of cars torched by rioting young immigrants every night…Explaining their restraint, TV execs say that they want to avoid inciting further violence.” (Wall Street Journal)

  • As reported by Martin Peretz of the New Republic, “France went into a frenzy to mobilize the countries of the EU at the UN to vote ‘yes’ on the General assembly resolution calling on Israel to take down the security barrier it is building against Palestinian terror.” Yet Chirac surrounded himself with a cozy barrier of protection when he went to lay a wreath in honor of fallen soldiers in late 2005. “Exceptional security measures were taken for Armistice Day ceremonies attended by President Chirac…under the watch of some 3,000 police officers…” (Agence France-Press) On November 16, the same day AFP reported that vandalism had declined “almost down to levels seen before the unrest broke out on October 27,” the French senate voted to extend the nation’s extraordinary emergency measures into 2006. Just to be safe.

My friend Super Frenchie regularly points to polls like this one, to support his claim that France is not as anti-semitic, as many Americans believe. Despite my skepticism concerning polls, Pew is one of the better polls. So, without making this about the poll, let's take the poll at face value.


So here we see that by taking Chirac's actions, the French media's highly critical wordings, and SF's polls, we are receiving a very confusing picture here. Why the disconnect in these three pieces of evidence? That's a good question and that's a fair question.


But since I do not live, nor have I ever lived in France, it's much more difficult to ascertain. I cannot go to the cafes and the inns for some refreshments, talk to everyday people, and stir up a conversation about this, on a daily basis. So I will depend on my French readers to help me understand, just why there is such disparity in the poll results, and the image that seems to be portrayed by the French mouthpieces (the government and the media).

(Keep in mind I am aware of the negative image that is being demonstrated by Spain. The stories on this, are here and here. And even Pat Buchanan has weighed in on this. But this is not about them. I want to know about France. And I am aware of the fact that criticism of Israel isn't always indicative of anti-semitism, not any more than criticism of the French government, media, or the system is general is French bashing.)



15 comments:

superfrenchie said...

Too many things to say. I might come back to this this weekend.

But quickly:

- as you noted, criticism of Israel has nothing to do with antisemitism.

- as you noted, criticism of Chirac is perfectly legit and has nothing to do with French-bashing. Ot the French would be the worst French-bashers in the world!

- If Chirac is to be criticized for talking to Arrafat, then so should Clinton, Netanyahu, Rabin, etc...

- "Jewish schools were being firebombed in epidemic numbers". Unless an epidemy starts around 2 (I'll try to find you the exact number), the author is high on something.

- "Later that year, French authorities arrested thousands of young rioters, vowing to prosecute, imprison, and in some cases deport them. Releasing them as a goodwill gesture never appeared to be an option under consideration."

My understanding is that no one (no one!) did any hard time for the riot incidents!

- “The French authorities hit back, sending in Special Forces, known as the CRS, with armored cars and tough rules of engagement.” The CRS is described as having a “brutal reputation.”

What?

Look at those numbers:

Riots in France:
Nights: 20 (Oct 27-Nov 16)
Deaths: 1
Injuries: 126 (police & firefighters) (6 a day)
Property damage: €200 million, or €10 million a day (about $11.7 million)
Vehicles torched: 8,973 (448 a day)
Buildings destroyed: 100 (5 a day)
Arrests: 2,888 (144 a day)
Government response: curfew, state of emergency

Riots in Los Angeles
Days: 6 (April 29-May 4)
Deaths: 50-60 (around 10 a day)
Injuries: 2,000 (333 a day)
Property damage: $800 million - $1 billion (about $150 million a day)
Fires set: 3,600 (600 a day)
Buildings destroyed: 1,100 (183 a day)
Arrests: 10,000 (1,666 a day)
Government response: curfew, California National Guard, federal troops

- "Exceptional security measures were taken for Armistice Day ceremonies attended by President Chirac…under the watch of some 3,000 police officers…”

How dishonest. It's attended by hndreds of thousands of people, and the year before there was an assasination attempt on Chirac!

- //The state-owned television channels, France 2 and France 3, have stopped reporting on the number of cars torched by rioting young immigrants every night…Explaining their restraint, TV execs say that they want to avoid inciting further violence.”//

Yes, there were contests between neighborhoods to see who would torch the most cars. Once they stopped reporting it, that stopped.

//An Associated Press report during last year’s intifada in French cities//

The intifada! If that doesn't tell you everyhting you need to know about this article, I don't know what will!

G_in_AL said...

I think we'd be neglecting the truth if we didnt point out that France has always stood with some rather dubious allies. The US does it too, but sufice it to say, France has a strategic reason to withhold any support from Israel:

They are aligned the US. France has been on a doctrin of trying to restrain and diminish US power for the last 10-12 years. They've been on a quest to marginalize the US, and in it's place move Europe in the vacume, with the Franco-German alliance holding prime spot.

ms. miami said...

well, politicians of every stripe and origin have issues of consistency. no surprise there.

however, i think that the context of each region has to be considered.

france is a very developed and relatively orderly society and the events last fall were quite an anomaly (as were the previous l.a. riots).

the levant, on the other hand, has been in a state of near continuous war (with lulls here and there) for decades.

although morally problematic and not excusable, i can understand why expectations among all western leaders have been "different" with regards to that conflict.

LASunsett said...

SF,

I will await your further comments, before I reply. I will be in and out, this weekend. So I may not address them until Sunday night or later.

LASunsett said...

G,

//I think we'd be neglecting the truth if we didnt point out that France has always stood with some rather dubious allies.//

As have we. The most basic of political strategies though is looking out for your own nation's interests. I do not fault them for that. But, the time for mixed messages and mincing words for better political positioning just so you can be right, has to stop.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

//however, i think that the context of each region has to be considered.//

I agree, that is why I say that we as Americans (or French or whatever) cannot fully understand what it's like to live under the condtitons, Israel is forced to live under.

Rémy said...

About the usual cliché of France being antisemitic : France has the second largest jewish community in the world and was governed three times by a jewish President (Blum, Mendès-France and Fabius);

About the cliché of France being anti-israeli :
France helped Israel to get the atomic bomb;

As for the comparison of french and israeli situation towards the Arabs : it's been more than 40 years that France left Algeria ; it's been a year that Israel left Gaza and we're still waiting for the West Bank.

French papers and Chirac are always lecturing the rest of the world about how to solve problems when it should focus on its own but you can't reduce the french opinion to antisemitism and you can't say that after many years of american full approval the israeli situation is getting better.

Always On Watch said...

Although instructions to shoot the elderly wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer and dump him off a cruise ship came from Arafat’s headquarters, Chirac’s reaction to Arafat’s death was to visit the hospital and announce, teary-eyed, “I came to bow before President Yasser Arafat and pay him a final homage…with him disappears a man of courage and conviction” and urge Palestinians to “continue to be faithful to Yasser Arafat’s memory.”

I recall this quite clearly. At the time, I was appalled. As far as I'm concerned, this was not the dignified response which a head of state should show toward a terrorist. And that last clause urge Palestinians to “continue to be faithful to Yasser Arafat’s memory! Faithful, how?

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LASunsett !

//Why the disconnect in these three pieces of evidence? That's a good question and that's a fair question./*/

Well, with all due respect, it's not. (sigh)

Amerloque grew up with this kind of reasoning: the rightwing writes articles, other rightwingers read them, quote them, cite them, mix in some more stuff, shake, stir, and, alas, end up by believing BS.

A lot of what the rightwing writes and that LASunsett has linked to is simply reflexive-feelgood politicobabble, and Olshaker's essays are no exception. Alan Riding's stuff, while weak and somewhat partisan, is brilliant in comparison. (sigh)

Anyway, this takes far too much time, but what ho ! Unto the breach, once more !

Amerloque will leave aside the Jerusalem Post stuff, although:

/*/These are not surprising responses, within themselves. I would expect this, given their criticisms I have read in the past. In fact, I would have been slightly shocked to read otherwise. But for more clarity about where I am going with this, let's read on./*/

The responses from the four papers are, as LASunsett says, unsurprising, in Amerloque's view.

However, there are serious changes under way at both Liberation and Le Figaro.

Liberation is now controlled by Edouard de Rothschild; the founding editor has been forced out. ( http://tinyurl.com/keno4 ). Changes in coverage of Middle Eastern events are expected by the profession.

Le Figaro is now controlled by the arms magnate Serge Dassault ("Rafale" figher aircraft, notably; and Falcon business jets). (The American hedgefund (Carlyle) that controlled Le Figaro sold it to him. Ah, LASunsett and the right didn't know that Figaro had been partially controlled by the Americans ? Tsk, tsk …add, shake, and stir … ) http://tinyurl.com/gbpdk. Journalists have been leaving Figaro since last fall, when Dassault started seriously interfering in editorial content (notrably about Rafale).

/*/Edward Olshaker, entitled, Axis of Hypocrisy—Russia, US, UK, Italy, France Urge Israeli Restraint. This is a good essay to read in its entirety, but here are the points I want to outline, for the purposes of this post: /*/

The essay is unadulterated warmongering bee ess, in Amerloque's view, but Amerloque will confine himself simply to the points LASunsett has raised here. Life is too short, and Amerloque has already given far too much of his time to people of Olshaker's ilk … By the way, Amerloque is only answering this because he feels that LASunsett is asking in good faith (quoique …)

So, this "Edward Olshaker" fellow. He wrote manuals at the US Army's Redstone Arsenal for a number of years, apparently. His last book, his big claim to fame, is/ was "Witnesses to the Unsolved: Prominent Psychic Detectives and Mediums Explore Our Most Haunting Mysteries".

What is the book about ?

//Can a team of prominent psychic detectives and mediums uncover the truth behind the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr., White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster, and rock idol Kurt Cobain? Can they solve the mystery surrounding the death of Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, the bizarre fate of former CIA chief William Colby, and the deaths of financial genius John Markle (the son of actress Mercedes McCambridge) and his family? These and other intriguing cases are explored by an impressive cast of psychic detectives including Nancy Myer, renowned investigator of hundreds of homicides in the US and overseas; Robert Cracknell, who was labeled "Britain’s number 1 psychic detective" by Fleet Street tabloids when he provided accurate information to investigators of the Yorkshire Ripper serial murders and other high-profile crimes; and Bertie Catchings, named "best psychic in Texas" in The Book of Texas Bests. Prominent mediums Betty Muench, Janet Cyford, and Philip Solomon provide further illumination of these unsolved mysteries—along with dramatic evidence of life after death.// http://tinyurl.com/fhf42

So, nous voilà prevenus, as the French say. We are forewarned, if not forearmed. (sigh) His intended book audience appears to be, er, um, what's a polite term ? "the crackpots" ? "the intellectually challenged" ? "the conspirationists" ? Be that as it may …

/*/Chirac wrote a note of encouragement to the terrorist mastermind, who was being treated in a French hospital: “I wish that you could resume as soon as possible your work at the service of the Palestinian people…[France] will always stand next to you.” Yet on November 6, 2005, Chirac vowed to punish all who “sow violence or terror” in France./*/

Amerloque doesn't really see the connection. It must be in Olshaker's brain, somewhere.

Chirac is a head of state exercising the perfectly legitimate right and duty to conduct French foreign policy. France wants to have a balanced policy in the Mideast. Ah ! Olshaker is unhappy because France's Mideast policy is not irremediably biased in favor of Israel ?! He shoulda said so sooner. (sigh)

France has locked away quite a number of French and foreign jihadists and other terrorists. It's an ongoing battle, and France is doing a damned fine job. From the plane hijackers who wanted to crash a passenger aurcraft into the Eiffel Tower (in 1996 – were the Americans paying attention ? Doubtful, doubtful, given subsequent events …) to the more recent cases of French-born kids who went to fight in Afghanistan, France has been arresting, trying and locking away terrorists. Bravo La France.

/*/In early 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including dangerous terrorists—the kind of concession that the French government, among others, welcomed as a step toward peace. Later that year, French authorities arrested thousands of young rioters, vowing to prosecute, imprison, and in some cases deport them. Releasing them as a goodwill gesture never appeared to be an option under consideration./*/

Again, Olshaker must have something wrong with his synapses. What's the connection between Palestinians and French kids ? The French authorities detained, arrested, and freed thousands of young people. Some caught-in-the-act foreigners were deported (fewer than 10, Amerloque seems to recall).

/*/In July 2004, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier visited Arafat in his Ramallah compound, where he was confined after it was found that he had resumed his involvement in serial murder of civilians. Barnier scolded Israel for limiting Arafat’s freedom of movement: “I’ve seen the situation, and it is not suitable for him nor for the Palestinian people.” Yet the state of emergency declared in France in late 2005 empowered the government to limit the freedom of movement of countless innocent citizens by imposing curfews enforced by imprisonment and fines. It also provided for bans on public meetings, and house searches without a warrant—measures that would be widely condemned as “trampling the Bill of Rights” if they occurred in the United States./*/

This is where one can see that Olshaker knows zip about anything concerned with France. He is obviously driven by ignorance and hate (and who knows, given his interests, some kind of messianic mysticism). The state of emergency "declared in France in late 2005" was nothing more than the reactivation of an old law dating from when there were bombs going off in Paris and throughout France, almost every night and day. As Amerloque pointed out on his blog at the time:

// …/… Numbers such as those above certainly explain why the French government, whose stated priority for the moment is law and order, has decided to impose a state of emergency by reactivating a law first passed in 1955 during the Algerian War. A portion of this law deals with establishing a curfew for both adults and juveniles.// http://tinyurl.com/hy5xu

A portion of the "special" curfews, by the way, was just like the curfews in force in many towns across America all the time: no kids under 18 on the street without adult supervision after 22h00, for example. (sigh)

Olshaker really puts icing on the cake when he talks "house searches without a warrant" for, you see, LASunsett, there are no search warrants in France. They.do.not.exist. The system is different, here (and far better, in Amerloque's view: America certainly has no monopoly on "freedom"). A house can be searched, of course, but there are decent legal safegaurds, obviously. Searches are carried out under the control of a judge, and only by certain qualified police officers, for example (not a local cop), and during daylight hours only.

So what, exactly, did the state-of-emergency law cover ?

Curfews; right of assembly (permits were required: otherwise generally no enabling permit is really needed for a demonstration, in France); security perimeters around sensitve public and private buildings; assigned residence/house arrest for certain delinquents and lawbreakers; closure of cinemas, bars, and meeting places; confiscation of weapons of the 1st, 4th and 5th categories (Amerloque, from his target pistol shooting experience here, knows that those categories cover, among other items, automatic weapons and other arms of war, concealable repeating pistols, and some knives. Note that bearing arms here is not quite the same as in the USA.); night and day house searches without the supervision of a judge; control of press; military tribunals established for certain cases. http://tinyurl.com/jrdpy

Now, at the end of the the day, only six (!) neighborhoods were curfewed (yes, only six). There were no searches without the supervision of a judge. There was no control of "the press". Right of meeting was not curtailed. As far as Amerloque knows, there were certainly no "military tribunals". (!)

None of the emergency laws were any stronger than those on the books and enforced frequently on a day to day basis in the USA, in Amerloque's view. The big difference is the guns/weapons: the gunlaws are very, very strict here, compared to the USA.

/*/“…as Jacques Chirac explained to Ehud Barak [in 2000], Israel, being the stronger side, must be the first to stop [the use of force, in its attempts to fight terrorism]” (Yaacov Lozowick, Right to Exist). For Chirac himself, however, being the “stronger” side carried no obligation to be the first side to stop the use of force or make concessions; on the contrary, the stronger side—his side—must dominate, period. Chirac proclaimed, “The law must have the last word. The republic is quite determined, by definition, to be stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear.” As reported by Amir Taheri in the New York Post: “The French authorities hit back, sending in Special Forces, known as the CRS, with armored cars and tough rules of engagement.” The CRS is described as having a “brutal reputation.” /*/

Amir Taheri ? Come off it. As it is stated in Wiki (in the "controversy" portion):

//On May 19, 2006, the National Post of Canada published two pieces, one by Taheri, claiming that the Iranian parliament passed a law that "envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public." [1]

The National Post retracted the story several hours after it was posted online. The newspaper blamed Taheri for the falsehood in the article, and published a full apology on May 24.

Taheri apparently stands by his reportage.

Shaul Bakhash of George Mason University has accused Amir Taheri of concocting nonexistent substances in his writings, and states that he "repeatedly refers us to books where the information he cites simply does not exist. Often the documents cannot be found in the volumes to which he attributes them.... [He] repeatedly reads things into the documents that are simply not there." Bakhash has stated that Amiri's Nest of Spies is "the sort of book that gives contemporary history a bad name."

Dwight Simpson of San Francisco State University and Kaveh Afrasiabi accuse Taheri and his publisher Eleana Benador of fabricating false stories in the New York Post in 2005 where Taheri identified Iran's UN ambassador Javad Zarif, as one of the students involved in the 1979 seizure of hostages at the US Embassy in Tehran. Zarif was Simpson's teaching assistant and a graduate student in the Department of International Relations of San Francisco State University at the time. //

http://tinyurl.com/jargd

The CRS, brutal ? (They are riot police, just like in the USA or the UK. No more brutal – far less, in Amerloque's view: younger, he was on the other side of both. They are fantastically disciplined and are a credit to their instructors.) Armored cars ? Well, there were one or two, but the vehicles were armored buses, not turreted armored cars.

/*/Although instructions to shoot the elderly wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer and dump him off a cruise ship came from Arafat’s headquarters, Chirac’s reaction to Arafat’s death was to visit the hospital and announce, teary-eyed, “I came to bow before President Yasser Arafat and pay him a final homage…with him disappears a man of courage and conviction” and urge Palestinians to “continue to be faithful to Yasser Arafat’s memory.” An Associated Press report during last year’s intifada in French cities described an atrocity that brought back memories of the Klinghoffer tragedy: “Attackers [in a Paris suburb] doused [a] woman, in her 50s and on crutches, with an inflammable liquid and set her afire as she tried to get off a bus…” Chirac never announced any intention to find those responsible, arrange generous funding for them, and engage in peace talks with them, even though Chirac apparently needed his own peace partners in order to negotiate an end to what his police commanders described as “a state of war.”/*/

1 – "bow" ? The word was chosen to blacken M Chirac and France.

What M Chirac said was "J'ai effectivement, hier, à quatre heures de l'après-midi, été saluer le président Arafat, été lui serrer la main." The verb "saluer" was translated as "bow". A more accurate translation would've been "greet" or "call on", if the man were alive, or "pay respects to" if the man were dead, which he apparently was. "Bow" is completely out to lunch and designed to increase hate.

2- This "intifida in French cities" is total bee ess. Calling a submarine an airplane won't enable it to fly (except in right wing circles, apparently). While some called the riots race-based, they can be more accurately described as riots by poor kids, sons and daughters of immigrants (Arab, African, Pakistani, Indian) who have felt closed out of French society. Amerloque's blog might usefully be consulted on this. http://tinyurl.com/kqrrh and http://tinyurl.com/hy5xu and http://tinyurl.com/hk2dy

3 – Olshaker is obviously off his rocker. He's comparing apples to protractors. M Chirac didn't have to announce squat about chasing down the people who burned the handicapped woman. The police investigated and arrested the perps. They have been charged with attempted murder and are currently in preventive detention awaiting trial at the autumn assizes.

/*/After Israel was forced to hunt down terrorists in Jenin following the 2002 Passover massacre, Le Monde—displaying an obscene form of anti-Israel bias that has become more acceptable and commonplace during the Chirac administration—published a deeply dishonest and bigoted cartoon depicting Israelis as Nazis exterminating the population of the Jenin “Warsaw Ghetto,” further fanning the flames of anti-Semitism at a time when French Jews were being assaulted and synagogues and Jewish schools were being firebombed in epidemic numbers. Yet, although distortions and lies intended to demonize Israel are acceptable in the French media, merely reporting the facts about the French Muslim uprising was deemed inflammatory and therefore censored. “[France’s] largest private television network, TF1, refrains from airing footage of burning cars or buildings…The state-owned television channels, France 2 and France 3, have stopped reporting on the number of cars torched by rioting young immigrants every night…Explaining their restraint, TV execs say that they want to avoid inciting further violence.” (Wall Street Journal) /*/

" French Jews were being assaulted and synagogues and Jewish schools were being firebombed in epidemic numbers" – the man is delirious. Assaults and firebombings in "epidemic" numbers ? "What meds does he take ?" Amerloque asks. This is the bee ess throw-the-mud-so-it-will-stick rightwing garbage Americans have come to know. Amerloque says: "Epidemic, Olshaker ? Prove it."

He's right (finally !) about the cartoon, and it was unanimously condemned in France. He 'forgot' to mention that, hoiwever. He's on Cloud 9 about a putative "French Muslim uprising". It wasn't a Muslim uprising. He's mixing up his fantasies with reality. It was poor kids. It was clearly announced every day on the four main TV channels (one encrypted cable, two state owned) that the numbers of cars burned would no longer be reported, since there was emulation and imitation among the ghettos to see which one would have the best "score" on the news. The networks were quite open about it. Quoting the WSJ about France is like, say, quoting the communists about the capitalists. (smile) There is,er, a bit of partisanship. (sigh)

/*/As reported by Martin Peretz of the New Republic, “France went into a frenzy to mobilize the countries of the EU at the UN to vote ‘yes’ on the General assembly resolution calling on Israel to take down the security barrier it is building against Palestinian terror.” Yet Chirac surrounded himself with a cozy barrier of protection when he went to lay a wreath in honor of fallen soldiers in late 2005. “Exceptional security measures were taken for Armistice Day ceremonies attended by President Chirac…under the watch of some 3,000 police officers…” (Agence France-Press) On November 16, the same day AFP reported that vandalism had declined “almost down to levels seen before the unrest broke out on October 27,” the French senate voted to extend the nation’s extraordinary emergency measures into 2006. Just to be safe./*/

There had been an assassination attempt on Chirac the previous year. The French blogs were full of death threats. Damn right there were security measures. Three thousand police officers: well, a couple of weeks ago, there were 4000 on the street for the crowd on the Champs Elysees after the World Cup match. Perspective is necessary. The emergency law was extended for 90 days … however, M Chirac and the government put an end to it on January 4, 2006, well before the 90 days had passed. Hey, that's funny: Olshaker didn't mention that ! (sigh)

(Note that the recent "security measures" in Germany have made even more friends for the USA (sigh) http://tinyurl.com/m6tcg )

/*/And I am aware of the fact that criticism of Israel isn't always indicative of anti-semitism, not any more than criticism of the French government, media, or the system is general is French bashing.) /*/

LASunsett is on the same wavelength as Amerloque (grin).

To close: Amerloque respects LASunsett and asks: Why, LASunsett, do you continue to read and acclaim this kind of Olshaker drivel ? (sigh) Any "disconnect" is in Olshaker's "article". The man is delirious, like those guys in "Some Thoughts On War". Armchair soldier bee ess, designed to inflame hate and misunderstanding. (sigh)

Amerloque is off on vacation this week and so will return to lurking, with no active particpation here, especially to drivel such as Olshaker. (grin)

Best,
L'Amerloque

superfrenchie said...

Ah, I was hoping l'Amerloque would come by, and straighten out a few facts. There were just too many for me to tackle and still have a somewhat productive family weekend.

But I'll add that nonetheless: the French response to last fall's riots was in fact so measured that at the time many French-bashers denounced it as weak.

Take Bill O'Reilly for example, which nobody will confuse with a francophile. Here is what he said last fall about the French response to the riots:

"And it gets worse. The insurgent Muslims apparently believe they can do whatever they want because Chirac is so weak in the face of the provocation, they're pretty much correct. As I said, Chirac won't even use the military to protect lives and property."

So even Bill O'Reilly denounced Chirac's response as weak, and now this guy is saying it was an authoritarian response!

Come on!

****

Also:

Thanks to l'Amerloque for correcting the record on Arrafat. Basically, he was simply accorded the right to die in France, in a respectful manner. The French had always said that they dealt with him because he was the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people. Same reason why Clinton, or Netanyahu or Rabin dealt with him. You may disagree that it was the right thing to do, but you can't single out Chirac for doing so.

Remy: //About the usual cliché of France being antisemitic : France has the second largest jewish community in the world and was governed three times by a jewish President (Blum, Mendès-France and Fabius);//

Just a correction: all 3 were Prime Ministers, not presidents.

Regardless, when is the last time a Jewish American has achieved such prominence in the American political landscape? the answer of course is never!

I would also add that some of the biggest stars in France are Jewish: Gainsbourg, Michel Jonasz, George Moustaki, Simone Signoret, etc.. Trezeguet, a player on the World Cup team, is Jewish. Beatrice Shonberg, who presents the evening news on one of the most popular TV channel, is Jewish.

A list of prominent French Jews is here.

According to this poll, 91% of the French simply don't care that someone is Jewish. And only 1% care in a negative way!

L'Amerloque said...

Hi SF !

/*/Ah, I was hoping l'Amerloque would come by, and straighten out a few facts. There were just too many for me to tackle and still have a somewhat productive family weekend./*/

(grin) SF owes Amerloque one. (wider grin)

This all takes far too much time. (sigh)

It'll be the last time for Amerloque. Vacation is approaching.

He will now return to lurking mode. (grin)

Best,
L'Amerloque

An agreeing fellow said...

Damn right L'Amerloque !

Rémy said...

Superfrenchie,
Blum and Mendès-France were Président du Conseil under the 4ème République (a parliamentary regime), that is to say the equivalent of Tony Blair in GB or Zapatero in Spain.
Fabius though was only Prime Minister under the presidency of Mitterand. But maybe he'll be President next year (just kidding).

superfrenchie said...

Remy, we agree. President du Conseil is the equivalent of Prime Minister in England. But there also was a President, although it was more an honorific position. They were Albert Lebrun for Blum and Rene Coty for Mendes-France if I'm not mistaken.

LASunsett said...

Thank you all for your comments. I have incorporated my responses to those comments in the new post entitled, The Power Of Perception