Monday, November 07, 2005

Intifada 2005

This time it's in France. Consider this my formal recommendation that Israel send observers to France to ensure that they do not act against any international laws.


Sam said...

How are the riots in France at all like either Intifada?

Yehuda said...

I think the proper word is "Paristinians".

Zev said...

There is no shortage of Schadenfreude to go around, but this might be the apex of my political dose for the day. France, a continuous critic of the civilized world’s relationship to the developing world, reinforces the ancient adage from a Jewish intellectual, "Let he who is sinless cast the first stone." NPR was reporting that France does not even know how many French-Muslim youths there are, or how many of them are without job. It is illegal for the French gov't to collect ethnic demographic statistics. How truly French.

Now they are suffering from their self-imposed myopia. They have ethnic riots, with no sight in end, and no way to quell them, either martially or politically. There police force is spread too thin to combat the violence and they cannot acknowledge that a certain minority is responsible for the violence, thus acknowledging the schism and sentiments behind it.

While yes Sam, it is not an Intifada per se, the root cause for this violent outbreak is due to the lack of proper respect for this growing Muslim minority within the greater state.

jacob said...

Sam - If we define intifada as "uprising." I dont see how you can ask your question. How are the riots AT ALL like either intifada?" There are many similarities starting with the fact that both are violent uprisings. both are conducted by muslim youth. There are many poor disenfranchised jewish youth around Paris. As of yet, there is no indication that they are rioting. Thus, the fact that they are poor and disenfranchised cant be the explanation for the violence. The similarities dont end there.

Zev - What is wrong with making it illegal to collect ethnic demographic statistics? There are good reasons to oppose such a law (namely that under the status quo such a law could be a proxy for discrimination) but it isnt on its face terrible, which is what I assume you mean by "How truly French."
My problem with alot of what the French do and stand for is not that I think it is ridiculous but rather way too idealistic and counter productive to its stated (good) goals.

Yehuda - I am somewhat offended by your new term. What do you mean by "Paristinians?" Would the new curfew make the police "Parisraelis." and, would that word have a good connotation or bad?

Shmuli said...

I too am offended by Yehuda's cheap ethnic slur of those who speak English with a Chinese accent. This reminds me of the Onion blurb "Southerner either looking for pawn shop or porn shop."

Sam said...

I was hoping to avoid making a political judgment since I know very little about France.

I concede that there are some similiarities between what is going on in France and the Intifadas. But aren't these overshadowed by much bigger differences? The (first) Intifada began in Gaza after twenty years of a frankly brutal military occupation. It was an international matter, not a civil question about integrating a community within a "greater state." It was also much, much bloodier.

Maybe a better comparison is with the riots in the USA in the summers of 1967 and 1968. I mean, read the Kerner Commission report!

Zev said...

Jacob, I have never known you as one to be offended. Must be all that time at NYU ;)

Zev said...

To seriously respond to your comment Jacob, don't we believe that more information is better than less information? More information will allow for more informed policy and better descisions. To thrust ones head in the ground, and ignore obvious divisions, will only harm people in the long run (and won't make any problems disappear). Discrimination comes from bed legislators, not bad data.

How truly French means: It is typical of the French to try and ingore/deny the obvious (eg Louis XVI, Robespierre, JJ Rousseau).

jacob said...

I will be Talmudic and start with the last point first.

Zev - the problem is that "more information will allow for better policies" is usually a proxy for discrimination. The question is whether the inforamtion is relevant or prejudicial. Remember, prejudicial information is relevant - just more prejudicial than relevant. How would you feel if the government decided to keep a database of all Jews addresses and jewish business addresses just for the sake of having more information. What if the French government did that? You would be very disturbed.
As for the comment on me spending too much time at NYU. I will respond that maybe you didnt spend enough time at Chicago if you believe more information is always better than less. Strauss would be turning over in his grave.

Sam - For both our sakes, and the sake of civility I will avoid using adjectives and potentially inflammatory language like "brutal military occupation." That is one of the reasons I didnt appreciate Yehuda's post. I only ask you do the same. Otherwise, the thread devolves to the point that people start refering to other groups of people as Nazis.
I actually have some familiarity with the Kerner Commission. One of my proffessors for whom I TA is Derrik Bell. If you dont know him he is one of the biggest constitutional law scholars and perhaps the greatest on issues of race. Anyway, that reports highlights the differences between the French riots and the urban riots.
Part of what is fascinating about the riots in France is that many of the leaders are not calling for greater acceptance in French sociaety. Fakert! They dont want to be French. They hate the fact that being French means speaking only French, being secular, tolerating gays, abandoning their lifestyle, etc. Many are calling for the banlieus to be seperate autonomous areas governed by local councils. The Kerner report found that blacks were frustrated over what they perceived as racism that was deeply embedded in society. They wanted to be integrated. Only the radicals were calling for a seperate state. If the problem were perceived prejudices and deeply embedded racism, you would see the same rioting among the other group of similarly situated minorities - the North African Jews. That is not the case. Therefore, the motive must be entirely different. The French riots are far more similar in motive and goal to the Intifada than the inner city riots.

I eagerly await your responses but will probably be unable to respond until the end of the week. I will be judging and arguing in the second circuit tomorow and next week. We get to wear the robes and all. Yeah!