The Jewish dilemma on immigration is perhaps most apparent in France. The French situation is unique in many respects:
- The largest Jewish population outside of Israel and the United States (about 600,000 people or 1% of the population).
- A staggering Jewish intellectual/cultural presence, perhaps more influential politically than in the U.S., because French power networks tend to be more centralized (whereas American power networks, being polycentric and based in several different autonomous industries and geographical locations, strike me as more difficult to completely capture).
- The largest Muslim community in Western Europe (guestimated at perhaps 6 million or around 10% of the population).
- Relative physical proximity to Israel (one can fly from Paris to Tel Aviv in four hours), dual French-Israeli citizenship, Jewish education for children and life being perfectly practical and practiced by an increasing number of French Jews.
- An intermediate intermarriage rate over 30% generally and 40% for under 30s.
These factors together mean that French Jews are coming up against the problems posed to them by multiculturalism quicker than in other Western countries. Certainly, American Jews worry about Hispanic antisemitism, but this is a cakewalk compared to French Jews’ difficult task of getting Black and Arab Muslims to feel guilty about the Shoah. Indeed, Arabs and Muslims can only be “anti-Zionist” given Israel’s oppression of their kin of blood and faith in Palestine and French Jewish organizations’ ardent support for Israel. (more…)