The current wave of antisemitism sweeping France is compelling many Jews to hide their identities as they face discrimination, threats, and violence in going about their day-to-day routines.
An investigation published on Wednesday by leading news outlet Le Figaro reported several episodes of antisemitic behavior in daily life, from hair salons to taxi cabs to food deliveries and even the post office, where packages and letters being sent to and from Israel risk being vandalized by the postal workers handling them.
While antisemitism has exploded in France since the Oct. 7 pogrom waged by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel, with more than 1,500 outrages recorded over the last seven weeks, the present climate has worsened what was already a precarious situation. According to a Jan. 2022 survey conducted by Fondapol, a think tank, a full 74 percent of French Jews, who number approximately 500,000, revealed that they had experienced antisemitism, from verbal abuse to physical assault.
The report in Le Figaro included interviews with several Jews who have been confronted with antisemitic discrimination since the Oct. 7 atrocities, some of it comparatively subtle, much of it blatant.
Several cases involved Jews being denied commercial services. A 60-year-old rabbi who gave his name as Elie said that he had received a message from Uber warning him that his account faced suspension because of the consistently low ratings given to him by the firm’s drivers. “I automatically give five stars to all the drivers,” he said, adding that he was unaware that drivers rated their passengers until six months ago, when a Muslim driver told him that the fact he is Jewish lay behind his poor rating. “I’m afraid it’s because of your yarmulke and your beard that some of my colleagues rate you poorly,” the driver explained.
Other respondents reported similar experiences, among them Samuel Lejoyeux, the head of the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF). Speaking about antisemitism on campus on his cellphone while traveling in an Uber, Lejoyeux was summarily ejected from the vehicle by a furious driver who objected to his conversation.
Even more seriously, Le Figaro reported that it had learned of a taxi driver who was accused of kidnapping and then beating at least two Jewish passengers. The paper added that it was not publishing details of the assaults at the request of the “traumatized victims” who fear reprisals. It noted as well that a similar reticence to report an antisemitic offense was on display in an incident that occurred four days after the Hamas pogrom, when an Arab taxi driver at Orly Airport in Paris refused to collect a Jewish family who had just flown in from Tel Aviv, telling the father, “I am not taking you, dirty Jew!” The case only came to light after the police decided to pursue the driver independently, as the family refused to file a complaint for fear of retribution.
Despite these reports, a spokesperson for Uber told Le Figaro that the company had not “observed any significant change in the number of incidents” related to antisemitism. “Any verbal or physical violence reported while using our platform results in immediate suspension of the account which can be permanent,” the spokesperson emphasized.
The discrimination confronted by Jews has manifested in other encounters that once would have been unremarkable. A 31-year-old woman who gave her name as Yael said she was taking legal action against a Paris salon that refused her an appointment on the grounds that she is Jewish. “I’m not going to be able to do your hair, because I support Palestine, and you’re Jewish!” a hairdresser at the salon, which she has been visiting for the last three years, told her when she arrived for an appointment on Nov. 9.
Several of those interviewed by Le Figaro pointed out that the La Poste national mail service company has long been a source of antisemitic agitation. Packages sent to Israel are frequently delivered late, “sometimes in poor condition, with ‘Israel’ crossed out and replaced by ‘Palestine,’” a 50-year-old woman who gave her name as Rebecca said.
“A friend of mine’s son was married three years ago,” she continued. “None of the invitations she sent to Israel reached their destination … We never had a response to the complaints about these lost letters. It’s terrible, but we have the impression that no one is going to listen to us anyway!”
Another interviewee, who gave his name as Michel, recalled that in Oct. 2020, he had sent a message to La Poste on Twitter urging the company to “tell your postmen to refrain from posting anti-Zionist messages when you have packages to deliver to Israel.” The tweet included a photograph of a package Michel sent to Israel, with the address crossed out and replaced with the words, “Palestine — Israel does not exist.”
Many Jews are hiding visibly Jewish names on mailboxes and on apps that contain personal data. “When your name is Lévy or Cohen, at the moment, it is better to take a nickname,” one woman, who declined to identify herself, reported.
“Removing the mezuzah from the door, hiding kippot under caps, removing Jewish names from mailboxes or mobile applications could lead us to a great erasure,” Yonathan Arfi — president of the Jewish representative body Crif — told Le Figaro.
Emmanuel Abramowicz — secretary general of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNVCA) — observed that developments in technology have enabled antisemites to pursue their own personal campaigns against Jews.
“The new antisemite is a civil servant or an employee who uses his company to carry out his little personal jihad against the Jew of his choice,” Abramowicz said. “In addition to our contact details, the delivery people have the codes to enter our buildings … They have all the elements, if they wanted to, to take action.”
UBC student union considers a referendum calling for BC Hillel to be evicted from campus in the wake of a November incident involving falsely attributed stickers
Vancouver’s Jewish community is concerned that the University of British Columbia’s student union could decide at their Feb. 28 meeting to place a referendum question calling for the termination of the Hillel House lease on the ballot. The UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS/Student Union) will discuss and consult Wednesday evening on whether a referendum question […]
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‘Enough is Enough’: Petition to Replace UNRWA Gets More Than 130,000 Signatures
Geneva-based monitor group UN Watch has collected more than 130,000 signatures in support of replacing UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees — after it was exposed to have extensive connections to Palestinian terrorists.
The petition was announced at a UN Watch conference which aimed to “address the humanitarian situation in Gaza and formulate a plan for a future beyond UNRWA,” which the planners described as “a failed agency.”
The petition notes that, over the past few months, it has been reported that at least 12 UNRWA employees took part in Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attacks, about 1,200 UNRWA members have terrorist connections, thousands of UNRWA teachers are part of a Telegram channel that celebrated Hamas’s attack, and Hamas built a large tunnel under the UNRWA headquarters.
“Since its creation in 1949, the agency has brainwashed Gazans into believing that their home is not Gaza, but rather on the other side of the fence, in Israel,” the petition says, referencing the fact UNRWA counts Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank as refugees even though they are living in land they consider to be Palestine.
“Enough is enough,” the petition concluded, “It’s time to stop the perverse logic of an agency that perpetuates war. It’s time to replace UNRWA.”
The show of popular opposition to UNRWA comes as a growing number of countries — more than a dozen so far — have pulled funding from the UN agency amid its many scandals.
The US State Department said “The United States is extremely troubled by the allegations that twelve UNRWA employees may have been involved in the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel,” and, consequently, it “has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them.”
Other countries, such as Japan, used similar language, noting that it was “extremely concerned” and that it would pause new funding until an investigation takes place.
Israel welcomed these developments. Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, said “major changes need to take place so that international efforts, funds and humanitarian initiatives don’t fuel Hamas terrorism and the murder of Israelis.”
However, others argue that, without UNRWA, Palestinians would have no way of obtaining critical humanitarian aid.
In January, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, after the Biden administration announced that it would pause funding to the agency, “Cutting off support to @UNRWA – the primary source of humanitarian aid to 2 million+ Gazans – is unacceptable. Among an organization of 13,000 UN aid workers, risking the starvation of millions over grave allegations of 12 is indefensible.”
“The US should restore aid immediately,” she argued.
The post ‘Enough is Enough’: Petition to Replace UNRWA Gets More Than 130,000 Signatures first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
The New York Times Shares Anti-Israel Conspiracy Theory About Boars
In a recent profile of the Israeli settlement of Homesh and the tensions between its Jewish residents and their Palestinian neighbors, The New York Times’ Steven Erlanger uncritically echoes the claim that some settlers are using boars to uproot local Palestinian agriculture.
Partway through the piece, Erlanger writes, “They [settlers] chop down olive trees, roll flaming tires down the hills to burn crops and even send boars to dig up Palestinian seedlings and fruit trees, the locals say.”
In the next paragraph, he expands on this claim, relating how a local Palestinian man has bought dogs to keep these boars away from his land.
This is not the first time that Israelis have been accused of setting wild boars loose in order to attack Palestinians and destroy their property.
However, in the more than 15 years that this libel has made the rounds of both Palestinian and foreign media outlets, it has proven to be only an incendiary cudgel used against the Jewish residents of the West Bank — not a legitimate news story.
Why would @nytimes legitimize the utterly ridiculous charge that Israeli settlers are “send[ing] boars to dig up Palestinian seedlings and fruit trees?”
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) February 26, 2024
As far back as February 2007, the Elder of Ziyon blog reported on the Palestinian claim that Israeli settlers were using trained wild boars to terrorize local Palestinian communities and to tear up their agricultural fields.
However, the claim that Israelis were using trained wild boars against local Palestinian communities really gained steam in 2012, when it was reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had previously stated that Israelis were training wild boars to uproot Palestinian trees and to “spread corruption on the face of the earth.”
In 2014, Abbas reiterated this baseless claim at a conference in Ramallah.
Since then, this libel has routinely popped up in Palestinian publications as well as news outlets aimed at foreign audiences.
As the blog Israellycool has previously noted, when it comes to blaming Israelis for wild boar attacks in Palestinian areas, there are a wide variety of conspiracies about how Israel is to blame.
These contradictory conspiracies include the allegations that Israelis are setting these pigs against Palestinian communities; that Israeli security fences are protecting Jewish communities while allowing for Palestinian areas to be ravaged; that Israelis are allowed to shoot wild boars while Palestinians are not; and that Israeli construction has forced these animals to venture into Palestinians towns and cities.
If this claim about Israel-trained fighter pigs seems fantastical, it’s because it is.
As HonestReporting noted last year (when we critiqued a UK education magazine for publishing similar absurd claims), there is no evidence that wild boar attacks in Palestinian areas of the West Bank are attributable to a nefarious Israeli plot.
In recent years, due to a variety of factors, there has been an uptick in boar sightings in both Jewish and Palestinian communities in the West Bank, as well as parts of pre-1967 Israel. In fact, the rise in boar appearances inspired a 2021 New York Times profile on the boars of Haifa.
Parallel to the rise in boar sightings has been the rise in boar attacks, with both Jewish Israelis and Palestinians falling victim to the pigs’ aggression and viciousness.
Even Yesh Din and B’Tselem, two Israeli organizations that focus on alleged human rights abuses in the West Bank, have found there to be “no evidence” of any boar attacks in Palestinian communities being attributable to a Jewish conspiracy.
This boar conspiracy is yet another point in a long line of Israel-related animal conspiracy theories.
While they might seem ridiculous, some of the theories include:
The claim that Israel trained dolphins to serve as spies or assassins.
The claim that a vulture was trained by the Mossad to conduct reconnaissance.
The claim that Israel was using rats to drive out Palestinians from their eastern Jerusalem homes.
The claim that the Mossad was responsible for a slew of shark attacks in the Red Sea off the coast of the Sinai Desert.
Much like these other conspiracies, the claim that boar attacks in the West Bank are attributable to an Israeli plot is hogwash, and should not be spread by The New York Times or other reputable news organizations.
The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.
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