Sharon’s call for Jews to…

Sharon’s call for Jews to flee outrages France

When Israel’s prime minister on Sunday urged the Jews of France to flee immediately to Israel to escape anti-Semitism at home, the reaction was swift, angry and unified. French officials, lawmakers, commentators and Jewish leaders all told Sharon that he was out of line.

Joseph Zrihen, vice-president of Crif, an umbrella group representing Jewish organisations in France, responded by saying

My children suffer more than I do for being Jewish. I think it’s much more common in France among young people nowadays. My children have to face a daily barrage of insults and name-callings

But, however bad the situation may be, Sharon’s comments were highly excessive. He simply has no legitimacy to make appeals like that. There has been a Jewish community in France for over 2,000 years. You cannot talk about “French Jews”; we are simply French citizens of Jewish denomination, just as there are French citizens of Muslim and Christian denomination.

If one of us were to make the decision to go to live in Israel it would be the highly personal, spiritual choice of an individual. Sharon is wrong to suggest such a decision could be collective. One thing is for sure: we must keep our heads and not panic. I have faith in this government to fight against this anti-Semitism.

So yes, there is anti-Semitism in France, as well as many other places too. But why was Sharon attacking France, and attacking now, just before he was planning to travel there?