A Good Start for Macron

by Heather Robinson

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in France on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism.

In speaking this truth, the French President has joined the ranks of Martin Luther King Jr. in recognizing how the insidious truth-twisting and obsessive drive to point the finger at Israel on the part of decadent critics in the West as well as Islamist extremists is just a new form of bigotry. Like most bigotry, it relies on oversimplification, generalization, gross distortion, lies, and feelings of righteousness and victimhood on the part of the accuser. Like any prejudice, it ignores all facts, nuances, and individual realities that are not congruent with its bias.

For instance, left wing “activists” on college campuses now smear Israel’s proud tradition of respecting women’s and gay persons’ rights by accusing Israel of “pink washing” – or, accusing Israel of purporting to care about these human rights in order to deflect attention from Israel’s alleged mistreatment of Palestinians.

Forgetting even the argument that Israel is, if anything, handling with as much respect and decency as possible a people who by and large remain dedicated to its people’s demise, these “activists” fail to acknowledge the truth that Palestinian leadership brutalizes gays, and that the views they can freely espouse in the U.S. and Israel would earn them humiliation, abuse, and possibly death in the Palestinian territories. That is just one example of the bias of Israel-haters that has now infiltrated many U.S. college campuses.

The climate is even worse in Europe, where people receive a steady diet of anti-Israel news coverage. In this climate, Jews, and especially Zionists – or those of us who believe and stand up for the right of a sovereign Jewish nation to exist proudly – are demonized. Even the word Zionist – which simply means a supporter of a secure Jewish homeland – has been tarnished to mean something hateful by those who have been inculcated – and inculcate others – to hate. That is why Macron’s statement that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism, and his acknowledgment of France’s role in the Holocaust, are so significant.

This week, Macron spoke with eloquence and courage of the grave mistakes of the past, such as the roundup and deportation, by French police, of over 76,000 French Jews to concentration camps during WWII, including 13,000 in one day in the infamous Vel d’Hiv roundup of French Jews by French police in  an indoor stadium on July 16, 1942.

So first, let me say, Good for you, Mr. Macron. You are brave, and you are a leader. (Based on your unique life choices, I already suspected that, but this statement reinforces my sense that you are a strong individual).

Now, with respect, I would ask Mr. Macron to address the terrible anti-Semitism that has found fertile ground in France.

It isn’t enough to recount and mourn the mistakes of the past. We must all learn from them, and that includes us Jews, who have our own terrible lessons to learn. Never again must we fail to hear when murderous enemies – in our time, radical Islamists who, like the Nazis before them, make no secret of their intentions – state their intentions to annihilate us.

Mr. Macron needs to address a disease – the terrible anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism – that has taken root in some quarters of France’s Muslim community. You can read just a very incomplete and partial sampling of what has been going on here, herehere, and here. This writer for the Times of Israel provides a harrowing partial summary here.

Denial isn’t a luxury for the French people anymore. Lest anyone think it is just the Jews being targeted in France, remember what recently happened here, here, here, and here.

Macron needs to honestly acknowledge his country has a severe problem with radical Islam. And he needs to make sure the French police are trained to crack down on incitement and hate crimes against Jews and others in his country. No more nonsense or politically correct refusal to confront a fanatical enemy within. That does not mean target or harass Muslims generally, God forbid. It means employing effective and tough police work to crack down hard on violent Islamist radicals and anyone who covers for, aids or abets them. The French people do not have the luxury of denying their country has a problem with radical Islam and its apologists.

His brave words are an excellent start, but he must follow through by ensuring that France’s police do the right thing this time around. (In the torture/murder cases of both Ilan Halimi and Sarah Halimi, the French police were useless).

More to come.