Thursday, September 1, 2005

The Image of the Jews amongst the French: Towards a Deterioration?


According to a report from the Centre d'étude de la vie politique française ("Centre for the study of French political life", CEVIPOF), 35% of the population of France as a whole think that there is too much talk of the extermination of the Jews, 20% consider that the Jews have too much power in France and 51% have a negative image of the State of Israel. For the segment of the population deriving from Turkish or African immigration, the respective percentages given are 50%, 39% and, paradoxically, 49% ("Des préjugés antisémites plus répandus" ["Anti-Semitic prejudices more widespread"], Le Monde, 31st August 2005, p. 7).

Thus, whether native or non-native in origin, many French citizens are not letting themselves be overly abused by the Jewish propaganda pounding.

Too much Jewish propaganda

It is true that, as a whole, the French seem to believe what the media, the politicians, the schools and universities keep trotting out for them on the alleged extermination of the Jews. They are unaware of just about all the revisionist argumentation. They persist in confusing crematoria with "gas chambers". They take the images of dead camp detainees (inmates having succumbed to epidemics) for images of killed detainees. They do not know that the piles of shoes, hair and eyeglasses in the concentration camps simply testify to the fact, in a Europe at war and prey to blockade, of the organised recovery of everything that could be re-used or recycled for a variety of purposes. (Even today, in our consumer society, are not certain items such as unused eyeglasses or crutches collected for the benefit of people in the Third World?) In France, during the war, the hair that fell to the floor in hairdressers' salons was subject to compulsory collection for industry, which used it in the manufacture of clothes, pullovers or slippers. Every concentration camp had its shoemaking workshops and a good number of other workshops besides. In a more general way, it is equally true that the French seem to lend credence to the false testimonies of the "survivors" and the "miraculous escapees" who invade our screens and classrooms. These French people continue to think that "final solution" meant "physical extermination" and that the pesticide Zyklon B was used to kill Jews.

Although they believe it to be grounded in good part on reality, this propaganda irritates or wearies many of our fellow citizens.

The remedy advocated by certain Jews: still more propaganda!

Some Jews realise this. In its September 2005 issue, the magazine L'Histoire, managed by Michel Winock, publishes both an investigation by Claude Askolovitch entitled "Y a-t-il des sujets tabous à l'école?" ("Are there taboo subjects at school?") and an opinion-piece by Annette Wieviorka (p. 77-85). Largely faked, the investigation results would lead one to believe that the Shoah could no longer be taught about in schools without the risk of a somewhat "incendiary" (sic) reaction from the pupils. It is acknowledged in passing that, for talking about the Shoah, teachers now have at their disposal "a plethora of teaching materials" (Annette Wieviorka, p. 80); it is admitted that some of them "confirm the sense of 'saturation' felt by pupils faced with the Jewish genocide" (p. 81) and it is noted that the latter are sometimes "fed up and blasé" (p. 85). The remedy should thus consist in less beating on pupils' eardrums and sparing them this perpetual carrying on. Such, however, is not the opinion of Annette Wieviorka. For her, the error was to make a lesson "apart" of the Shoah and it would be appropriate henceforth that instruction in its entirety bear the stamp of the Shoah. No longer should the education system be satisfied with the "National Resistance and Deportation school essay contest", the "Day of Remembrance of the Deportation", Night and Fog and the films of Spielberg, Polanski or Lanzmann, the mandatory reading of the Diary of Anne Frank or books by Primo Levi and Jorge Semprun, meetings with former deportees and, especially, specific courses about that Shoah. Annette Wieviorka would like a good deal more and writes: "Wherever it is possible to teach normally, it is possible also to teach the history of the destruction of the Jews of Europe". The sentence is obscure but the context makes it clear. For this historian, author of a work called Auschwitz Explained to My Child (Pub Group West, 2002), just about all teachers could seize the opportunity to evoke the Shoah: in history, in geography, in civics, in foreign languages, in mathematics, in chemistry, in science, in technology, in music, in drawing and, assuredly, in certain out-of-school activities. In time children would thus find themselves suffused with Shoah without being aware of it. One may imagine that visits to the concentration camps, already organised with full charter trips, would transform themselves into wholly willing pilgrimages. Now, in primary education, for the school year 2005-2006, will all French children not have their "Simone Veil case"?

Against commonsense, the attitude of Annette Wieviorka and her co-religionists is to be explained first of all by their millennial custom of whining and clamouring. It also stems from the fear kindled in the Jews by the appearance, out in the open, of a generalised scepticism that, up to now, they have succeeded in containing. These Jews know that, on the rational level, revisionism has won [1]. They see but one way out remaining: to turn their Shoatic sound system up high, higher still, with the risk of alienating French people of all origins a bit more [2]. The propagandists' protests and machinations will change nothing: the "Holocaust" lie is their tunic of Nessus and they will not get out of it.

September 1, 2005

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1) See Robert Faurisson "Ten Years Ago, Jean-Claude Pressac's Capitulation" (15 June 2005). In a little known text, the late Pressac, a man who, apparently sent by Providence, was said to have brought down the revisionists, ended up declaring that, everything taken into account, the official file on the history of concentration camps was irremediably "rotten" and contained too many elements "bound for the rubbish bins of History".

2) In a work recently translated into French (Rescued from the Reich: How One of Hitler's Soldiers Saved the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Yale University Press, 2004), the Israeli-American historian Bryan Mark Rigg describes this propensity to place the Jewish memory above all else, even to the detriment of historical exactitude. Citing the words of a well-known Lubavitcher rabbi, "'The Torah and Talmud come before history'", he continues: "Although one can respect these beliefs, the Lubavitchers' ahistorical approach to their movement reveals itself dramatically when the record detracts from the image of their organization or their Rebbe [spiritual head of a group of Hassidic Jews; here the Rebbe Joseph Isaac Schneersohn]. When something might be construed as negative, they often say it is false, or an incorrect interpretation of the documents, or the explanation of those who hate them, or simply an indication of inadequate understanding of their movement. For many of them, to question the Rebbe is unthinkable. Moreover, when they do not like something in the documents about their group, they often censor the material or alter it. They have even been known, according to Avrum Ehrlich, to fabricate documents to prove a point or hide an unpleasant fact about their history" (from p. 211). B. M. Rigg here only confirms what Bernard Lazare already described in 1894, in the first chapter of his book Antisemitism, Its History And Causes, with many other examples touching on the Jewish community in general.

Translated from the French by Peter Wakefield Sault