Last month, shortly after the death of four Jews shopping at a Kosher Market in Paris, Jewdas published a translated statement by the Union Juive Francaise Pour La Paix – the French Jewish Union for Peace. We’re keen to learn more about how the French left is thinking about anti-semitism, so today we’re publishing another statement, this time by Regard Noir – Federation Anarchiste – a Parisian division of the Anarchist Federation
Thanks goes to our Paris correspondent James Kleinfeld (@jameskleinfeld) for providing the translation.
The struggle against antisemitism is not a relic of the past.
Antisemitism is a violent oppression, just like all other oppressions. It has always been so, but today it is essential for us not to compromise with this particular racism, and to set the record straight.
No, antisemitism is not only to be found exclusively in a small section of the far right. You can also find it in the far left and throughout the political spectrum. This is true today, but it is nothing new; no movement is totally spared. We can, after all, just as well find other forms of oppression in every movement, there is no reason that this shouldn’t be the case for this oppression in particular.
No, antisemitism is not ‘out of fashion’, or something brought back into fashion by the French State — or by the State of Israel while we’re on the subject — so as to denigrate the Palestinian struggle. If it is true that this oppression is instrumentalised by those in power, the same goes for the Palestinian struggle, which we do not so readily abandon. Those on the Left who say such things do so, for the most part, out of pure essentialist demagogy, out of fear for alienating those who feel concerned by the situation in Palestine.
This amounts to saying: “Let’s not criticise Arabs and Blacks who make anti-semitic statements within the Palestinian struggle, so that we can move beyond our movement full of White people and gain support in the lower and working class neighbourhoods.” This amounts at once to fantasy, contempt and paternalism. It has been a long time since the most ‘sketchy’ people were ejected from demonstrations, and now we can no longer get enough people on the left to clean up our own house; is this a cause or an effect?
We consider that not ejecting antisemitic elements from the struggles in support of Palestine does no favour to this struggle and that to not fight antisemitism specifically amounts to accepting entryism of reactionary or fascist groups. By the same token, tolerating antisemites in pro-Palestinian organisations, above all those on the Left, is unacceptable; our behaviour must be irreproachable on this subject and a clear line must be drawn. The problem must be posed clearly, without using the easy and pathetic excuse of fascist, police or government provocation to justify it. If these organisations do not undertake this work, we will have to draw the line in the sand ourselves.
No, the struggle against antisemitism is no less important than the struggle against racism towards Muslims. The near total silence on the far Left and amongst most anarchists on the antisemitic nature of the murders in the Kosher supermarket, the killings by Mohammed Merah, by Youssouf Fofana’s gang and the slaughter in the Jewish museum in Belgian, is deafening. What’s more, the killers are presented as “mad” or “psychopaths” without anybody really considering the political and antisemitic nature of their acts. The victims are systematically “forgotten” in the record of the victims of racism. Even when this forgetfulness is apparently involuntary, of which we cannot be certain, this is still a sign of the lack of interest amongst the far Left, anarchists and antifascists on this subject.
No, to struggle against antisemitism does not mean to support the State of Israel. We struggle against all States without exception, in this respect the State of Israel is as much an enemy as the French state. As anarchists we support as much the struggle against racist and colonial politics. To claim that the objective of the denunciation of leftwing antisemitism is to legitimise the State of Israel amounts to affirming the existence of a “Zionist” conspiracy within the libertarian movement. The conspiratorial discourse lies not far behind, and many accusations and attacks go in this direction: Frenchstyle ‘AntiDeutsch’, Zionists, colonialists, imperialists etc. These attacks will not stop us from putting our foot in our mouths, with all due respect to those who hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
No, jews and Jews  do not all support Israel. Just as Muslims do not have to justify themselves for the attacks of a couple of takfiris , jews and Jews do not have to be excused for the crimes of Israel and do not also have to justify their support for the Palestinian struggle more than other militants. This attitude of rejection and suspicion, along with all the other points of this article, is making our movements very unwelcoming, and that’s the least that we can say for the people coming from this community. Moreover the refusal to take interest in the struggle against antisemitism and notably in what this struggle requires in terms of self defence, is pushing a part of Jewish youth into the ranks of communitarian far right organisation, which promises to fight back, albeit obviously against the wrong enemy.
Antisemitism and Islamophobia are not “the same thing”, they do not occupy the same place or function in French society, but, far from being in a relationship of confrontation, they are mutually structured and reinforced in reactionary discourse and serve to justify one another to the detriment of our class and of those who struggle. Not hierarchising oppressions implies analysing this reality without sticking our heads in the sand, so as to better fight them with one, united front.
The “Regard noir” group of the Anarchist Federation
 German movement coming from the autonomous and antifascist far Left which, following a critique of anti-Zionism, has evolved towards pro-Israel and pro-American positions.
 There is a distinction to be drawn between a Jewish identity as religious identity and Jewish ‘cultural’ identity. In our article, we draw this distinction so as to nuance the delusional belief in a “organic community”, as so many antisemites often describe it. We should also add those assimilated into the Jewish community, whether they recognise themselves as having these “origins” or not.
 A particularly rigorous sect of Islam which considers the majority of Muslims as apostates, and which aims to isolate the Muslim community from others, notably by acts of violence which will isolate believers or assimilated Muslims so that these populations will “come back into the fold.
Well said geoffrey on all points
Interesting statement: “No, antisemitism is not only to be found exclusively in a small section of the far right. You can also find it in the far left and throughout the political spectrum. This is true today, but it is nothing new; no movement is totally spared.”
By demonizing Israel the extreme left is justifying the murder of Jews in Europe. And thus paradoxically helping Zionism.
Excellent article on France last summer: http://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2014/10/summer-in-paris/
For me it has been a sense of pride that the Jews have finally asesumd a role of strength and power to protect what is theirs. There are more than enough reasons for anti semites to rant. It is about time that there are on the face of this earth Jews to fear, Jews who wield power, and Jews who will fight for who they are and the country they call their own. When I encounter someone who voices anti semitic comments, I make it clear that I am not only a Jew but one of the Israeli persuasion, not one of the left leaning, slobbering peace loving, anti gun Democrat Jews we so often encounter in this country of ours.