Saturday, January 10, 2015

France's Historical Record with Jews

Nadene Goldfoot                                                              
Yoav Hattaab, 21 yr old victim in Kosher Deli

Yohan Cohen, 22 yr old victim in Deli

CNN just interviewed a Jewish hostage who was kept alive in the kosher supermarket in Paris by a radical Muslim terrorist's attack.  The young man stated that Jews had been in France for 1,000 years.  He may not realize it, but Jews were living there before 70 CE when the 2nd Temple was burned down in Jerusalem by the Romans, about 2,000 years.

Two other Jewish men were slaughtered.  Philippe Braham was 40 and Francois-Michel Saada was in his 60's, possibly a grandfather.  The terrorist was a French Somalian, Amedy Coulibaly.

Organized Jewish communities lived in France in the period of the Roman Empire. Their safe position there deteriorated with the triumph of Christianity Church Councils who took steps to enforce the conventional anti-Jewish codes.  Some Jews had had prominent positions at court under the Merovingians.

In the 8th century they were under the protection of Charlemagne and his house.  Then Jewish merchants were able to settle and live in France for purposes of trade, importing foreign luxuries and  starting new communities up the Rhone Valley and into Champagne.  By the 9th century, southern France was the main center of the activity of the international traders, called Radanites.  This brings us to the 800's; more than 1,000 years of living in France.

Now, in the 11th and 12th centuries, the Jewish communities of northern France were the most densely settled in Europe; maybe in the whole world.  The Talmud was the main branch of study and here was the
seat of RASHI and the TOSAPHISTS.  RASHI was a famous biblical commentator born in 1040 in Troyes, France.  He studied in what was Germany, the Rhineland in Worms, but died in Troyes in 1105. RASHI is the abbreviation for Rabbi Solomon Yitzhaki ben Isaac.
Jews were kept from trade and handicrafts which forced them into moneylending, something Christians distained doing by their own religious principals.  In Provence, however, the Jewish communities were economically and intellectually under a very strong Spanish influence.  The spread of the Crusading spirit and the religious reaction in its wake influenced the position the Jews and put them into peril.  Murderous attacks became common after the First Crusade in 1096.  The Blood accusation often provided the motive after the case in Blois, France in 1171.  In 1215 was the anti-Jewish legislation of the 4th Lateran Council.   was quickly enforced against Jews.  The Talmud was burned after the Disputation of Paris in 1240.  Louis IX of 1226-70 allowed the  treatment of Jews to worsen. and by 1306 they were brutally expelled.  Only a handful of Jews were allowed back for a short and dangerous period from 1315 to 1321.  and again tried it in 1361 to 1394.  Only in Provence were they allowed to stay until the beginning of the 16th century.  And so it went.  Life in France was full of pogroms and hatred brought on by religion.

Finally we come to the Dreyfus Affair of 1894 to 1906 when a French Jewish Captain was accused of being a spy for Germany and wasn't.  This is when Jewish leaders realized that between France and Russian pogroms, we were not faring very well and really needed a country of our own.  Africa was discussed but nobody felt anything for that continent.  They realized the only place for them was in their ancient homeland.
World War I had Germany and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey)  pitted against Europe and the USA, and of course they lost the war.  The Allies decided to award Palestine (former Israel and Judah) back to the Jews and gave the mandate to England for a 30 year period, and what happened?  Germany grumbled again and started killing and harming Jews, but instead of letting these Jews into Palestine, which was to be their home and the English were to help them achieve this goal, turned on them and allowed Arabs into Palestine instead; keeping out Jews.

France fell quickly to the Vichy government in 1940 which was absolute disaster for the Jews.  Headed by Marshal Petain during the German occupation of France, they outlawed Jews and these authorities didn't stop the deportation of Jews by the Germans to the extermination camps.  It carried out its policy through the Union Generale des Israelites de France, founded in 1941, before Israel was able to be created.  Anti-Semitism ruled and anti-Jewish legislation became the rule.  The Germans carried out their policy of confiscation and brutality which meant departing 90,000 Jews from France to death-chambers.   I doubt if many French Jews survived all this.

After the war Jews from North Africa came into France in the 1950's and 1960's.  They would have spoken French, making the move easier.  Finally a quarter of a million Jews had arrived, including almost all the 120,000 Jews of Algeria and made Jews the largest population in Europe. About 10,000 Algerian Jews made aliyah to Israel.   In 1990 they had 530,000 Jews of North African origin moving into many positions of leadership and also refounding communities in southern France.  Why do you think they went back to France?  North Africa had many Muslims who probably since 1948, were discriminating and harming them.  The Muslims followed the Jews to France and now there are about 6.5 million compared to 500,000 Jews.                                                                  
4 Jewish day school victims murdered
 "On 19 March 2012, four people, including three children, were killed at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse, France. The perpetrator was identified as Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old French petty criminal, of Algerian descent   Demonstrations in support of his jihad massacre were held in France.  He was regarded as a hero.  France promised more protection for Jews.

Shooting a Jewish day school has been a recent event along with other attacks causing about 5,000 Jews to make aliyah to Israel.  This recent attack of Muslims against French people, specifically the kosher supermarket is going to cause some more to leave, since about 3 years ago the government had promised more protection and hasn't followed up with it.

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Update: 1/11/15

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