Muslims and Jews in France

Muslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict

Maud S. Mandel
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Muslims and Jews in France
    Book Description:

    This book traces the global, national, and local origins of the conflict between Muslims and Jews in France, challenging the belief that rising anti-Semitism in France is rooted solely in the unfolding crisis in Israel and Palestine. Maud Mandel shows how the conflict in fact emerged from processes internal to French society itself even as it was shaped by affairs elsewhere, particularly in North Africa during the era of decolonization.

    Mandel examines moments in which conflicts between Muslims and Jews became a matter of concern to French police, the media, and an array of self-appointed spokesmen from both communities: Israel's War of Independence in 1948, France's decolonization of North Africa, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the 1968 student riots, and François Mitterrand's experiments with multiculturalism in the 1980s. She takes an in-depth, on-the-ground look at interethnic relations in Marseille, which is home to the country's largest Muslim and Jewish populations outside of Paris. She reveals how Muslims and Jews in France have related to each other in diverse ways throughout this history--as former residents of French North Africa, as immigrants competing for limited resources, as employers and employees, as victims of racist aggression, as religious minorities in a secularizing state, and as French citizens.

    InMuslims and Jews in France, Mandel traces the way these multiple, complex interactions have been overshadowed and obscured by a reductionist narrative of Muslim-Jewish polarization.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4858-4
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    In autumn 2000, Muslim-Jewish relations in France captured national attention following a dramatic spike in anti-Jewish violence. Largely the work of Muslim youth from the country’s most disadvantaged sectors, the violence raised alarms over rising antisemitism and emerging ethno-religious conflict in France. Periodic moments of dramatic bloodshed such as the 2006 torture and murder of twenty-three-year-old Ilan Halimi, and Mohammed Merah’s March 2012 shooting of a rabbi and three children at Ozar Hatorah, a Jewish school in Toulouse, have kept such fears alive, while studies of increasing French Jewish intolerance toward “Arabs” suggest that relations between France’s two largest ethno-religious...

  5. 1 Colonial Policies, Middle Eastern War, and City Spaces: Marseille in 1948
    (pp. 15-34)

    In June 1948, North African Muslim dockworkers in Marseille refused to load freight onto boats transporting Jews or arms to the Middle East. As one official reported, “They consider Marseille to be one of the principle supply bases for the state of Israel.”¹ Others complained that complaisant French officials were turning a blind eye to the thousands of Jewish migrants traveling through the city en route to Israel who, upon arrival, sent their passports to their coreligionists in Morocco and Tunisia for re-use.¹

    As such comments suggest, the 1948 war over the declaration of Israeli independence had repercussions in France....

  6. 2 Decolonization and Migration: Constructing the North African Jew
    (pp. 35-58)

    The emigration of Moroccan and Tunisian Jews, already a source of tension in 1948 despite the small numbers, surged during French decolonization. Sixty-one thousand Moroccan Jews thus left for Israel between 1955 and the first half of 1956, as did 15,300 Tunisian Jews.¹ In addition, approximately 20,000 Algerian Jews departed from 1954 to 1961 (after which most others left), although their destination was almost always France where they held citizenship.² By 1984, North Africa, which had once housed 470,000 Jews, held 16,700.³

    The complex push factors behind this migration, which coincided with France’s violent withdrawal from the region, included poverty...

  7. 3 Encounters in the Metropole: The Impact of Decolonization on Muslim-Jewish Life in France in the 1950s and 1960s
    (pp. 59-79)

    The lessons learned in North Africa from 1948 to 1962 had significant repercussions in France. First, for many French Jewish leaders preoccupied with rebuilding from the recent Nazi and Vichy persecutions, the Jewish meanings in French decolonization were all too clear. While those on the left expressed empathy for Muslim victims of French racism and called for Muslim-Jewish cooperation throughout the Algerian crisis, many of those representing major Jewish institutions or publications echoed fears that the “Arab world” had turned on its Jewish residents. As a result, distrust and animosity rather than commonalities and cooperation tended to dominate mainstream institutional...

  8. 4 The 1967 War and the Forging of Political Community
    (pp. 80-99)

    This chapter investigates how the 1967 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors influenced Muslim-Jewish relations in France. As will become clear, this conflict—which ended with Israel’s occupation of significant Arab lands including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank—had little impact on daily interactions more fundamentally shaped by the colonial North African past and the French present than the Middle East. Nevertheless, the unprecedented mobilization of Jewish organizational life around Israel and efforts to create parallel affinities in the Muslim North African population around Palestine continued to shape political discourse in binary terms. The result was that...

  9. 5 Palestine in France: Radical Politics and Hardening Ethnic Allegiances, 1968–72
    (pp. 100-124)

    In June 1968, almost one year to the day after the 1967 war, a riot in the Parisian immigrant neighborhood of Belleville between Muslim and Jewish residents took France by surprise. Capturing widespread media attention, many commentators feared the violence was evidence that transnational ethno-religious allegiances had inevitably begun to pit Muslims and Jews against each other. And yet the riot’s origins were more complex than such assertions suggested coming, as they did, in the midst of theévénementsof May/June 1968. During those weeks, Anarchist, Trotskyist, and Maoist student groups initiated uprisings that led to the largest general strike...

  10. 6 Particularism versus Pluriculturalism: The Birth and Death of the Anti-Racist Coalition
    (pp. 125-152)

    This chapter traces the rise and fall of a Muslim-Jewish alliance to fight racism in 1980s France. Two political shifts early in the decade allowed the joint antiracist campaign to emerge. First was the coming of age of a new generation of French-born Muslim activists who began, often in religious or ethnic terms, to articulate a politics of resistance to their political and social exclusion. Reaching out to the isolated, economically excluded, and socially contained youth of the Frenchbanlieue, the so-called Beur Movement created momentum around a new identity politics.¹ The second development evolved from experiments in multiculturalism that...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 153-156)

    We end where we began in October 2000, when six Molotov cocktails thrown at a synagogue in Villepinte unleashed in France the violence some had feared would become a regular feature of interethnic relations following the Belleville riots in 1968. Annual statistics and detailed studies have subsequently confirmed mounting antisemitism among French Muslim youth, particularly in the urban banlieus where stereotypes of powerful and wealthy Jews circulate widely.¹ While analysts disagree as to the cause of this hostility, all agree that the year 2000 marked a turning point of significant consequence in which the forces that had previously kept violence...

    (pp. 157-158)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 159-240)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 241-254)