The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, October 31, 2003

A little tale of McCarthyism amongst the Chosen People...

I generally stay away from matters Israelo-Palestinian: never been there, know neither Hebrew nor the diglossia of Arabic, the world and his wife got there first.

So whether the vignette from today's Ha'aretz (October 31) is typical or an utter aberration, I know not. Either way, it is not without interest:

A French-born Jew, Lucien Lazare, had the temerity to translate, for inclusion in Le Monde, a piece by his son-in-law, Labor MK Avraham Burg, under the headline, Zionism is Dead. As a result, his co-religionists saw fit to cast him out of the synagogue he's worshipped at for 35 years.

Not proof, certainly, that the idea that Israel is an island of liberal democracy in a sea of reaction and authoritarianism is mere onanistic neocon fantasy; but prima facie evidence in favour of the proposition, perhaps.

The piece has some historical background on Lazare:
In 1936-38, Jewish immigrants had flocked to his home in Alsace trying to find refuge from their persecutors. His father spared no effort to find lodgings, food and work for them. Eventually the Jews of the city blamed his irresponsible acts for strengthening the anti-Semitism toward them. "Don't have anything to do with them and don't help them," he told him. "Those refugees aren't like us. They look too Jewish and there's not a chance that they'll learn French."

My understanding is that France received a good many Central European Jews in the pre-War period; and that the existing Jewish population - represented by the Union générale des Israélites de France (UGIF) - were, as the piece suggests, far from effusive in their welcome.

I also believe that, of the Jews taken from France and exterminated by the Nazis, the vast preponderance were refugees, rather than Jews born in France. (That would obviously need checking: for the moment, treat it as my hypothesis!)

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