Commémoration de la nuit de cristal à Auschwitz
Je participe lundi 08 novembre 2021 et mardi 09 novembre 2021 à la commémoration de la nuit de cristal organisée par l’Association Juive Européenne (EJA). En amont de la visite du camp d’Auschwitz, je prends part au symposium consacré aux réponses à apporter contre l’antisémitisme en Europe. Voici le texte de mon intervention :
« Thank you Mr Président
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me first thanks the European Jewish Association for giving me the opportunity to be here with you, on the annual Crystal Night Commemoration.
France has a long history of antisemitism, from the late 19th (nineteenth) century to the Vichy regime, with an incredible resurgence of racist acts since the 1980s (eighties), which are increasing in number ever since. This is why a criminal response has gradually been built up.
On one hand, we have two infractions in the criminal code, originally from the freedom of the press bill in 1881 (eighteen eighty one) :
- the offence of defamation
- and the offence of insult with an antisemitic connotation, defined as any allegation or imputation of a text that is prejudicial to honour or consideration because of origin or membership of an ethnic group, nation or religion.
There are punishable by a fine of up to 45,000 (fourty five thousand) euros plus one year’s imprisonment… But in practice, the courts rarely enforce them…
There is a third offence, which is incitement to racial hatred, of which antisemitism is a part. It is punishable by the same quantum (Pleven bill in 1972 nineteen seventy two).
And then, there is the issue of the denial of Holocaust. Here, we must begin by saying that the recognition of the reality of the genocide and the participation of the French State have been very difficult and gradual in France.
The French historian Henry Rousso has coined the expression « The Vichy Syndrome » in 1987 (nineteen eighty seven) to describe this process…
After the war, Charles De Gaulle and others were reluctant to fully recognize the persecution and deportation of French jews, and the role played in that process by the French State. They believed that it was better to forget the trauma of collaboration and build the myth of an unanimously resistant France in order to favor national unity.
This resistancialist myth would gradually crumble in the 1960’ and 1970’ (sixties and seventies), and the truth about the responsibility of the French State in the deportation of Jews, emerged thanks to the works of historians such as Robert Paxton and films like « Le Chagrin et la Pitié » (« Sorrow and pity ») by Marcel Ophuls.
This, brings us to the creation of the fourth offence punishable by the penal code: negationism. The Gayssot bill, a memorial law, was adopted in a particular context, two months after the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Carpentras in 1990 (nineteen ninety). Passed on 13 (thirteen) July 1990 (nineteen ninety), it clearly states its aim: to put a stop to the dissemination of Holocaust denial theories and punish their authors.
With this law, the denial of crimes against humanity committed during the WWII becomes an offence.
With the disappearance of the last witnesses and the transition from a living memory to a historical memory, the stakes are high. We
Since the 1980s (eighties), Holocaust denial has continued to spread in different strata of society…
Just have a look at what is going on in French politics nowadays with the potential candidate for the upcoming presidential election and polemicist Eric Zemmour. He multiplies shocking statements on the Dreyfus affair, Vichy, Pétain and the Vel’d’hiv Roundup, as well as on the memorial laws that he wishes to abolish, including the Gayssot bill. Indeed, in seeking to rehabilitate the figure of Pétain and the Vichy regime, in questioning out loud the innocence of Captain Dreyfus and calling into question the antisemitic motivations of the injustice he was subjected to, Eric Zemmour is using a very traditional antisemitic rhetoric for his campaign.
In the context of antisemitism, we can see that the old prejudices are still quite powerful like the clichés of Jews having money, power, and a double allegiance.
There is a particularly alarming point : if the Jewish population is one of the most accepted in French society today, it is also the target of very extreme tensions. Indeed, Jews are numerically few but are the object of a very large number of acts against them.
There is still so much to do today… especially in the virtual World we are living in and the virality of fakes news. In France, we have started to regulate this with the Avia bill, but also with the strengthening of republican principles. But it is all together we can succeed and it should be one of the highest ambitions of the French presidency of the Council of the European Union with the Digital Services Act, as well as renewing our common values.
Thank you. »