‘Jews and French people’

From French President Jacques Chirac‘s speech for Bastille Day yesterday:

We are going through a period of displays of racism in which our compatriots, Jews, Muslim or even others, sometimes even simply French people, are the object of aggression with the only motive that they don’t belong or are not from such and such a community.

This is the equivalent of George W. Bush saying, “9/11 was a terrible event for Jews, Blacks, and also normal Americans.” The New York Times picked up on it:

The suggestion that Jews or Muslims are separate from French people was apparently a slip of the tongue. But it was reminiscent of the words of Raymond Barre, then prime minister, after a bomb attack on a Paris synagogue in 1980, when he deplored the fact that “Jews and innocent French were wounded.”

Once might be a ‘slip of the tongue,’ but twice is an indication of something deeper, wouldn’t you say? On this 215th anniversary of French democracy, just how far have the French elite come in accepting Jews into the ‘fraternitie’?

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