| June 6, 2004
The 60th anniversary of D-Day
Anti-Semitism is rampant in Europe and resembles a
runaway train in France, where Jews are afraid to display any religious symbols
in public for fear of being physically attacked. It is so bad that France is at
the point where it is not uncommon to hear about Jewish headstones desecrated
at cemeteries, including those World War II heroes who gave their lives to
liberate France from the Nazis.
That being the case,
one would think that French President Jacques Chirac would want to take steps
to stop anti-Semitism from festering in his country. Unfortunately, the
opposite occurred at the 60th D-Day memorial ceremony in Normandy, France,
where US President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac spoke about the
valiant men who liberated France. In his speech, Chirac mentioned the rows of
crosses representing our fallen heroes. What Chirac failed to mention were the
stars of David, representing the Jews who died on that very same beach.
President Bush, on the other hand, did mention both crosses and stars of David.
In his speech, Chirac thanked the United States and
then spoke about how France was eternally thankful to the US for liberating and
providing freedom to France. One has to ask if those thanks extended to Jewish
soldiers, whom Chirac conveniently left out of his speech.
Perhaps I am reading too much into Chirac's lack of
words. Perhaps Bush mentioned Jews only because Chirac failed to. One thing is
clear though: Chirac had a great opportunity to show the world that France
appreciates the great contribution also made by Jews in the liberation of
France and did not do so. Is the anti-Semitism in France something Chirac is
either unwilling to confront or is not interested in stopping.
These questions about President Chirac arise at a
time when he has been insisting that France take part in negotiations for the
creation of a Palestinian state. Since third party involvement in any conflict
resolution should come from those apparently neutral and fair, Mr. Chirac, in
his disregard for Jews, has made his participation suspect.