Violence and anti-Semitism in Europe are real enough. They should not be the subject of hoaxes.
A while ago I wrote about several hoax letters
circulating on the Internet. In part, they are perpetuated and disseminated because people want to believe them, and because people are not careful. These include quotes falsely attributed to Martin Luther King Jr., a fake rant about terrorism by Robin Williams, fake remarks by Norman Schwarzkopf about the Hezbollah and others. They are not "helping Israel" or "helping Zionism." They are not "good for the Jews" or anyone else. Hoaxes ultimately expose the people who spread them as fools or knaves. They reflect on the cause itself, and cast discredit on legitimate materials. The Palestinians who manufactured fake "Zionist quotes" and scholars and journalists who manufacture fake "massacres" in Tantura and Jenin harm their own credibility among intelligent people.
The latest hoax, sent in an e-letter, is also being posted in blog comments. It concerns anti-Semitism in France. Is there anti-Semitism in France? Is there wine in France??
There is certainly anti-Semitism in France. Indeed, there is not only anti-Semitism in France, there is probably anti-Francism in France too, a state approaching an virtual insurrection that is reported in the Daily Telegraph:
Radical Muslims in France's housing estates are waging an undeclared "intifada" against the police, with violent clashes injuring an average of 14 officers each day.
As the interior ministry said that nearly 2,500 officers had been wounded this year, a police union declared that its members were "in a state of civil war" with Muslims in the most depressed "banlieue" estates which are heavily populated by unemployed youths of north African origin...
The number of attacks has risen by a third in two years. Police representatives told the newspaper Le Figaro that the "taboo" of attacking officers on patrol has been broken.
Senior officers insisted that the problem was essentially criminal in nature, with crime bosses on the estates fighting back against tough tactics...
However, not all officers on the ground accept that essentially secular interpretation. Michel Thoomis, the secretary general of the hardline Action Police trade union, has written to Mr Sarkozy warning of an "intifada" on the estates and demanding that officers be given armoured cars in the most dangerous areas.
He said yesterday: "We are in a state of civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists. This is not a question of urban violence any more, it is an intifada, with stones and Molotov cocktails. You no longer see two or three youths confronting police, you see whole tower blocks emptying into the streets to set their 'comrades' free when they are arrested."
Obviously, that situation, whatever its origin, is not the fault of the French people or French government as a whole.
A quite different set of "information" about violence in France was provided in a letter circulating on the Internet. The letter begins like this:
Subject: Frightening News from France
Once again, the real news in France is conveniently not being reported as it should. To give you an idea of what's going on in France where there are now between 5 and 6 million Muslims and about 600,000 Jews, here is an email that came from a Jew living in France. Please read! Will the world say nothing - again - as it did in Hitler's time?
The above was sufficient for me to have suspected that it is a hoax. It cites an anonymous e-mail, and there is no author or Web URL given for the article. A friend in France pointed out that many of the "incidents" reported in the letter were false reports or criminal incidents that had nothing to do with Islamism, Muslims or anti-Semitism.
A section of the letter reads as follows:
In Lyon, a car was rammed into a synagogue and set on fire. In Montpellier, the Jewish religious center was firebombed; so were synagogues in Strasbourg and Marseilles; so was a Jewish school in Creteil - all recently.
A Jewish sports club in Toulouse was attacked with Molotov cocktails,and on the statue of Alfred Dreyfus in Paris , the words "Dirty Jew" were painted. In Bondy, 15 men beat up members of a Jewish footbal team with sticks and metal bars. The bus that takes Jewish children to school in Aubervilliers has been attacked three times in the last 14 months.
According to the Police, metropolitan Paris has seen 10 to 12 anti-Jewish incidents PER DAY in the past 30 days. Walls in Jewish neighborhoods have been defaced with slogans proclaiming "Jews to the gas chambers" and "Death to the Jews."
If it all happened now it is frightening stuff. But when was "recently"? And when were these 14 months? And when did the "last 30 days" occur? In fact, this quote is taken from an article by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe, dated April 28, 2002!. The anonymous French Jew who supposedly sent an e-mail turns out to be an American Jew living in Boston. The period in question was the height of the Intifada in Israel, and the height of the hysteria about the supposed Jenin "massacre."
The letter states that a 9-11 conspiracy book tops the best seller list. It is not so, though the book was popular for a while.
The most dangerous and vicious part of this letter is that it urges a Jewish boycott of France!! We, who object so strongly to boycotts, should think many times about proposing one. Moreover, whoever thinks a Jewish boycott of France is a good idea, should think again. There are about 61 million people in France. There are 600,000 Jews in France and 14 million Jews in the world. What will happen if Jews boycott France and France then boycotts Jews and Israel? Who will be affected most? How could we justify penalizing the French people and government for the actions of a lawless minority?
We can all easily fall into the trap of circulating disinformation. Hoaxes are always started by "bad guys" but they are only spread by "good guys" - people just like you and I, who are not careful.
Before circulating such letters please check and consider -
Is there a stated author and a URL?
Is the source reliable?
Check a part of the text in a search engine to see if it was reported as a hoax (add the word "hoax" to the search query) and if there is a reliable source listed for it.
Check in search engines and with friends to verify the news.
If there is a policy recommendation or action item in the letter, does it make sense?
If the item is a hoax, inform the people who mailed it to you.
Don't be a sucker! Don't let hoaxers use you to spread disinformation.
Original content is Copyright by the author 2006. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000267.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNNfirstname.lastname@example.org. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.
Replies: 3 Comments
The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. I just received the Frightening News from France e-mail from a dear friend who only wants to help Jews evrywhere as much as possible.
Joel Block, Sunday, November 12th
It was refreshing to read your article, along with the good sense at the end. I must admit that I have been guilty of sending on emails without checking, only to find out a little later that they were hoaxes. One ended at a friend's computer in England where it wrecked his machine and took it off the air for a couple of weeks until he brought in an expert to fix it. I was most unpopular. Fortunately I have a good friend who checks my transmissions and lets me know if I am sending a hoax. This has made me extremely careful now...I check for hoaxes & myths before I send on. Thanks again.
Gordon, Friday, November 10th
Thanks for your site. Someone just forwarded to me the 'Jew living in France' e-mail. I try to be well-informed and fair-minded, plus I am a career French teacher whose ancestors were mostly from France. I was pleased to send out your URL and correct the hoax!
Marcy, Tuesday, November 7th
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