The Current Crisis

Faithless France

Synagogues burn and the country's leaders find it ''extremely difficult'' to react at all.

By 4.4.02

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The French are again attempting to prove their virility. They are burning down synagogues. In an outburst of the worst anti-Semitism seen in Europe in decades synagogues have been torched in Lyon, Marseilles and Strasbourg. In Alsace both a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery have been violated. So do not take France's passivity towards terrorism as a sign of fecklessness. The French get mad like everyone else. It is just that when they do they tend to play the role of the bully and pick on the defenseless.

Thus now, rather than taking a stand against terrorism or standing by Israel as it endures the attacks of suicidal terrorism, the French turn on their Jewish minority. Or at least some French do. It is not yet clear who the synagogue burners are. Perhaps they are French skinheads. Possibly they are members of the large Arab minority that lives in France. Or maybe they are simply the traditional anti-Semites that have made France one of the most anti-Semitic countries in Europe for centuries. Whoever is setting the fires, not much is being done about it by the government whose Socialist Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, claims it is "extremely difficult" to secure Jewish property from brutes.

Ostensibly the provocation for the anti-Semites is Israel's incursion into the West Bank. All France is alarmed by Israel's bellicose action. The French turn a blind eye to the anarchy and terror issuing from the West Bank. They actually defend Palestinian terrorists. One wonders how they will alibi for Yasser Arafat in light of Israeli intelligence's finding yesterday of documents signed by Arafat and approving of payment to known Palestinian terrorists. The documents were dated after September 11. They were found in Arafat's headquarters. The Israeli incursion has already been productive.

Precisely what is Prime Minister Jospin's response to his country's synagogue burnings? It is as feckless as you might expect from a country whose men prefer to douse themselves in cologne rather than bathe. The suave Prime Minister informed a radio audience that "reflection" and "understanding" are the proper response. And he adds that without "reflection" and "understanding" he fears France will experience violence similar to that being experienced in the Middle East. Why not throw in Yoga exercises too?

I have a better idea. I suggest that the United States resume foreign aid shipments to France. Only this time let us send the French what they really need, free dosages of Viagra! If French virility is not stirred by the pitiable sight of synagogues burning and Jewish cemeteries being violated perhaps it can be stirred chemically.

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About the Author
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: the Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn't Work: Social Democracy's Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery.