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French Connections

Arab-Jewish relations in a tense Paris neighborhood

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Rue Petit, Paris(Owen Franken)

  The 19th arrondissement of Paris, on the city’s northern edge, is home to large populations of Sephardic Jews, Muslim immigrants from Africa, and a growing Lubavitch community. It has been known as a hub of anti-Semitic violence, but, surprisingly, it’s been calmer lately, even as anti-Semitic attacks have spiked in France, and throughout Western Europe, in the past year. Credit for the relative tranquility goes to clergy on all sides, who’ve worked with their communities to keep tensions from rising. Reporter Léa Khayata visited the area; her dispatch will appear on Tablet tomorrow. First, she spoke to Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about the recent efforts to build bridges in the 19th arrondissement.

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Sydney Lev says:

Very interesting. Thanks for doing this piece. My spouse and I are dual French/Canadian citizens, and we left Toulouse and moved to Canada when we were expecting our first child in 2000 (years before the atrocities Ms. Khayata referred to).

Between the “old” Gaulist French anti-Semitism and the “new” French-Muslim anti-Semitism, we felt that France was a terrible place to raise Jewish children (even though we’re not “visibly” Jewish). We clearly weren’t the only Jews to feel this, since there’s been a veritable exodus of Jews out of France in recent years. No country is free of anti-Semitism, of course, but France is particularly bad in this regard.

We voted for PM Sarkozy, and we believe the climate is better under his watch than under previous PMs, whether Socialist or UMP, due to his own multicultural/immigrant roots and Jewish/Israeli sympathies.

We plan to return to France, but not until our children are grown and can benefit from cultural perspective on France and its particular history.

My husband & I (French & American,both Jewish) lived for 6 years in the 19th on the opposite ( poorer) side of the canal from the neighborhood protrayed in this story. We also lived our Judaism discretely as the neighborhood became majority muslim ( both north & black african). Not only have Jews moved out, but , more significantly, there are few, white, working-class French people living there. We worked hard to leave the area, unfortunately, as soon as our children were first grade age. Anti-semitism is rampant in Paris; and not just in the 19th.

Hermam Rosen says:

French antisemism?…the Brits are beating them to the punch.! It has become the natioal passtime in England.
On a summer holiday a year ago my wife and I went into a beauiful small church in the Cotswolds and met the vicar who took us up to the bell tower to show us the view.

When finding out we were Jewish he asked us why “WE” don’t give the Palestinians back their Palestine. I answered that I actually had no say in the matter being from Pennsylvania and that the Israelis will not make themselves obsolete. He shook his head.

We are not talking about London which is now being referred to as “londonstan” but a well educated Vicar COE.
Jewish women in England are still referred to regularly as:
“Jewesses”; an old term to signify some form of well known
behavior, whatever it is. Imagine referring to Condoleeza Rice as a “Negress” and you know where they are coming from. The british never forgave the Jews for making Israel
into a viable country over their support for the Arabs.

The BBC has what their own people refer to as “The Jewish
Desk” to keep track of what those Jews are up to.
This is from a Jewish employee of the BBC who I know

It’s time for the Jews in that neighborhood to move to another country, or at least to another neighborhood.


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French Connections

Arab-Jewish relations in a tense Paris neighborhood

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