Anti-Semitism and the Miss France Beauty Pageant

Pity the devout bigot.

For him the world is a gray and forbidding place, void of color, sheen or love.

Were you to wriggle through the crawl space and shove aside the dust and cobwebs of a bigot’s mind you would see the world as he sees it: full of enemies, hate, and most of all, fear.

The “religion” of bigotry—for, make no mistake: it requires a hefty heap of faith to ignore logic and the evidence of one’s own eyes to hate people one doesn’t even know—is a cruel taskmaster, brooking nothing less than full commitment.

Champs-Elysee in France
Photo by Ioan Panaite/Shutterstock.com

As an example of this mindless adherence to hate, beauty is not only not skin deep to a bigot, it simply doesn’t exist. Witness the Miss France beauty pageant earlier this month. Runner-up April Benayoum, alluding to her own Israeli roots in an interview, set off a barrage of hate tweets, some referencing a wish to repeat the Holocaust.

It requires a hefty heap of faith to ignore logic and the evidence of one’s own eyes to hate people one doesn’t even know.

The tsunami of vitriol met immediate pushback, with the Paris prosecutor’s office opening an investigation, France’s citizenship minister speaking out on the harm of online hate speech, and Ms. Benayoum herself fighting back with public statements as well as filing suit alongside several anti-racism groups.

Statements of support likewise came swiftly from the Union of Jewish Students in France, the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, Miss France pageant organizers and the newly-crowned Miss France herself, Amandine Petit.

France has a growing problem with the not-new religion of hate. Anti-Semitism in the country, manifested online and in the street, far from going away, is growing and has driven many French Jews to flee their country.

Who can stop these hate-clouded people who wish to drain all the color and beauty from the world and leave it a uniform gray? No one, really, except you, me and the rest of us. 

How? The false religion of hate withers under the light of truth.

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