PARIS (Aug. 23)
Thousands of anti-Semitic pamphlets titled “The Jewish Peril” were recently distributed in and around Paris, prompting protests from the League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism and an investigation by French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua.
The postcard-sized pamphlets feature a picture of a spider with a human face and a huge, hooked nose grasping the Earth between its hairy legs. Inside is a list of about 50 prominent French citizens who are purported to be “children of Israel” trying to destroy France.
The pamphlets have appeared in mailboxes in the Paris neighborhood of St. Germain as well as the suburbs of Levallois and Clichy on numerous occasions during the past four months. Many of them surfaced July 16, when France commemorated for the first time the roundup of nearly 13,000 Jews who were later sent to Auschwitz.
The League against Racism and Anti-Semitism has called on the government here “to do everything possible to find those responsible” for the pamphlets.
Pasqua responded last week by condemning the leaflets and initiating a police investigation.
Experts say the pamphlets could be the work of either right-wing extremists or Muslim fundamentalists.
The pamphlet reproduces the cover of a 1942 edition of the classic anti-Semitic text “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” in which a spider caricature was drawn by pseudo-historian and collaborator Henry Coston.
Those listed in the pamphlet as “children of Israel” include Danielle Mitterrand, the wife of the president; the late Prime Minister Pierre Beregovoy; and the mayor of Levallois, Patrick Balkany, who has formally lodged a complaint in court.
REFERENCES TO CREMATORIA
In addition, a recent article in the French newspaper Liberation detailed how some Muslim schoolgirls in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre are secretly reading yellowed copies of “The Protocols,” which was banned in France in 1990.
An English-language teacher at the Joliot-Curie School said that after finishing a lesson about the city of New York, her students, many of whom are strict Muslims, asked her if there are a lot of Jews in New York and if Jews there have a lot of power. They then asked her if she was Jewish.
“I was astounded by their question,” the teacher said. “When I told them I wasn’t Jewish, I saw they had an air of relief on their faces. That was terrible. It was then that they told me about that horrible book (‘The Protocols’) and proposed that I read it,” she said.
At the same school, Liberation reported, a Jewish student was knocked over at the exit door the day after the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer. And a newspaper created by some students included the lines, “present yourself to the crematorium oven,” which were cut out and sent to a teacher with a Jewish-sounding name.
The school’s directors responded by describing these actions as “intolerable” and said the students responsible would be disciplined. However, the culprits have not been identified.