Making Things Worse: The Jewish Defense League’s Strategy

18 Juil

The clashes that erupted following the pro-Palestinian demonstration on July 13 in Paris are the result of the JDL’s – and those supporting them – strategy of making things worse. In the week preceding the demo, members of the JDL had announced on Twitter that they would hold a rally in support of Israel in front of the Synagogue located rue de la Roquette on that same day, just a very short distance from where pro-Palestinians would be marching . The messages that were posted on social media leave no doubt that the JDL was willingly taunting and threatening pro-Palestinian demonstrators.


(this message, retweeted by the JDL, is an invitation to the rally addressed to both « Jews and pro-Palestinians », saying that pro-Palestinians turning up would be offered « welcome presents »

The JDL had never before chosen a place of worship as a gathering point: they deliberately used a Synagogue as an operational basis, thus putting the building and the people gathered within at risk. The JDL’’s call to rally was neither denounced by Jewish authorities nor  banned by the police, regardless of the confrontation that was more than likely to ensue. How would people react if a pro-Palestinian rally
were organised outside a Mosque, close to the chosen itinerary for a pro-Zionist demonstration?

LDJ_miracleOn the JDL’s twitter account: a member thanks God for having allowed 60 « unarmed » Jews to defeat « 300 armed thugs »

The many messages posted on social media are evidence that the JDL had planned this rally as a way to try and falsely characterize pro-Palestinian protesters as anti-Semites as well as to deliberately obscure the difference between the Jewish community’s views and the Israeli government’s  position. The JDL does no more represent the Jewish community at large than the CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France) does, although the latter claims to be speaking for all French Jews, thereby appropriating their voices.


« The French Jewish community needs the JDL and the JDL needs you! Avert further tragedies and join the JDL! #JDLonthewatch »

In the hours following the skirmish between protesters and JDL members, more messages were posted by JDL members and supporters saying the JDL had acted out of self-defence using only their bare hands against pro-Palestinian thugs, a version that is fully inconsistent with the many pictures and videos of the scene that were widely circulated by independent media websites and militants.
The JDL is banned in the USA and in Israel on account of its extremism and explicit racism. In France, where it is legal, the organisation is regularly guilty of taunts and attacks, as was the case only the week before, when they targeted a rally in support of Gaza. On July 13, by jeopardizing the safety of people gathered in a Synagogue, the JDL has shown it’s now moving on to a new tactical step .  Yet although the street fight outside the Synagogue was all over the media, journalists first failed to so much as mention the JDL’’s provocations or even the rally itself, sometimes making it sound as though the pro-Palestinian protesters had intentionally planned to attack a Synagogue.

There was never an attack against a Synagogue in previous pro-Palestinian demonstrations, just like there wasn’‘t one on July 13: the
skirmish broke out in the street between the JDL and antifascist protesters, and there was never an attack on either the Synagogue or the people inside, which all videos shot on that day bring evidence of.

Why didn’’t Jewish authorities and non-extremist organizations such as the UEJF condemn the JDL’’s rally and why did the police protect the JDL? Could it be that the French authorities are hoping to criminalize pro-Palestinian support?


It seems the far-right Zionists of the JDL have reached a new stage in their strategy. Antisemites like Alain Soral and Dieudonné but also the government and Zionists themselves have contributed to distorting the meaning of words and political struggles. The JDL’s rally, only afterwards condemned by moderates, means they were using a place of worship as a meeting point and expecting it to be attacked – (which did not happen) as part of their strategy, which consists in refusing political responses to colonialism and oppression at large and in presenting the struggle as a cultural one rather than as a political one. This is precisely the opposite of what the pro-Palestinian movement is doing with their boycott campaign and their repeated political claims.
The JDL is right in considering the pro-Palestinian left and working-class suburbs as their political archenemy, seeing as these two categories have long and traditionally been highly supportive of the Palestinian cause and related international issues of social and economic justice.
The fact that those responding to the JDL’’s attacks were antifascists (as can be heard in one of the videos posted on the Internet) therefore comes as no surprise and makes the JDL’’s claim that they were assaulted by anti-Semitic thugs even more slanderous and false (this also holds true for the demo at large, which some try to characterize as an anti-Semitic march using false evidence).
Although the police protected the extreme-right attackers, antifascists have made it clear that the JDL is not as almighty and powerful an organization as anti-Semites like Dieudonné and Alain Soral would want people to believe. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
With time, it is now becoming apparent that the JDL and Égalité & Réconciliation (the people around Alain Soral) have lots in common: their support for the Front National, their Islamophobia and their defence of the establishment (police forces in particular).LDJ_merci_Police

On the JDL’s twitter account: « You wanted to burn our Synagogue and kill the Jews, tonight you’ll be sleeping at the hospital. Thanks to police forces for their support. »

Just like E&R, the Zionist extremists and others are turning a political fight into a cultural one, but they should be wary of the backlash to come: criminalizing Palestinians fighting for justice and dignity or systematically and wrongly accusing them of anti-Semitism will not put an end to either the fight against injustice or the political reasons behind it. In fact, the JDL’s strategy may well have the very opposite effect.

2 Réponses vers “Making Things Worse: The Jewish Defense League’s Strategy”


  1. JDL’s provocateur strategy | OzHouse - 25 juillet 2014

    […] This article, which should be read alongside the previous two published on this site, is also essential in providing context to the events in France: […]

  2. The anti-Semitism canard | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist - 25 juillet 2014

    […] For an alternative take on France, I recommend this article that appears on the Quartiers Libres blog: […]

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