In the wake of an outbreak of violent antisemitism in many of France’s Jewish neighborhoods – coinciding (not coincidentally) with the influx of thousands of Islamic refugees – more than 300 French actors, artists, and politicians have signed a manifesto condemning the rise of hatred in their country. The condemnation, published in Sunday’s edition of the Le Figaro newspaper, says that it’s time for the people of France to speak out against the changing tide of civilization…before there is nothing left to save.
“We demand that the fight against this democratic failure that is antisemitism becomes a national cause before it’s too late,” the signatories write. “Before France is no longer France.”
The manifesto decries the “quiet ethnic purging” of Jewish working-class communities, driven primarily by the Islamist ideologies quickly gaining a foothold in refugee strongholds.
“In our recent history, 11 Jews have been assassinated – and some tortured – by radical Islamists because they were Jewish,” the manifesto reads. “French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than their fellow Muslim citizens.”
Of course, France’s growing frustration with radical Islam does not begin or end with antisemitism. Jews may be taking the brunt of the street-level violence, but the country as a whole has struggled to meet the demands forced upon it by an extraordinary wave of terrorist attacks. More than 200 people have been killed in attacks over the last three years, many of which were carried out by Muslims pledging allegiance – if not working directly with – the Islamic State. Studies have shown that nearly 2,000 French nationals have actually gone to Syria and Iraq to fight side by side with ISIS.
French President Emmanuel Macron is not blind to the problem, but it’s not clear that he’s willing to go to the lengths necessary to truly solve it. His big plan these days is to work with Muslim reformers to promote a version of the religion that is more moderate and less extreme than the version leading people down the path to radicalization. Macron is commendably more willing to address the cancer of Islamism than many of his European allies (or, for that matter, former President Obama), but his approach still runs the risk of being too politically correct to make a difference.
On the other hand, he is doing something, and that’s more than many other European countries can claim. His crackdown on Salafist mosques has already borne fruit and no one can question Macron’s commitment to “secularizing” Islam in France to the extent possible. This is an effort that will take time, unfortunately, and France may only be one devastating terror attack away from losing patience.