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Introduction: The Shared Story of Europe’s Ideas of the Muslim and the Jew—A Diachronic Framework

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Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe


Twenty days after the beginning of the events that led to the murders in the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and the kosher supermarket in Paris, French President François Hollande delivered a speech. It is Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January 2015, and he is standing at a podium by the Memorial de la Shoah surrounded by ministers from his government. His goal: to argue that the recent killings of Jews belonged to an ancient, persistent and singular narrative of anti-Jewish prejudice that, in recent French history, began with the Holocaust, and had not ended—indeed, it was escalating. ‘Three weeks ago’, he pronounced to the gathered throng, ‘four men died in a kosher shop for the same reason that families were rounded up at the Vel d’Hiv in 1942, that the Copernic Road were attacked in 1980, that the young Ilan Halimi was attacked in 2006, that the children of the Ozar HaTorah school were massacred in Toulouse in 2012.’ He went on to contend:

In our activity alone do we find the sustaining illusion of an independent existence as against the whole scheme of things of which we form a helpless part.

—Joseph Conrad, Nostromo: A Tale of the Seabord (1904)

[B]y defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.

—Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. I (1925)

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Renton, J., Gidley, B. (2017). Introduction: The Shared Story of Europe’s Ideas of the Muslim and the Jew—A Diachronic Framework. In: Renton, J., Gidley, B. (eds) Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-137-41299-7

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