Wednesday, December 27, 2006


J'ACCUSE Betrayal: France, the Arabs, and the Jews
Daniel Johnson
By David Pryce-Jones (Encounter Books 171pp £20.99)
As I write, it is exactly a year since the desolate banlieues of France erupted in an orgy of violence, on a scale which had not been seen for generations. At the time, these riots were blamed on social exclusion. Since then, it has become clear that the rioters are not just 'immigrants' or 'youths', but are first and foremost Muslims. When they set light to a car, their cry is often: 'Allahu akhbar!' ('Allah is great!')
The violence, moreover, is endemic and ubiquitous. In 2005, there were 110,000 incidents of urban violence, including 45,000 vehicles burnt out. This year, there has been an average of over 100 incidents a day. Since the riots supposedly subsided last January, some 3,000 police officers are reported to have been injured. France is quite deliberately being made ungovernable.
This 'French intifada' was merely the culmination of a process that has turned many suburbs into no-go areas for the police and increasingly for non-Muslims too. In particular, the Islamist rabble-rousers who are behind the insurgency have incited their followers to attack Jews, who are now outnumbered by Muslims in France by at least ten to one.
How has it come to this? In this devastating indictment, the cri de coeur of an Englishman who loves France but is exasperated by the French, the background to this breakdown of civil society gradually emerges. David Pryce-Jones has discovered the explanation in the archives of the French foreign ministry, known after its imposing headquarters, the Quai d'Orsay. The corps diplomatique who have run this institution like a private club - known to initiates simply as 'la carrière' - are responsible not only for the decline of French prestige abroad, but also for creating the conditions for the unfolding catastrophe at home.
Like so many misfortunes, this one has its origins in the megalomania of the Bonaparte clan. For more than two centuries, since Napoleon's expedition to Egypt, French diplomacy has been gripped by a delusion of grandeur: the idea of France as une puissance musulmane, 'a Muslim power' - a phrase that has a new and sinister echo now.
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