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France: Pro-Palestinian Protests and anti-Semitism at Sarcelles, Defending the Right to Demonstrate.

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Defying  the Ban on pro-Palestinian marches in France, on Saturday,

About 6,000 mostly peaceful protesters assembled in the Barbès area of northern Paris in defiance of a government ban. When the march was blocked by police lines after only 500 metres, a minority of young protesters started to hurl stones, bottles and sticks at the riot police.

There is a range of accounts of the responsibility for the incidents that took place, see L’Humanité, and Libération and an important direct reportage in the same paper, here.

A leader of the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) said, “«La solidarité avec les Palestiniens doit pouvoir s’exprimer à Paris», a expliqué samedi à l’AFP Sandra Demarcq, membre de la direction du NPA, qui juge l’interdiction «illégitime et scandaleuse». We should be able to express solidarity with the Palestinians, explained to AFP Sandra Demarq, part of the leadership of the NPA, who judged the ban “illegitimate and scandalous”. According to the reporter at around 15.40,

Soudain, des groupes extrêmement équipés et organisés ont commencé à fendre la foule pour monter au contact des CRS. Ils avançaient en ligne, le visage couvert. A l’évidence, ils n’avaient rien de militants venus défendre la cause palestinienne. Certains arboraient des tee-shirts du virage Auteuil, une tribune du Parc des Princes.

Suddenly, extremely well organised and kitted out groups pushed their way through the crowd towards the front row of the CRS (riot police).

They advanced en bloc, faces covered. From what could be gleaned they had nothing of the look of activists who’d come to defend the Palestinian cause. Some of them were wearing the colours of Auteuil, a supporters’ group named after a football stand at the Parc des Princes.

In Sarcelles on Sunday however  events took a clearly and illegitimate  anti-Semitic  turn,

France’s interior minister on Monday slammed “intolerable” acts of anti-Semitism after a rally against Israel’s Gaza offensive descended into violence pitting an angry pro-Palestinian crowd against local Jewish businesses.

Sunday’s demonstration in the north Paris suburb of Sarcelles was the third to deteriorate in a week, as shops were looted and riot police lobbed tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd.

The rally had been banned amid concern the Jewish community would be targeted after protesters last weekend tried to storm two synagogues in Paris.

“When you head for the synagogue, when you burn a corner shop because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing an anti-Semitic act,”Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters outside the Sarcelles synagogue.

In the Paris suburb sometimes nicknamed “little Jerusalem” for its large community of Sephardic Jews, the rally descended into chaos when dozens of youth – some masked – set fire to bins and lit firecrackers and smoke bombs.

Eighteen people were arrested after looters wrecked shops, including a kosher foodstore and a funeral home as protesters shouted: “Fuck Israel!”.

News 24.

The Independent says,

Riot police held back a mob of youths who tried to attacks two synagogues in the town of Sarcelles in the northern Paris suburbs.

A pro-Gaza demonstration in a town with a large Jewish population began peacefully but degenerated into attacks on Jewish and Chaldean businesses and four hours of running battles between youths and police. Several cars were burned. Three shops, including a Kosher grocery (1), were burned and pillaged. A railway station was severely damaged.

The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneve said today: “When you menace synagogues and when you burn a grocery because it is  Jewish-owned, you are committing anti-semitic acts…  That is intolerable. Protest against Israel is legitimate. Nothing can justify such violence.”

…..

Roger Cuikerman, head of the French umbrella groups of Jewish organisations, CRIF, said there was a growing anxiety amongst French jews.

Protest against Israeli government actions was one thing, he said. Attacks on Jews for being Jews were “deeply disturbing”. “They are not screaming ‘death to the Israelis’ on the streets of Paris,” he said. “They are screaming ‘death to the Jews’. They are attacking synagogues which are places of prayer.”

Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking at Sarcelles this morning, said (Le Monde),

Devant la presse, il a estimé qu’il était « légitime » de pouvoir exprimer une position sur les événements de Gaza, où au moins 502 Palestiniens ont été tuésdepuis le 8 juillet. En revanche, il a jugé « intolérable que l’on s’en prenne à des synagogues ou à des commerces parce qu’ils sont tenus par des juifs. Rien ne peut justifier de telles violence ». Dix-huit personnes ont été interpellées après les heurts, selon la police.

In front of the press he considered that it was “legitimate” to be able to express a position on the events in Gaza, where at least 502 Palestinians have been killed since the 8th of July. By contrast he judged that it is “intolerable that people attack synagogues and businesses because they are run by Jews. Nothing can justify such violence.” According to the police 18 people have been asserted after the incidents.

(1) The shop had been already the subject of a grenade attack in September 2013 (see here).

In an important Editorial today Le Monde says that the government’s ban on demonstrations is an admission of its impotence, “Manifestations interdites : l’aveu d’impuissance du gouvernement.”

The statement  notes that President Hollande is right to be concerned about the “importation” of the Israel-Palestinian conflict into France.

But they note that the right to demonstrate, within reasonable limits, is part of the foundations of the Republic.

They cite the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man, “ nul ne doit être inquiété pour ses opinions, même religieuses, pourvu que leur manifestation ne trouble pas l’ordre public établi par la loi ». 

Article 10, “No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.”

Le Monde then accuses the government, through its ban on demonstrations of solidarity with the Palestinians, of playing, “aux pompiers pyromanes.” (firefighting arsonists, figurative, “fig., personne qui provoque volontairement les maux qu’elle est censée combattre.”, somebody who creates the very problem they claim to be solving).

“Toute manifestation doit être déclarée à la Préfecture de police, en indiquant, au moins trois jours avant, sa date, son heure et son parcours. En d’autres termes, le droit de manifester fait partie des libertés publiques, mais il est légitimement encadré.”

Every demonstration, its timings, and its route,  must be notified to the Police authorities, at least 3 days in advance. In other respects the right to demonstrate, within defined limits, is part of our public freedoms.

Le Monde is absolutely right.

Positions of left parties:

Parti de Gauche “L’interdiction de la manifestation de soutien à la population de Gaza contre l’agression décidée par le gouvernement israélien était bien une provocation et une manipulation.” NPA, “La solidarité avec les Palestiniens est légitime et n’a rien à voir avec de l’antisémitisme !” Front de Gauche, “”Amplifier la solidarité avec le peuple palestinien, défendre le droit de manifester”.

Update: Declaration today (Monday 12st July) against ban on demonstrations by the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, GAZA CROULE SOUS LES BOMBES, ISRAËL S’ENFERRE DANS LA RÉPRESSION, LES INTERDICTIONS DE MANIFESTER DU GOUVERNEMENT FRANÇAIS ATTISENT LES TENSIONS

Demonstration  on Wednesday now  authorised, Le Monde. 

The ‘anti-Dieudonné’ Comedian Nicolas Bedos.

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Bedos

Bedos: the Anti-Dieudonné.

The French Comedian Nicolas has been satirising Dieudonné .

He appeared in one-man show with a Hitler moustache in a parody of the racist bigot.

Nicolas has stated that his intention is to “Not leave Dieudonné with the monopoly of subversion, and  to remember that we can be provocative on the most sensitive issues without being oneself plagued by racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc.”

“For the most part, the pro-Dieudonné fans  are fragile, culturally and intellectually, socially vulnerable and shocked by the fate of Palestinians, hence the fantasy of some sort of Israeli-Jewish-American political-media-financial conspiracy: Dieudonné continues to feed this frenzy.”

Why embody a character in Arabic accent?

I mostly played simply a complete tosser. I knew very well in writing the sketch that people would see some housing estate  scum. But I play somebody who is above all a cretin, rather than because he is an Arab (slang rebeu).

We have to stop the hypocrisy: you only have to look at the public for the  shows Dieudo puts on to see that  a large majority are young people of immigrant origin, wounded by their situation, contempt for society, and indifference  to  Palestinian suffering.

I understand their anger, but I absolutely hate to see Dieudonné and Soral taking advantage of their plight for their own  narcissistic and financial reasons.”

Bedos  is opposed to a public ban on the anti-Semite’s shows.

“We have to fight against the tendency to legislate on artistic matters.

Dieudonné  is no longer an artist, he is a proselyte for the extreme right. But we should not forbid him from performing, that in itself expands and solidifies  his audience.

Dieudonné’s public only dreams of being stifled and muzzled, and this keeps them together.

If we talk about banning, why not ban  Marine Le Pen and the Front National”

(Adapted from Le Monde.)

In the past Bedos has also been in trouble because he criticised Israeli policies, attacked Sarkozy (« VRP cocaïné ») and has been fined for insulting the Police – amongst other controversies. 

Now he has received death threats.

For this.

Those anti-Semites don’t like it up ‘em!

Written by Andrew Coates

January 22, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Amina Sboui Quits Femen Over ‘Islamophobia’ and Asks about ‘Israeli’ Funding.

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Amina: Worried About ‘Israeli’ Finance for Femen.

This morning on France-Inter the Tunisian Femen activist (imprisoned and still charged with outrage of public decency) explained why she had left the feminist group.

She highlighted her concerns about Femen’s ‘Islamophobia’.

Amina then stated that she was worried about the finances of the organisation.

She expressed the view that she would not accept money from “America or Israel”.

Huffington Post.

Why did you decide to quit the Femen group?

I don’t know how the movement is financed. I asked Inna several times, but I didn’t get a clear answer. I don’t want to be in a movement supported by dubious money. What if it is financed by Israel? I want to know.

And then, I don’t want my name to be associated with an Islamophobic organization. I did not appreciate the action taken by the girls shouting “Amina Akbar, Femen Akbar” in front of the Tunisian embassy in France, or when they burned the black Tawhid flag in front of a mosque in Paris. These actions offended many Muslims and many of my friends. We must respect everyone’s religion.

But these actions were taken to support you while you were in prison. Why didn’t you consider them as such?
I thank them all for their support. Especially Joséphine, Marguerite and Pauline, who were also imprisoned. They took some good actions, but it wasn’t the case for all of them. They should have asked for my lawyer’s advice before taking some of these actions. This made my case even more difficult. Because of the protests I was charged with a new crime, “criminal conspiracy,” when I was in prison.

Have you informed the Femen group about you quitting the organization?
No. They are not going to like it, but that’s the way it is.

So, you decided to quit the organization, but you posted another topless photo just four days ago…
Yes, a topless photo of myself bearing a painted circled A, the anarchist symbol. It’s different.

Amina then announced her possible support for an Anarchist group Feminism Attack.

She declared that the “problème c’est tout le système” , the problem is the whole system (original – bizarrely translated in the English language Huffington Post as “I don’t like the system altogether”).

We strongly suspect this is the source of Amina’s ‘concern’ about the money behind Femen.

From what is known about their funding: the key player appears to be an individual named Jed Sunden. (6) Sunden is a Brooklyn-born American Jew who founded a major Ukrainian newspaper/media company; KP Media (which owned the Kyiv Post till 2008/2009 for example) , (7) and also is an active part of the Ukrainian jewish community. (8) Sunden was the man who‘discovered’ Femen and it was he who began to give them the oxygen of publicity (and notoriety) for their topless protesting in the Kyiv Post.

The anti-Semitic site (Semitic Controversies), continues,

This Jewish money and influence behind Femen seems to also be reflected in the organization’s public activities in so far as it protest against a vast number of things in different countries, including outraging Islamic opinion by performing topless stunts in North Africa and outside mosques in Europe. (13) This is in addition to Femen’s attacks on anything even remotely conservative as being‘patriarchal’ as well as their fairly crude hatred of religion writ large (and without qualification), but primarily of Christianity and Islam which they consider (as good third wave feminists) to be ‘evil patriarchal religions’ responsible for ‘innumerable atrocities against women’ as being intrinsically deeply oppressive towards the fairer sex.

There is plenty in the same vein from Russian racist sites, and the British ‘Stormfront‘.

This is a great shame.

Amina showed great bravery in protesting at sexism in Tunisia.

She still risks two years in Prison.

A feminist response,

 

inna shevchenko @femeninna

Amina betrayed not FEMEN but thousands of women who acted for her freedom during “Free Amina campaign” and because of who she is free now

Written by Andrew Coates

August 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Tolouse Killer’s Brother Abdelghani Denounces His Family’s Anti-Semitism.

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A Just Man.

The Independent reports,

The oldest brother of the Toulouse scooter killer, Mohamed Merah, denounces the role of his own father, mother, sister and brother in spawning a “monster” in his new book.

Abdelghani Merah, 36, says the youngest of his four siblings was raised in an “atmosphere of racism and hatred” but also of violence and neglect. He has written the book – “Mon Frère, ce terroriste” (My brother the terrorist) – to try to counter the hero-worship of Mohamed, 23, among some young French Muslims. “I am the killer’s brother but I am on the side of his victims,” he says.

Mohamed Merah murdered seven people, including three Jewish children, in a series of scooter-borne attacks in the Toulouse area in March.

Le Monde portrays a worrying picture of that family.

Abdelghani secretly recorded the anti-Semitic rants of his sister  Souad,

Abdelghani Merah, frère aîné du tueur au scooter, a déclaré lundi 12 novembre sur BFMTV avoir placé un micro pour “piéger” sa sœur Souad, sur des images tournées en caméra cachée et diffusées par M6, afin de prouver l’antisémitisme entretenu dans sa famille. Les propos de Souad Merah ont conduit le parquet de Paris a ouvrir  une enquête préliminaire pour “apologie du terrorisme”.

Abdelghani Merah the elder brother of the ‘scooter killer’  on Monday stated to the BFMTV channel that he had placed a hidden microphone  to “trap” his sister Souad. The images broadcast and filmed by hidden camera, by the M6 channel were there to prove the family’s anti-Semitism. Souad Merah’s remarks have led Paris magistrates to open a preliminary enquiry into “apology for terrorism”.

“Ma mère a toujours dit que les arabes sont nés pour détester les juifs, et cela, c’est une phrase que j’ai entendue tout le long de ma tendre enfance. Mohamed a baigné dans tout cela et les salafistes ont récupéré la bombe déjà prête à exploser”.

My mother always said that Arabs are born to hate Jews, and that is a phrase I heard throughout the length of my early childhood. Mohamed was immersed in that, and the Salafists took advantage of a bomb already primed  to explode.”

What did  Souad say?

«Je suis fière de mon frère, il a combattu jusqu’au bout (…), je pense du bien de Ben Laden.» «Les Juifs, tous ceux qui sont en train de massacrer les musulmans, je les déteste.»

I’m proud of my brother. He fought right to the end (…). I like Ben Laden.”  “The Jews, all those massacring Muslims, I loathe them.

Libération reports,

Le recteur de la Grande mosquée de Paris Dalil Boubakeur a condamné mardi les «délires verbaux» de Souad Merah et s’est dit «atterré par la violence, la gravité et la dangerosité de ces propos incitant à la haine et nous regrettons la médiatisation de ces propos qui ne traduisent en rien le vrai islam, religion de paix». Le président du Conseil français du culte musulman (CFCM), Mohammed Moussaoui, a quant à lui condamné «fermement» les propos «ignobles et choquants» de Souad Merah et a appelé au «respect de la mémoire des victimes des tueries».

On Tuesday the rector of the Paris Grande Mosque Dalil Boubakeur denounced the “verbal delirium” of Souad Merah and said that he was “dismayed by the violence, the seriousness and the dangerous nature of these hate-inciting remarks”. “We regret the media publicity given to these comments which have nothing in common with real Islam –  a religion of peace”. Mohammed Moussaoui President of the Conseil français du culte musulman (CFCM) equally condemned the “ignoble and shocking” remarks of Souad Merah and called for “respect for the victims of the killings.”

We note solely this: Abdelghani Merah proves that Arabs are not ‘born’ to hate Jews. 

He is a just man.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Morning Star “Clarification” over Shamir article.

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“Clarification” over Shamir.

Today’s Morning Star carries this in a small box piece under the headline:

Clarification over Shamir article in Saturday’s Star.

(I reproduce the one already posted here, which does not appear to differ from that printed on  Page 4 of the Morning Star, Monday September the 24th)

A NUMBER of you have raised concerns over the decision to reprint an article by Israel Shamir on the Russian band Pussy Riot that appeared in the weekend’s Morning Star.
The paper would like to reassure readers that the piece was syndicated from Counterpunch in good faith without knowledge of the author’s background.
We would like to reiterate the paper’s commitment to publishing writers who reflect and remain steadfastly committed to the values of anti-racism, anti-fascism, international solidarity and social justice that the paper has campaigned for ever since its establishment.
It remains guided by those goals and will seek in future, wherever possible, to establish the full biography of writers before publishing their work.
In the meantime the Morning Star would like to distance itself from the opinions of the author of the piece, which do not reflect our position or those of the wider movement.
We apologise wholeheartedly for any distress caused.

There remain a number of unanswered issues and points:

  • What exactly were the “concerns” and what was the “distress” about Shamir and his article? The Morning Star is silent. The very vivid anger  expressed here and elsewhere  at his anti-Semitism and far-right opinions is apparently best left unsaid.
  • In the same vein: how far does the Morning Star wish to “distance itself from the opinions” of Shamir and what opinions do they wish to remain far from?
  • If the Morning Star is committed to the “values of anti-racism” and “anti-fascism” why were they unaware of the fascist and racist views of one of the most notorious international propagandists for the far-right, Israel Shamir?
  • As numerous posters on this Blog have said, it is hardly necessary to establish the full biography” of Shamir before realising this: a simple Google enquiry would have done, that is, assuming the staff of the Morning Star has, unlike most well-informed people,  not heard of Shamir.

Rosie Bell has said that the phrase “We apologise wholeheartedly for any distress caused” is clumsy and reeking of management-speak.

The ‘clarification’  does not condemn Shamir.

It does not condemn his fascist views.

It fails to ‘clarify’ anything that has come out in this controversy, except that the “decision” to “reprint” ultimately comes from an arrangement to “syndicate” material from the (as we have shown, dodgy) US publication Counterpunch.

This ‘clarification’ is not just evasive: it  is wholeheartedly inadequate.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm