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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Is Paris burning?

On Friday afternoon, just before the Sabbath started, I blogged a short item from the wire services regarding the shooting of a Paris St. Germain soccer fan by a French police officer who saved the life of a HaPoel Tel Aviv soccer fan in the aftermath of Thursday night's 4-2 HaPoel victory. There's a lot more to this story, as reported by Nidra Poller at Pajamas Media:
After carefully gathering and crosschecking every available scrap of information, this is the closest I can get to an accurate account of the chain of events.

Yanniv Hazout—Israeli or more likely a Jewish Frenchman carrying or wrapped tifosi-style in an Israeli flag—was leaving the stadium with four or five friends when a gang of about 150 men described as PSG fans started to chase them. (This was the clue I missed before my morning coffee; the gang was never described as “youths.”) Philippe Broussard of l’Express, former sports journalist and expert on hooliganism, who witnessed the attack, describes the crowd as an extremely violent dangerous horde, shouting racist and anti-Semitic insults.


Granomort, who is assigned to the transport brigade, was not on duty at the stadium that night. One report says he was watching over the parked police cars. Hopefully he will tell his side of the story when he is released from police custody. Knowing what we know of people battered senseless or kicked to death, of policemen ambushed, attacked with iron bars, getting their heads smashed, we can measure the courage of Antoine Granomort who risked his life to protect a young man bearing an Israeli flag in Paris in this day and age.

He could have left Yanniv to his sorry fate. No one would have blamed him. Who would have even known there was a plainclothes policeman in the vicinity?

Granomort tried to hold the attackers off with tear gas. He emptied his canister. They advanced, undaunted. They knocked him down, or he tripped and fell. He was kicked in the head and groin. Did he get up, or shoot from the ground at someone who was about to kick him senseless? No reliable eyewitness testimony has been made public on that detail. He says he warned them that he was a policeman. Then fired one shot.

He and his protégé ran into the Macdonald’s on the other side of Porte St. Cloud Square. The enraged mob followed them. Smashed the windows. The policeman, the Hapoel fan, and a few customers ran to the second floor of the restaurant.

Broussard speculates that the mob didn’t come into the restaurant because they were afraid they would be trapped inside. Maybe, maybe not. Were they actually thinking anything? They shouted racist and anti-Semitic insults. Granomort called for help with his walky-talky. Someone said “he’s a cop.” Does this mean they didn’t know before? It’s hard to describe the words and deeds of a mob, even if you are on the scene. Did they all belong to the Kop de Boulogne? Did they know someone had been shot, did they hear Granomort say “Police! Stand back!”? Some of them smashed the windows of the Mcdonald’s and some pasted Front National Jeunesse stickers on what was left of them. And one, shown only from feet to shoulders, gave his version to a TV reporter. He said “we,” not “the horde,” and made “us” sound far too reasonable to be true.


Claude Barouch, president of the UPJF (Union des patrons et professionnels juifs de France) was at the stadium last night. Of course. He was surprised by the low level of security for a high risk game. Fifteen thousand Jewish fans of an Israeli team. No frisking, no ID control. Député Claude Goasguen drafted a bill last year to combat violence in stadiums. He would like to see it strictly enforced. Interior Minister Sarkozy promised results. The president of PSG, sitting in front of a red background printed with alternating Nike swishes and “Fly Emirates,” made an empty non-committal statement at a brief press conference. He would like this problem to disappear and leave the box office in peace. But something tells me this is one more ongoing thing that is going to just keep going on.


UPDATE 25 November

Ok, now we have all done some in-depth investigations. I’ll begin with my own. Eyewitness—a young security guard in front of a synagogue Saturday morning. Of course he had seen the PSG-Hapoel game. The atmosphere was okay during the game…there were so many Jews. But when we came out of the stadium they were harassing us, roughing us up, calling us “sales feujs” [dirty kikes], taunting, “Where are your flags, huh? Afraid to show them now?” It was going on all over the place. The CRS [riot police] just stood there and watched.

He saw the beginnings of the incident at Porte St. Cloud…and didn’t linger. There were no problems in the metro because there were so many transportation security police. He wonders…if Hapoel had lost the game would the PSG fans have been so aggressive?

Interviewed by the AFP, Patrick Bittan, martial arts instructor at the GIGN [elite commando force of the Gendarmerie] gives a more dramatic description of Jews forced to pass through tightly structured gauntlets. “They asked if we were Jewish, or just said ‘Jew’ to see how we reacted, they looked in people’s bags to see if they had an Israeli flag, something Jewish. I saw two or three guys really get hit.”

The missing link. And yet it’s so obvious. Of course it was not one incident, not one or even five Hapoel fans, it was Jews in general who were hassled. Libération reports that the kops of Boulogne, who usually pick fights with the banlieusards of the Auteil tribune, forgot their rivalry and went after the Jews. Rumors had circulated that the Betar and the Jewish Defense League were going to arrive in force. Yeah, sure. That’s what the K tribe said when they marched into the Jewish quarter in paramilitary formation. So the skinheads and the punk jihadis had to rough up Jews to prevent a Betar-JDL massacre?

Yanniv Hazout was interviewed on TV. All they showed was his jeans and shoes—Nikes or Adidas, I couldn’t tell. He expressed his gratitude to the policeman who rescued him. Just looking at his shoes you could tell the young man was still in shock from his brush with death. Hazout says Granomort shouted loud and clear that he was a policeman, and ordered the mob to back off. He showed his gun. Someone mocked him, “it’s not a real gun.” They thought they had easy prey, a jackpot, a Black and a Jew. Granomort warned several times before shooting.


Countless eyewitnesses quoted in the media today concur. It was a savage horde, they were out of control, they shouted “dirty Nigger, dirty Kike, we’re going to kill you.” Some reports say they also shouted “Le Pen for president.” I don’t know why that seems comical. One young man explained that the PSG fans weren’t really out to do a pogrom on Jews, they were just fed up because the team lost but, he added, there was an undercurrent because of the “extreme right, and sympathy for the Palestinian cause.”

Interior Minister Sarkozy met with all concerned parties this morning and solemnly swore to impose draconian measures on soccer clubs and their fans. In case of non compliance, they will play to empty stadiums.

Ségolène Royal said “Amen.”

And Antoine Granomort, presented to the court as a material witness (and not charged with involuntary manslaughter as originally expected), has just been exonerated on the grounds of self-defense and released.
Read the whole thing.


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