French Prime Minister Manuel Valls blasts anti-SemitismFrench Prime Minister Manuel Valls made a blistering speech to his country's national assembly on Tuesday, in which he blasted his countrymen's lack of response to anti-Semitism, vowed to fight jihad, and even took on France's anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne.
Here's one English translation video I managed to find.
Let's go to the videotape.
And here are some more highlights.
In his speech, Valls was explicit that the “first question that has to be dealt with clearly is the struggle against antisemitism.”
“History has taught us that the awakening of antisemitism is the symptom of a crisis for democracy and of a crisis for the Republic. That is why we must respond with force,” Valls said. Recalling a series of antisemitic outrages in France in recent years, such as the abduction, torture and murder of the young Parisian Jew Ilan Halimi in 2006, the murder of three small children and a rabbi by an Islamist gunman at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, and the rape of a young Jewish woman during an antisemitic assault on a Jewish home in the Paris suburb of Creteil in December 2014, Valls asserted that these and other incidents “did not not produce the national outrage that our Jewish compatriots expected.”
“How can we accept that in France, where the Jews were emancipated two centuries ago, but which was also where they were martyred [during the Nazi Holocaust] 70 years ago, that cries of ‘death to the Jews’ can be heard on the streets?” Valls asked, the indignation in his voice steadily rising. “How can we accept that French people can be murdered for being Jews? How can we accept that compatriots, or a Tunisian citizen whose father sent him to France so that he would be safe, is killed when he goes out to buy his bread for Shabbat?”
Valls observed that there “is a historical antisemitism that goes back centuries.” But, he added, “there is also a new antisemitism that is born in our neighborhoods, coming through the internet, satellite dishes, against the backdrop of loathing of the State of Israel, which advocates hatred of the Jews and all the Jews.”
Implored the French Prime Minister: “It has to be spelled out – the right words must be used to fight this unacceptable antisemitism.”
Valls emphasized an additional point that he has made repeatedly over the last few days: that a France shorn of its Jewish community would no longer be France. “This is the message we have to communicate loud and clear,” he said. “How can we accept that in certain schools and colleges the Holocaust can’t be taught? How can we accept that when a child is asked, ‘who is your enemy,’ the response is ‘the Jew?’ When the Jews of France are attacked, France is attacked, the conscience of humanity is attacked. Let us never forget that.”
The speech was also an opportunity for Valls to directly confront Dieudonné M’Bala M’bala, the anti-Semitic French provocateur infamous for devising the “quenelle,” an inverted Nazi salute, as well as for his frequent mocking of the Holocaust. Yesterday, the French authorities confirmed that Dieudonné, along with 53 other defendants, had been arrested for offenses including hate speech, antisemitism, and glorifying terrorism.
Refusing to mention the self-styled comedian by name, Valls spoke of “the indignity of a serial hater having a full house on Saturday night, when the country was mourning for what happened [at the HyperCacher market] in Porte de Vincennes.” As the National Assembly rose in a standing ovation for the Prime Minister, Valls thundered, “Let us never pass over these matters in silence, and let justice be implacable with those who preach hate. And I say that emphatically here at the National Assembly.”Too late?