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11/06/2023

French Double Standards for Israeli War Crimes

French Double Standards for Israeli War Crimes

In French democracy, you may say the Algerian Genocide is non-existent, but you may not say that Israel is killing Palestinians. Much like the Armenian issue, France has enacted and enforced a penal law against those who make contrary accusations about Israel’s occupation of Palestine. According to this law, expressing your opinion about Israel is prohibited. However, making the opposite claim about genocides in Algeria or Madagascar is free of legal consequences. It is not a crime for someone to assert that France did not commit genocide in Senegal, and it is not considered a crime to say that France didn’t cause the death of 1.5 million people in Algeria. Yet, it is deemed a crime to claim that Israel bombed Gaza and killed innocent children. Indeed, this absurd practice of France will go down in history as a product of truly mind-boggling biased politics.[i]

A map of occupied Palestine

French support for Israeli military operations has been a subject of diplomatic and political engagement, influenced by a complex history of relations between the two countries. France’s stance on Israeli military operations can vary depending on the context and the specific actions taken by the Zionist Israeli government. Indeed, France was among the countries that recognized the state of Israel in 1949 however, it also played a role in the Suez Crisis in 1956, which involved military actions against Egypt, including Israel’s participation. France and Israel have engaged in defense and security cooperation in various forms over the years. This collaboration includes arms sales, intelligence sharing, and joint military exercises. Such cooperation is of course often driven by mutual security interests.[ii] It’s essential to note that French policy toward Israeli military operations can vary from one government to another, reflecting changes in leadership and political priorities.[iii]

Why Western Governments Legitimizing Israel’s Military Actions for Palestine

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a longstanding and deeply contentious issue that continues to capture the attention of the international community. Israeli war crimes against Palestine have led that Western governments are legitimizing these actions. This article delves that Western governments are seen as complicit in legitimizing Israel’s actions, particularly regarding war crimes.[iv]

Israeli war crimes primarily revolve around the conduct of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in the occupied territories, such as the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These crimes include the disproportionate use of force, civilian casualties, and the impact of military operations on the civilian population. Israel doesn’t even have mercy for olive trees in Palestine where the olive trees .[v]

Furthermore, Western governments, including the United States and some European nations, have played a role in legitimizing Israel’s actions through their foreign policy, diplomatic support, and arms sales. For instance, the United States has consistently provided substantial military aid to Israel. The situation contend that this aid indirectly supports Israeli military actions, raising questions about the use of American taxpayer dollars. Also, Western governments, particularly the United States, have often used their veto power in the United Nations Security Council to shield Israel from international criticism or potential sanctions.[vi]

The Fourth Geneva Convention and other international laws define the responsibilities of occupying powers and protect the rights of civilians in conflict zones. Critics claim that Israel’s actions in the occupied territories violate these principles and that Western governments’ support may tacitly endorse these violations. Supporters of Western governments’ policies argue that these nations maintain strong relationships with Israel for various reasons, such as shared security concerns and geopolitical interests. Therefore, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unresolved, international scrutiny, legal investigations, and public discourse will continue to shape the debate on the legitimacy of Western governments’ involvement in the region.[vii]

French support for Israeli Crimes

France, a nation known for its commitment to freedom of expression, has strict laws in place to prevent and penalize insults against foreign states, including Israel. Article 23 of the French legal code explicitly stipulates that any insult committed against the State of Israel can result in severe consequences, including imprisonment and substantial fines. Article 23 of the French legal code is clear and unambiguous. It states that insults committed against the State of Israel by any means shall be punishable by two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros. This is already impartial and problematic decision against other cases like France massacres in Africa but also for Palestinians.[viii]

Two Zionist leaders of two different countries, France and Israel

The inclusion of Article 23 in French law is a reflection of the importance that France places on maintaining diplomatic relations with foreign nations. The excuse for France is that it underscores the country’s commitment to ensuring that its citizens and residents respect the sovereignty and dignity of other states. People argue that it may stifle legitimate criticism of foreign governments, including Israel, and infringe on the freedom of expression. France’s legal framework, as outlined in Article 23, aims to protect diplomatic relations for its self-interest and prevent insults against the State of Israel.[ix] While it may be seen as a necessary safeguard, it also raises concerns about the potential infringement on freedom of expression. Striking the right balance between protecting international relations and ensuring the preservation of fundamental rights is an ongoing challenge that France faces. The implications of Article 23 continue to be a subject of debate and scrutiny in the broader context of legal and human rights discussions.[x]

What France did about Armenian Question

The Armenian Question, a longstanding issue rooted in historical events and political tensions, has captured the attention of various nations and international bodies. France, with its significant Armenian diaspora and a history intertwined with the Armenian cause, has a unique perspective on this matter. France’s connection to the Armenian Question can be traced back to the early 20th century, particularly during World War I and called it the Armenian Genocide.[xi] France was among the Allied Powers and played a role in providing humanitarian aid to Armenian people. This historical connection has left a lasting impression on the French national consciousness and politicized in France. One of the key aspects of the French view on the Armenian Question is the recognition of the Armenian question as Genocide. France officially recognized the Armenian question as Genocide in 2001, becoming one of the first European countries to do so. This recognition is not actually seen as a testament to France’s commitment to human rights and historical truth but absolutely its political interests and antagonistic actions against Türkiye.[xii] It is because France is very quiet about its own crimes in Senegal, Algeria, or Madagascar and today Palestine.

Also, France is home to a significant Armenian diaspora, estimated to be over half a million people. This community has played an active role in advocating for Armenian rights and raising awareness about the Armenian Question. Their presence has influenced French political discourse and policies regarding Armenia. Apart from this, France, as a member of the United Nations Security Council and a European Union state, suppose to play a role in international efforts related to the Armenian Question. However, it hasn’t contributed to mediation efforts in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and also has never expressed its peaceful resolution but only support Armenians. Algeria is still waiting for their answer about 1.5 million Algerian citizens.[xiii]

The French Genocide in Algeria

The Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962) was a brutal and tumultuous period in history, marked by violence, conflict, and immense human suffering. The French presence in Algeria had lasted for over a century, but the fight for independence gave rise to significant controversy, including allegations of a French genocide in Algeria.[xiv]

French colonization of Algeria began in the early 19th century and lasted for 132 years. Throughout this period, the indigenous Algerian population experienced oppression, discrimination, and violence at the hands of the colonial authorities. The desire for independence grew over time, culminating in the outbreak of the Algerian War of Independence in 1954. The war was a protracted and brutal conflict characterized by guerrilla warfare, bombings, and atrocities committed by France. The French government, led by the Fourth Republic and later the Fifth Republic under Charles de Gaulle, employed harsh counterinsurgency tactics to quell the rebellion, leading to accusations of severe human rights abuses. The use of the term “genocide” in the context of the Algerian War remains highly controversial. Most historians and scholars argue that the French military’s actions, including mass killings, torture, and displacement, meet the criteria for genocide, as defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention. However, France keeps ignoring the historical fact about Algeria.[xv] What is undeniable is the profound human suffering that occurred during the Algerian War. Massacres, torture, and atrocities were committed on both sides, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and displacement of countless Algerians. The French presence in Algeria and the Algerian War of Independence remain a challenging and contentious topic, particularly concerning the use of the term “genocide.” The events of this period were marked by immense human suffering, and the legacy of this conflict continues to influence discussions on history, memory, and reconciliation as a bitter past which France bequeathed in Africa.[xvi]

Double Standards for Muslim Cases in the West: Examining Perceptions and Realities

In Western societies, discussions surrounding the treatment of Muslim individuals within legal systems often center on the concept of double standards. Muslims, particularly those of Middle Eastern and North African descent, have reported being disproportionately targeted by government surveillance and profiling, often based on their religious or ethnic background. In the name of national security, counterterrorism policies have sometimes led to the suspicion and surveillance of Muslim communities, raising concerns about civil liberties and equal treatment under the law. Muslims in the West are disproportionately affected by hate crimes and discrimination, whether it be verbal abuse, physical assaults, or vandalism. Cases also related to religious freedom, such as wearing the hijab or building mosques, have sparked legal debates. Victimized people argue that these cases reveal underlying biases against Muslim practices. The media’s role in shaping public perceptions cannot be underestimated. Negative portrayals of Muslims in the media can reinforce stereotypes, leading to prejudices that may affect legal outcomes. Polls and surveys have indicated that public opinion about Muslims can be influenced by stereotypes and misinformation. These perceptions may impact how jurors, law enforcement, and judges approach Muslim-related cases. Political discourse, particularly during times of heightened security concerns, can contribute to a climate of fear and suspicion that affects Muslim individuals and communities. Many Western countries have taken steps to address perceived double standards. These include reforms in surveillance practices, counterterrorism laws, and efforts to protect civil liberties. Initiatives aimed at increasing awareness and educating the public about Islam and the diversity within the Muslim community have been launched to counter stereotypes and biases. The issue of double standards for Muslim cases in the West is a multifaceted one.[xvii] The one disturbs almost everyone nowadays, Israeli cruelty against Palestinian is absolutely one of them.

Conclusion

Issues such as human rights and freedom of thought, which France always flaunts, are actually entirely based on its own interests. A government that genuinely upholds human rights and justice should not overlook the massacre in Algeria or the massacres committed by Armenians in Karabakh. For France, the primary concern is the interests of the state. However, it’s worth remembering that we are talking about France, which sent the body of Sarah Baartman from the Paris Human Museum to South Africa only in 2002 and has not yet returned the body of Suleiman al-Halabi to Syria but still keeps in the museum as a criminal man in history. One must be asked who really is criminal? Is Suleyman al-Halabi who defended his country against France but was killed by French soldiers, or killing innocent children in their own country with the support of western countries like France?

Notes


[i] Gencoglu Halim, 2020, French colonialism in Algeria – Halim Gençoğlu,  https://soundcloud.com/radioislam/french-colonialism-in-algeria-halim-gencoglu, accessed in 04..11.2023.

[ii] Recham B. Ayçoberry Pierre & Université Marc Bloch (Strasbourg). (1995). Les Musselman’s Algerians dans l’armee francaise (1919-1945) (dissertation). s.n.

[iii] Gallois W. (n.d.). The destruction of the Islamic state of being its replacement in the being of the state: Algeria 1830-1847. Settler Colonial Studies 131–151.

[iv] Ouzan Françoise. (2018). How young holocaust survivors rebuilt their lives: France the United States and Israel. Indiana University Press.

[v] Gencoglu, Halim, 2023, Destruction of Palestinian Olive Tree, https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/cape-argus/20231013/281642489829954, accessed in 04..11.2023.

[vi] Cypel S. & Rodarmor W. (2021). The state of Israeli vs. the Jews. Other Press.

[vii] Halper J. (2021). Decolonizing Israel liberating Palestine : Zionism settler colonialism and the case for one democratic state. Pluto Press.

[viii] Yakira E. (2010). Post-Zionism post-holocaust: three essays on denial forgetting and the de-legitimation of Israel. Cambridge University Press.

[ix] Skwawkbox (SW) 2023, French Senate proposes law making anti-Zionism a criminal offence with up to 5 years jai, https://skwawkbox.org/2023/11/03/french-senate-proposes-law-making-anti-zionism-a-criminal-offence-with-up-to-5-years-jail/, 03/11/2023.

[x] Kaplan Z. J. & Malinovich N. (2016). The Jews of modern France: images and identities. Brill.

[xi] Mehmet P. (2016). Rus arşi̇v belgeleri̇nde ermeni̇ tehci̇ri̇ni̇n gerekçeleri̇. Yakın Dönem Türkiye Araştırmaları 69–93.

[xii] Davis M. H. (2022). Markets of civilization: Islam and racial capitalism in Algeria. Duke University Press.

[xiii] Carey H. F. (2012). Reaping what you sow: a comparative examination of torture reform in the United States France Argentina and Israel. Praeger.

[xiv] Cole J. (2019). Lethal provocation: the Constantine murders and the politics of French Algeria. Cornell University Press.

[xv] Legg C. A. (2021). The new white race: settler colonialism and the press in French Algeria 1860-1914. Nebraska.

[xvi] Shelton D. (2005). Encyclopaedia of genocide and crimes against humanity. Thomson Gale.

[xvii] Jockusch L. Finder G. N. & United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2015). Jewish honour courts: revenge retribution and reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the holocaust. Wayne State University Press.

Halim Gençoğlu

Historian Halim Gençoğlu is the author of four books and several articles in African Studies. He was born in Türkiye in 1981. After his Bachelor's degree in Historical Studies, he completed his second Master’s degree in Religious Studies and Doctoral Studies in Hebrew Language and Literature at the University of Cape Town. Dr Gençoğlu continues his academic research as a postdoctoral fellow in Afro-Asian Studies and contract staff in African Studies at the University of Cape Town.

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