Six days before President Nicolas Sarkozy is to visit Algiers, the Algerian veterans’ minister Mohamed Cherif Abbas was quoted in the daily Al-Khabar Nov. 26 attributing Sarkozy’s rise to a “Jewish lobby” that holds sway over French politics, and implying the president—whose maternal grandfather was Jewish—exploited family connections. (AFP, Nov. 28) The comments came as the new violence in Paris’ suburbs reached a height—and spread to Toulouse, where a library was set on fire and a dozen cars were torched. The riots, sparked by the deaths of two teenagers in a police car collision with a motorbike Nov. 25, this time saw North African youth firing on police with shotguns. “This is a real guerrilla war,” senior police union official Patrice Ribeiro told RTL radio. (AFP, NYT, Nov. 28)
While cabinet ministers are said to be developing a “Marshall Plan” for the suburbs, Sarkozy’s most concrete initiative in dealing with youth violence has been punitive—the passage of a law last July that requires a minimum sentence for repeat offenders and allows minors between 16 and 18 to be tried and sentenced as adults. (NYT, Nov. 28)
As is usually the case, Algeria’s Abbas mixed up his vulgar Judeonoia with legitimate points—on French failure to own up to atrocities of the colonial era. “While France fails to recognize the crimes committed in Algeria, we can envisage neither reconciliation nor normalization,” he said in the interview. Sarkozy has antagonized Algerians by saying France should no longer “repent” for its colonial past. Despite a tentative rapprochement in recent years, relations between France and Algeria remain sensitive. Last year, a friendship treaty was scrapped over Paris’ refusal to meet Algerian demands for an apology for the crimes of colonialism. (AFP, op cit; Algeria Events, May 20, 2006)
“The Zionists” blamed for Sarkozy’s misdeeds
From the British Marxist website Workers’ Liberty:
The lines, unfortunately, are getting fuzzy. Tradional right-wing anti-Semitism is being echoed more and more on the ostensible “left”—e.g., in Venezuela.