Do Jews Have a Future in France?

January 10, 2015 1:04 PM

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That an assault on Jews would follow an assault on cartoonists came as no surprise. Indeed, there was a grim, if not explicitly expressed, foreboding in the aftermath of Thursday’s attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that the Jews would come next. For satirists and Jews are markers of modernity, and it is modernity that the Islamists who committed these heinous atrocities detest most. It was tragically fitting, then, that one of their first victims would have been Ahmed Merabet, a French Muslim police officer posted to guard the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Here, in one horrible act, was the beauty of Western coexistence and secularism over the 7th century hell these monsters want to drag us back: a Muslim police officer giving his life to protect cartoonists who had come under threat for mocking Islam.

The Paris neighborhood of the Marais has long been home to both the city’s vibrant gay and Orthodox Jewish communities. A resident of the Marais once playfully told me that, looking out his door every morning, he unfailingly sees “a heavily bearded man dressed in black” on one side and “a heavily be...

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