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More right-wing than the 'right-wing': members of the JDL hold a rally in Paris.
The upheavals of the "Dieudonné case" highlighted the power of the pro-Israel lobby inside the French State (see here the analysis of Jacob Cohen). A departure from precedent at the Council of State (Supreme Court), which made its decision in a hurry and under pressure from LICRA (read here), massive deployments of police forces around comedy venues and cultural arenas, fiscal and judicial harassment, planned closure of his YouTube channel and eviction from his own theater, not to mention the full range of political and media establishment against him (see here)... guilty of Zionist dissent, nothing has been spared against Dieudonné.

This campaign benefited from the firepower of CRIF and LICRA, ideological state apparatuses (see my post here on this issue) and the mainstream media, but also from auxiliary forces, including the Ligue de Défense Juive [Jewish Defense League]. Terrorizing, beating, and insulting spectators and acquaintances of Dieudonné at truly punitive expeditions outside La Main d'Or theater in Paris - for which, needless to say, police forces are not mobilized for the occasion, and who do not lift a finger to help victims of violence (see here) - this paramilitary militia already has a long history behind it, dotted with violence and abuse of all kinds.

The Jewish Defence League was founded in New York in 1968 by the American rabbi Meir Kahane. His counterpart in France LDJ was founded by Pierre Lurgat, a former member of Betar in October 2000, initially under the name of Liberté Démocratie et Judaïsme [Freedom, Democracy and Judaism]. Self-dissolved in 2003, it reformed as the Jewish Defense League. Its objective: to "defend the French Jewish community" by fighting against anti-Semitism, anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism.

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Politically close to the Front National - in 2012 it supported the candidacy of Marine Le Pen, considered a "friend of Israel" (read here) - the JDL boasts "a hundred members, young people between 18 and 35 years in the Paris region". "In case of serious threat to the community, we could raise about a thousand people," says a spokesperson for the organization (read here). Racist attacks, acts of vandalism, attacks against pro-Palestinian activists, death threats, violent punitive expeditions... there are countless abuses by this paramilitary militia.

In no particular order, these include:
  • A violent attack in December 2003 at the Tribunal Administrative de Paris [Paris Administrative Court] against students from a far-left student association in Nanterre (the AGEN), known for its radically anti-Zionist positions (read here);
  • Attacks in front of the Janson-de-Sailly secondary school in January 2009 (see here);
  • Trashing a pro-Palestinian library in July 2009 (see here).
Their crimes also include violent intrusions into pro-Palestinian meetings or cultural events, such as -
  • An event hosted by the Génération Palestine association in April 2009 (read here );
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  • At the International Centre for Popular Culture of the major of Vitry-sur-Seine in March 2009, which was preparing to decorate as honorary citizen Marwan Barghouti, who was sentenced to life in prison in Israel;
  • At a meeting of the Association France-Palestine in May 2011 (see here), in November 2010 at the Modern Art Museum of Paris during the exhibition in Berlin photojournalist Kai Wiedenhöfer "Gaza 2010", with snapshots Palestinian casualties in Gaza, the Arab World Institute in the projection of a film in September 2012 (see here).
Their crimes also include violent attacks against numerous personalities:
  • The President of MRAP [Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples], Mouloud Aounit, in November 2003;
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  • Dieudonné himself in March 2005;
  • The writer and activist Alain Soral in September 2004 (at the bookstore that was ransacked, and where several other people were molested, see here);
  • The Israeli Ofer Bronchtein, president of the International Forum for Peace in April 2012 (see here);
  • Houria Bouteldja, spokesperson of the Party of Indigenous of the Republic in October 2012 (see here);
  • The Jewish anti-Zionist writer Jacob Cohen in March and July 2012;
  • Olivia Zémor, President of the CAPJPO-EuroPalestine association in June 2012 (read here). (Note that this organization is regularly subjected to threats from the JDL).
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A French JDL campaign poster says: "Beat and threaten all the enemies of Israel everywhere in France... and in Palestine."
None of the perpetrators of these acts have been investigated by the police or anyone else. Some complaints are not investigated, even when those responsible - now well known - are formally identified, as was the case during the first assault of Jacob Cohen in March 2012. The feeling of impunity also leads members of this organization to act with their faces bare and to advertise their exactions on social networks.

One may wonder at the tolerance of the French State vis-à-vis the U.S. and Israel, where it's listed as a banned terrorist group.

MRAP has regularly called for the dissolution of this right-wing militia for the last 12 years, without success (see here).

"We wrote many letters to the authorities or have alerted them during interviews, parliamentarians have done the same, and no results have been obtained," said the Union Juive Française pour la Paix [French Jewish Union for Peace] in a statement on July 11, 2012.

The policy of double standards is clear when we compare the de facto impunity enjoyed by the members of this right-wing organization, and its longevity despite his violent actions, to the speed with which the French State dissolved the Islamist group Forzane Alliza, whose only crime was to promote armed struggle (see here) and nationalist groups like Jeunesses Révolutionnaires [Revolutionary Youth] and Troisième Voie [Third Way] following various unfortunate news stories (see here).

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Another disturbing fact: an announcement made by the JDL on a French website in September 2011 to recruit mercenaries and go fight Palestinians in the West Bank has not received any political or media reaction (with the notable exception of the Rue89 website). Interviewed, a spokesperson for the Quai d'Orsay [the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located on the Quai d'Orsay in Paris] refused to answer the reporter, intimating that she had never heard of the JDL (see here.)

The members of this organization are actually fully covered by the Ministers of Interior and Justice (read here the letter published by Jacob Cohen following his attack). They even do workouts and combat training in an official public building that is leased by the National Police! (See here). There, they follow studies of Krav Maga, the martial art of the Israeli army, under the direction of 'advisers' from Israel. Just as the CRIF, a state ideological apparatus and the official Zionist lobby in France, its armed wing the JDL, whose actions it regularly covers (read here) is at the service of the French State to break political resistance to Zionism. To do this, the extra-legal status allows them to use violence with impunity and with the complicity of the forces of law and order.
About the author

Nicolas Bourgoin is a demographer, a lecturer at the University of Franche-Comté, a member of the Laboratory of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Franche-Comté (UFC-LASA). Mr. Bourgoin is the author of three books: The Security Revolution, Éditions Champ Social (2013), Suicide In Prison (Paris, L'Harmattan, 1994) and Crime Figures: Crime Statistics And Social Control (Paris, L'Harmattan, 2008).