It Is Well and Alive in France
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
The attack yesterday morning on the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, France underscored once again that anti-Semitism is sadly alive and well in France. After several years of relative calm for the French Jewish community, a mad gunman pulled into the school yard on his motorcycle as students were arriving for the day and killed a Rabbi, who was a teacher in the school and two of his children, as well as a third student who was murdered apparently in blatant executionary style. The attack aroused fear and alarm throughout France as the authorities now believe the gunman is connected to earlier attacks on other African and Caribbean black paratroopers, and it is suggested he might well belong to a neo-Nazi group in France.
Interestingly, there were some positive signs that actually emerged in examining the response in France to the killings or so it seemed from the reporting.
President Nicholas Sarkozy and his Socialist opponent Francois Hollande immediately suspended election campaigning until Wednesday and went to Toulouse.
All schools in France had a moment of silence to memorialize the slain victims.
Many leading French politicians attended a memorial service Monday night in a synagogue in Paris.
Apparently thousands of people marched in silence in Paris in a demonstration organized by the French Union of Jewish Students.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe reported to have admitted that although it has been fought against for years, anti-Semitism still exists in France.
Efforts to claim that the killer was shooting at whites not Jews is quickly discounted by the fact that there are many more Catholic schools in France to chose from were the killer looking for Whites.
A joint march of Jews and Muslims is being organized in Paris for Sunday which could demonstrate unusual public unity in the face of the tragedy.
Sadly, however, it is the reality that these events still happen which begs for explanations when there are none. As Robert Wistrich so painfully called it in the title to his 2007 monumental study, anti-Semitism still remains a lethal obsession.