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    France Tag

    The controversial National Front party lost ground to former president Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right UMP party and their allies in the first round of the French elections on Sunday. UMP took 32% of the vote, with Marine Le Pen's National Front (FN) trailing at 26%. Current president Francis Hollande's Socialists came in third with 21% of the vote. All is not said and done for the resurgent Sarkozy, who still has to face a second round of elections on March 29, but it does signal to Hollande's majority that the French people could be ready for change. Don't look for a winning alliance between UMP and the FN, though. From Reuters:
    Sarkozy immediately ruled out any alliances between his party and FN candidates in next Sunday's second round, which will decide who controls France's "departements", one level in France's complex multi-layered system of local government. "To those who voted National Front, we understand your frustrations," UMP chairman Sarkozy told supporters at party headquarters. "But this party will not solve France's problems - it will only make them worse," added the ex-president, who came out of retirement last year and hopes to secure the 2017 presidential ticket for his bitterly divided party in primaries next year.

    "Walking while Jewish" is a phrase I have been using quite a bit lately, when it comes to the rise of anti-Semitic street harassment and violence in Europe, often masquerading as anti-Zionism and frequently by Muslim young men. A Swedish reporter made a film recently of how he was harassed in Malmö, Sweden, while walking with a Kippa (Yarmoulke), and we have discussed Kippah Walks to protest street harassment in Copenhagen. An Israeli film crew from NRG news produced a video 10 Hours of Walking in Paris as a Jew (embedded below). The NRG website explains many of the comments, some of which are on the video, some of which are not:
    "Go f*** from the front and the back," "Viva Palestine," "Hey you, with the kippa, what are you doing here?" these were only a few of the remarks sent my way as I was walking through the streets of Paris wearing a tzitzit and a kippa. Welcome to Paris 2015, where soldiers are walking every street that houses a Jewish institution, and where keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women speak Arabic on every street corner. Walking down one Parisian suburb, I was asked what I doing there. In modern-day Paris, you see, Jews are barred from entering certain areas.

    We recently covered the No-Go Zones of Europe. In the newest edition of Afterburner, Bill Whittle takes a close look at France and the events that led to the attack on Charlie Hebdo, particularly European multiculturalism which is anti-assimilationist. Whittle also makes an excellent analogy to American Politics, citing the identity groups that sprang up around Obama in the 2008 election. Watch it below: Speaking of Europe and multiculturalism, Sweden is at a crossroads. Although usually hailed by progressives as a standard for society, the political system in Sweden is breaking down.

    The U.S. failed to send any senior official to the Paris Solidarity Rally. Eric Holder even was in Paris at the time, but did Sunday morning talk shows. Instead, yesterday John Kerry brought James Taylor to France to play "You've Got A Friend" to smooth things over. We suggested that Barry McGuire's Eve of Destruction was a better choice. Using James Taylor as foreign policy political cover was embarrassing for our country. But Kerry seemed oblivious to the imagery, as he went into a dreamy trance as Taylor sang. (See Featured Image) Here are five songs the French could have, and maybe should have, played back at Kerry.

    1. Bobby Vee - Go Away Little Girl

    John Kerry had a near lip lock with French President Hollande (via Instapundit). Which makes Bobby Vee - Go Away Little Girl (1962) my number one pick:

    It was bad enough that none of President Obama, Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Kerry attended Sunday's Solidarity March in Paris, attended by dozens of world leaders. It would have been the right thing for Obama to attend. There was enough security to protect obvious targets like the French President, the German Chancellor and the Israeli Prime Minister. There is no indication that security kept Obama away. But what about Biden, Kerry, or some other very senior official? France is a key U.S. ally. The attacks in Paris were carried out by followers of groups that also kill Americans. Having at least one senior official, even if not the President, in attendance would have been a no-brainer. But not with this President. The attacks in Paris did not fit a narrative the administration wants to address. The problem was not security, but that the Solidarity March was against not just terrorism, but radical Islam and its suppression of free speech and the press through ideological and physical intimidation. That apparently was too much for a President who considers that we are the source of the problem through past behavior. Eric Holder was in Paris for a security conference. There were rumors that he would represent the U.S. at the march. Surely that would have been an easy, though imperfect, solution. I watched the march online via live video stream while covering it for Legal Insurrection. I took numerous screen shots of the leaders lined up. I didn't see Holder anywhere. Paris National Unity Rally Netanyahu others News reports confirm Holder did not attend. Then I flipped channels on the TV to see who was covering the march, and found Holder being interviewed by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.

    Almost since the beginning of this website in the fall of 2008 I have been sounding the alarm about, and documenting, the rise of anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism in Europe. It's been a toxic marriage of anti-Jewish Islamists and anti-Israeli leftists, resulting not just in fatalities, but in the inability to be publicly Jewish.  Walking while Jewish is not possible in most of Europe. It's worst where the marriage of Islamism and Leftism is most complete, in cities like Malmö, Sweden, but the Malmö Syndrome has spread almost everywhere in Europe. It's what allows a BBC anchor today to berate a French woman complaining about threats to Jews in France after the murders at the kosher supermarket, with a harangue about Israel. Remember the riots in Paris and elsewhere in Europe last summer in which gross anti-Semitism was on full display under the guise of anti-Zionism. Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic has a fascinating interview with French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls. When you read it, keep in mind that it too place before the recent killing at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermaket, French Prime Minister: If Jews Flee, the Republic Will Be a Failure:

    As the world mourns the victims of the Paris attack, we should also recognize two acts of bravery by Muslims in the course of the week's events at the Charlie Hebdo offices and Hyper Casher Kosher supermarket. The first is Ahmed Merabet, a French policeman who was killed at Charlie Hebdo. Anne Penketh of The Guardian recognized him in a recent report:
    Policeman Ahmed Merabet mourned after death in Charlie Hebdo attack It was a Muslim policeman from a local police station who was “slaughtered like a dog” after heroically trying to stop two heavily armed killers from fleeing the Charlie Hebdo offices following the massacre. Tributes to Ahmed Merabet poured in on Thursday after images of his murder at point blank range by a Kalashnikov-wielding masked terrorist circulated around the world. Merabet, who according to officials was 40, was called to the scene while on patrol with a female colleague in the neighbourhood, just in time to see the black Citroën used by the two killers heading towards the boulevard from Charlie Hebdo.

    The attack by radical Islamists at the Paris Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket left four hostages dead, plus one of the gunmen. The Hyper Cacher supermarket attack appears to have been coordinated with the two men who killed 12 at Charlie Hebdo. The specter of widespread anti-Semitism on the streets of Paris is nothing new. It has been fueled not only by centuries-old hatreds, but by the more modern Islamist, "anti-Zionist" and BDS movements whose hatred of Israel is obsessive and dehumanizing. Below are a couple of videos from the assaults on Jewish sections of Paris and a Synagogue during "pro-Palestinian" riots last summer over the Gaza conflict. See also several of my posts (some of the videos in the posts have gone bad):

    Overnight Eastern time a Kosher supermarket in Paris was attacked. Reports indicate two people killed and multiple people being held hostage. Meanwhile, the murderers of the the staff of Charlie Hebdo apparently are cornered and also have one or more hostages. UPDATES: France Hostage Takers Attackers Charlie Kosher Supermarket Sky News Four Hostages Dead Sky News Hostages Freed Jewish Grocery

    There was an attack on a French satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo, using automatic weapons and a rocket-propelled grenade, killing 12. The killers are at large as of this writing. The NY Times reports:
    Masked gunmen with automatic weapons opened fire in the offices of a French satirical newspaper on Wednesday in Paris, the police said, killing 12 people and then escaping in a car. President François Hollande said the attack on the weekly, Charlie Hebdo, was “without a doubt” an act of terrorism and raised the nationwide terror alert to its highest status. He said that several terrorist attacks had been thwarted in recent weeks.... A senior French prosecutor said the victims included two police officers, including one assigned to guard the newspaper’s offices and its top editor. The second officer was shot and killed as he lay on the ground, the police said.... [A] United States official noted that, according to social media reports, the attackers did refer to the Prophet Muhammad, saying he was “avenged.”
    (More video and Twitter updates later in post)

    In recent weeks, we have covered dozens of instances of violence and harassment reflecting a simmering convergence of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism worldwide, but particularly in Europe. In Paris, the situation is particularly dire: Cnaan Lipshiz writing in The Times of Israel, adds context that in Paris, the violence simply has become routine, a part of the background, Coming face to face with anti-Semites in Paris:
    My friend Alain Azria gave me a puzzled look when I told him, with some indignation and disbelief in my voice, that I had just heard talk of killing Jews at an unauthorized anti-Israel demonstration last month in Paris A young black man with a Parisian accent told a dozen friends loudly, but without shouting, “OK, guys. Let’s go hunt some Jews.”

    We've documented many times the open anti-Semitism that infuses many "pro-Palestinian" anti-Israel rallies around the world, including the United States. In Paris, scene of vicious anti-Jewish protests, another protest today Thousands protest Gaza operation in Paris, some with Nazi-like 'quenelle' salute:
    Several thousand gathered in Place de la République in Paris, France to protest the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, defying a state ban on the demonstration. Protesters chanted "Israel is an assassin, Holland is an accomplice" and "we are all Palestinians," and some were seen gesturing the quenelle, a reverse Nazi-salute, AFP reported. Tension mounted as hundreds of protesters, some masked, began throwing stones and projectiles at police who responded with tear gas. "This event is illegal, but for us it is more than legitimate. This is to show our solidarity with people who are now being massacred," Hugo, a New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) activist, told AFP. The NPA decided to defy the ban and hold the protest as planned in an assertion of the party's "solidarity with the Palestinian people," NPA leader Olivier Besancenot said. Earlier, France's interior minister called on the protest's organizers to observe the order, fearing anti-Semitic violence. In The Hague, Netherlands, meanwhile, Dutch News reports, The Hague mayor urged to get tough after anti-Jewish chanting at rally(via Jihad Watch):

    While I had seen the images and videos, I did not realize the depth of the depravity exhibited in the anti-Jewish riots in Paris. HuffPo UK reports, France's Jews Flee As Rioters Burn Paris Shops, Attack Synagogue:
    France's politicians and community leaders have criticised the "intolerable" violence against Paris' Jewish community, after a pro-Palestinian rally led to the vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses and the burning of cars. It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city's Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of "Gas the Jews" and "Kill the Jews", as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as "little Jerusalem". Manuel Valls, France's prime minister said: “What happened in Sarcelles is intolerable. An attack on a synagogue and on a kosher shop is simply anti-Semitism. Nothing in France can justify this violence.”
    The HuffPo post has numerous photos. The Times [of London] Europe Edition reports, Jewish shops set ablaze in Paris’s Little Jerusalem:

    On the streets of Paris today, a crowd of anti-Israel protesters surrounded and attacked a Synagogue full of worshippers, throwing rocks and attacking the building, via Times of Israel:
    Several thousand demonstrators walked calmly through the streets of Paris behind a large banner that read “Total Support for the Struggle of the Palestinian People”. But clashes erupted at the end of the march on Bastille Square, with people throwing projectiles onto a cordon of police who responded with tear gas. The unrest was continuing early Sunday evening. Media reports said that hundreds of Jews were trapped inside a synagogue in the area and police units were sent to rescue them. A person in the synagogue told Israel’s Channel 2 news that protesters hurled stones and bricks at the building, “like it was an intifada.”

    Yesterday, President Obama announced America should aspire to be more like France when supplying employee benefits. The Washington Examiner reports:
    “Other countries know how to do this,” Obama said. “If France can figure this out, we can figure it out.” “Many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth,” Obama said. “There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not a list you want to be on, by your lonesome.”
    On the surface, this sounds like a fair enough argument, but then so does raising the minimum wage... until you consider the numeric reality. Unlike the United States, France's unemployment rate clocks in at a steady 10% for workers over 25. Under 25, the rate is closer to 25% unemployed. For perspective, the US and the UK both hover around a 6% unemployment rate. But that's not the only factor worth considering. Remember the infamous 75% tax? That was France, all France. Take a look at where France ranks in taxation comparable to the United States: [caption id="attachment_90228" align="aligncenter" width="639"]Source: Tax Policy Center Source: Tax Policy Center[/caption] Tax conditions in France are so horrid, that entrepreneurs are fleeing to countries with more agreeable taxation rates. The New York Times discussed this phenomenon. This aspiring entrepreneur left for the UK:
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