This book traces the global, national, and local origins of the conflict between Muslims and Jews in France, challenging the belief that rising anti-Semitism in France is rooted solely in the unfolding crisis in Israel and Palestine. Maud Mandel shows how the conflict in fact emerged from processes internal to French society itself even as it was shaped by affairs elsewhere, particularly in North Africa during the era of decolonization.
Mandel examines moments in which conflicts between Muslims and Jews became a matter of concern to French police, the media, and an array of self-appointed spokesmen from both communities: Israel's War of Independence in 1948, France's decolonization of North Africa, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the 1968 student riots, and François Mitterrand's experiments with multiculturalism in the 1980s. She takes an in-depth, on-the-ground look at interethnic relations in Marseille, which is home to the country's largest Muslim and Jewish populations outside of Paris. She reveals how Muslims and Jews in France have related to each other in diverse ways throughout this history--as former residents of French North Africa, as immigrants competing for limited resources, as employers and employees, as victims of racist aggression, as religious minorities in a secularizing state, and as French citizens.
In Muslims and Jews in France, Mandel traces the way these multiple, complex interactions have been overshadowed and obscured by a reductionist narrative of Muslim-Jewish polarization.
Maud Mandel is associate professor of Judaic studies and history and director of the Program in Judaic Studies at Brown University. She is the author of In the Aftermath of Genocide: Armenians and Jews in Twentieth-Century France.
"Mandel deftly analyzes the polarization of positions concerning Muslims and Jews in France while giving a dramatic example of how social reality and language may themselves conflict. As she points out, social violence between the two groups has been rare, while the increasing polarization of discourse has proceeded apace. Sure to raise some hackles, her book is a provocative must-read."--Nancy L. Green, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris
"Mandel reveals how the conventional opposition between Muslim and Jew has obscured a more complex pattern of interethnic relations in France. At the same time, she demonstrates that the language of ethnic and religious discord has itself had a powerful impact on Muslims and Jews alike. In a study that combines sophistication with clarity, Mandel provides a compelling historical account of an issue that continues to shape the present."--David Feldman, Birkbeck, University of London
"Using a wide variety of sources and focusing on local events in Marseille, Mandel deftly shows how a specifically French history interacts with international events to produce conflicts between Jews and Muslims. She provides new and important insights into the nature of the conflict, the political groups that produced it, and the ways in which perceptions of each group have been shaped."--Joan Wallach Scott, author of The Politics of the Veil