Monday, February 16, 2015

Linguistic Derangement: Dumas, Valls, Islamo-Fascism, "Jewish influence"

The recent terror attacks--first in Paris, now in Copenhagen--have heated French political rhetoric to the point where the language is melting, one word flows into another, and it's hard to tell where amalgame ends and impermissible excess begins. Prime Minister Valls, pulling out all stops to express France's "love" for its Jews and the "wound" it has suffered from the recent events, declared his opposition to "Islamo-Fascism," a term he no doubt meant to underscore the gravity of the threat and his commitment to maintain the heightened level of security he initiated after the January attacks. Then Roland Dumas, who served as foreign minister under Mitterrand (and was later involved in the "putain de la République" scandal), took issue with the term--which would have been permissible, since its contribution to understanding Islamist radicalism is debatable--but then could not prevent himself from alleging that Valls was "probably under Jewish influence" (apparently because his wife is Jewish). Dumas is carrying an old grudge from when Valls accused him of favoring the Palestinian side in the Israel-Palestine conflict. This very ugly exchange will unfortunately be another distraction, diverting the government's attention from where it needs to be focused. Deplorable.