New Alliances Against Zionism
This 2003 article on French politics, if we allow for the ritualised references to anti-semitism, can be studied for its detail and inferences. The construction of an 'anti-Zionist consciousness' through interlocking alliances around issues and incidents, might provide a useful guide for Australians. It follows also that the references by the author to 'anti-semitism' may also show the fear many Jewish people could also come to criticise Zionism.
French Jewish leader stirs anger with talk
of anti-Semitic alliance
By Philip Carmel
Jan. 30 (JTA) - The annual dinner hosted by French Jewish leaders
generally a friendly affair.
That was the way it went this year - at
least at the start of the Jan.
25 dinner sponsored by CRIF, the umbrella
organization for secular
Jewish institutions in France.
Minister Jean-Pierre Rafarrin and leaders from across the
were enjoying last week what has traditionally been
one of the more agreeable
consensual events of the calendar.
But then CRIF President Roger
Cukierman spoke about a new alliance
threatening France's 500,000 Jews,
linking neo-Nazis, environmentalists
and left-wing groups.
a "brown-green-red alliance," Cukierman warned of the danger
faced by Jews
from the alliance, which he described as
anti-capitalist, anti-American and anti-Zionist."
Moreover, when he
referred to - though did not mention by name - the
spokesperson for France's
peasant farmers and international
anti-globalization activist José Bové as
being a leading light in such
an alliance, the national secretary of the
Green Party, Gilles Lemaire,
promptly stood up from his table and left the
Bové, together with other pro-Palestinian activists, broke
Israeli army barricades last year to stand alongside Yasser
during the army's siege of the Palestinian leader's headquarters
The anti-globalization campaigner also regularly used
terms that equated
Israel's actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the
persecution of European Jews. Last year, moreover, he accused the
of being behind the wave of anti-Semitic attacks in
"There is a nouvelle cuisine which is cooking up old fantasies
fashionable sauce, anti-Zionism," Cukierman said at the CRIF
"This brown-green-red alliance gives us the shivers," Cukierman
This comment particularly enraged the Greens.
atmosphere was not helped the following day by a report in the
Liberation newspaper which capitalized the word "Verts" - French
Greens - thereby implying that Cukierman was referring specifically
the political party.
The CRIF president went some way to tone down
his remarks later this
week, saying in a statement that the organization
wished to work with
all democratic political parties in France, "including
The Green Party candidate in last year's presidential
Mamère, criticized Cukierman's remarks, saying that "just
attacks Ariel Sharon's settlement and humiliation policies does
that one is anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli."
though, were not alone in condemning Cukierman's remarks -
Socialist Party described as "excessive."
The Trotskyist Revolutionary
Communist League, which Cukierman
specifically named in his speech and which
received around 5 percent of
the vote in last year's presidential election,
called the remarks
"intellectual terrorism that hides state
However, Cukierman's views are widely held in the Jewish
which believes that the left has not done enough to deal
Leading Jewish intellectual Alain Finkielkraut
wrote recently that
anti-Semitic discourse was taking root in the
movement and within left-wing intellectual
"It needs to be very clear; either José Bové is disavowed by
anti-globalization and peasant farmers movements or we will hold
movements accountable for his speeches and say clearly that
anti-Semitism is coming from this camp," he wrote.
view is rejected by the Greens, who fervently deny they
Green spokesperson Marie-Helène Aubert told JTA that
the movement is
aware that "the situation in the Middle East was sensitive"
"Greens and others should be extremely careful about how they
Aubert, a former vice president of the National
Assembly, said the
possibility of war in Iraq as well as the left's defeat in
elections had led to a greater radicalization in the movement but
"we have to be very strict about remarks by some people."
difficult to have total discipline in a movement such as the
there should be no doubt about the good faith of the Greens
attacks against Israelis and against Jews in France,"
for Bové, Aubert said she personally disliked the style of
anti-globalization campaigner and regretted that some Greens had
tendency to "over-romanticize" his actions.
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