That's so feuj, Cartman.
March 1, 2004 7:17 PM   Subscribe

It is interesting--what really struck me as weird was how Israel is so entwined in everyone's mind with being Jewish (in the French Muslim and Jewish people profiled and mentioned)--which is very different from here. France really should fix the racism that drives so many young Muslims to the more radical elements. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite should have meaning for more than just the "French." (it's so easy to point out other country's problems tho.)
posted by amberglow at 7:33 PM on March 1, 2004

A great article -- I think it's very troubling that the recent rise in anti-Semitism is so overlooked. Very much so on MeFi, sadly...
posted by Krrrlson at 8:33 PM on March 1, 2004

hey did any of you guys see that jesus movie?
posted by Satapher at 9:06 PM on March 1, 2004

it was really good
posted by Satapher at 9:07 PM on March 1, 2004

No, I Heard It Was Anti-Roman?
posted by Dreamghost at 9:52 PM on March 1, 2004

There seems to be some disagreement on whether it will or will not be shown in France.
posted by homunculus at 10:18 PM on March 1, 2004

Amberglow: Being Jewish and being Israeli are deeply entwined in the modern European consciousness. It probably has roots in the European concept of nations and nationality: now that there is a "Jewish" state, all jews are somehow attached to that state. France for the french, Serbia for the serbs, and now Israel for the "Israelites". Israeli embassies do little to convince people otherwise, in one sense Israeli policies "hijack" Jewish identity to the Israeli definition and cause. Before that we were just a rootless bunch of banking pariahs. Now "we" have a state.

The fact that I am not an Israeli has no effect on the fact that Israeli politics over the last three years has had an adverse effect on European opinion. I play klezmer music - professionally - all over Europe with my band. Gigs used to be much easier to find. Then, suddenly, no more gigs for Jewish themed culture. One Italian promoter told another musician that it "would be impossible to find a concert for anything Jewish" in the current atmosphere. This isn't anti-semitism. It is simply a local promoter trying to avoid controversy. But it takes food out of my non-Israeli Jewish mouth.

That said - be careful before condemning all the French as Jew haters. I am there a lot, and that certainly is not my impression. But a great article nonetheless. I passed it on to friends in France.
posted by zaelic at 6:53 AM on March 2, 2004

What's so stupid about conflating the Israeli government with Jews is that a substantial portion of Israeli Jews don't agree with their government, let alone non-Israeli Jews. It's as dumb as being mad at your neighbor Ali for 9-11.
posted by callmejay at 8:49 AM on March 2, 2004

I grew up in NY. It never occurred to me that my Jewish friends were Jews. They just were what they were. As were other friends who were whatever religions they may have been.
Later on in life I worked for a company with strong Israeli ties. It was quite apparent to me that being Jewish and being Israeli are/were vastly different things. I came out of that job thinking that Israelis were total dicks, at least the ones I met. But, I never carried anger over to Jewish people I knew. Most of them actually agreed with me.

One of the most important things my friend ever said to me was " Being Jewish is a religion, not an ethnic origin." IE, a Jew does not an Israeli make.

People and their silly religions never cease to disgust me. France should be full of French people. What religion they choose to be should be their business. Same can be said for any other country, in my opinion.
posted by a3matrix at 8:52 AM on March 2, 2004

Great article. Thanks, Tlogmer.

"I think it's very troubling that the recent rise in anti-Semitism is so overlooked. Very much so on MeFi, sadly..."

Some of us were taking up the issue a year ago, only to be accused of "third-hand scaremongering" and told that French-Muslim attacks on French-Jews were not anti-semitic, per se (that term is apparently reserved for skinheads), but "just" a spillover from the Israeli/Arab conflict.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:30 AM on March 2, 2004

By the way, the term "feuj" came to be French slang for both "stupid/screwed-up" and "Jew" because it comes from the word "Jew" ("Juif") backwards/rearranged.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:36 AM on March 2, 2004

Asparagirl, that's a bit of a stretch. You misunderstand the origin of the verlan slang. That "feuj" means both "jew" and "stupid" is actually quite overtly anti-semitic. Verlan is simply the practice of reversing of the pronunciation of certain words ("verlan" itself is actually the reverse of the syllables of the word "l'envers", or "backwards"). In the first iteration of verlan, kids were simply trying to create a "cool" language to impress their friends. If you could speak verlan, you were cool. In the next iteration, the reversed words themselves took on new meanings. "Feuj" is one example of this. Originally, "feuj" just meant "jew". Now, it is understood as "messed up, broken, or simply uncool". The kids using the word "feuj" don't necessarily intend to express anti-semitic sentiments, it's just that it's become so embedded in the culture that it is used all the time. It is exactly like the construction in american english "He gypped me!" - Kids on the playground using that construction are probably not aware of the history of anti-Rom stereotypes when they use it. In my elementary school teaching days, "gypped" gradually was replaced with "He jewed me" when a child felt someone was being stingy. The anti-semitic slurs of the stingy Jew or the treacherous double-dealing "Gypsy" are deeply embedded in our popular culture.
posted by piedrasyluz at 10:44 AM on March 2, 2004

I thought it was a great article. I almost posted it myself, because of this quote: ''The father and grandfather devoured priests, and the sons demonstrate in favor of head scarves!'' Things have definitely taken a turn for the weird when the government believes it has to repress an expression of repression to protect freedom.

Asparagirl: I don't think the article suggests what's going on in France is unrelated to what's happening in Israel / Palestine. Of course it isn't "just" a spillover, but the author makes the point a couple of times that these incidents seem to correlate with events in Mideast. I don't think this excuses what's happening in France (or Israel) but it surely does illuminate how fucked up things have become.
posted by subgenius at 10:58 AM on March 2, 2004

Great article. Really puts into perspective the grey areas at the center of this issue. Seems like both sides are becoming more polarized (not unlike fundamentalists injecting their beliefs in U.S. policy in opposition to secular America - but that deserves a thread of its own).

That being Jewish is automatically associated with being a pro-Israel zionist seems to be the root and justification for growing anti semitism in much of the world. And the open discrimination against Arabs in France is not unlike the struggles minorities in the U.S. have faced. Seems like blind and ignorant prejudice as you approach either end of the spectrum (discriminating based on race and religion).

What is disturbing is the apparent acceptance of such discrimination from both sides, such as that it's "cool" for kids to be anti semitic, and "ok" for people to reject Arab applicants for jobs, loans, etc, which together feed the conflict.

Seems that the dwindling middle needs to exert its influence bring the two sides together, but because it is dwindling the two sides grow further apart (as the example of the woman who's children are more aware of and active in their Jewish-identities than she was at their age).
posted by humbe at 11:02 AM on March 2, 2004

Something I forgot to add to my previous comment: Of course, hatred in verlan isn't limited to just anti-semitism. Depending on your crowd, the word "beur" (verlan for "arabe") can be just as pejorative as "feuj". Interestingly, "beur" has also been adopted by some of my French friends of Maghrebi descent in the same way the word "nigger" has been embraced by some members of the black community - it's almost a term of endearment.
posted by piedrasyluz at 11:31 AM on March 2, 2004

Thanks for the clarification, piedrasyluz. And don't forget "welching" (acting Welsh) on bets!
posted by Asparagirl at 1:39 PM on March 2, 2004

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