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Muslim-Jewish Relations in France through the Lens of Recent Cinema


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Until the early 1990s, the close cohabitation in France of Jews and Muslims from formerly colonized North Africa was generally peaceful. During the first half of the twentieth century, most of the newcomers fulfilled the Republican vision of assimilation. However, events in the Middle East in the latter part of the twentieth century and early years of the twenty-first, and in particular the First and Second Intifada, together with the introduction of Arab satellite television, caused a sea-change in inter-ethnic relations. Angry Muslim youths, frustrated also by widespread discrimination in the broader French society and workplace, directed violence both toward the authorities and the establishment and particularly against Jews whom they accuse as being Zionists. For their part, the Jews of the banlieues (suburbs) and inner cities have felt increasingly insecure and have been progressively moving to “safer” bourgeois or gentile neighborhoods or to Israel. These new realities have been the subject of a considerable number of French movies by Jewish and Muslim directors (and in one instance the son of a pied noir family) and film writers. Some of these films merely attempt to record the situation, whereas others aim at fostering improved relationships. This article chronicles these cinematic efforts and analyzes their varying approaches to Jewish-Muslim relations in France.




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Stillman, Dinah Assouline Muslim-Jewish Relations in France through the Lens of Recent Cinema. Jewish-Muslim Relations in Past and Present: A Kaleidoscopic View. Brill. 2017:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-fra181