Via Vox, the poll was conducted on behalf of a Russian state media outlet but the pollster itself seems credible enough. Besides, if the results are being slanted to tar western countries, why would they be slanted against France but not against the UK?
Bear in mind, per Andrew Stiles, that France is only 5-10 percent Muslim. Even if every Muslim in the country were pro-ISIS, you’d still need a chunk of non-Muslims giving thumbs up to these lunatics to get to 16 percent.
Vox notes that a similar poll taken recently in Gaza showed 13 percent said they supported ISIS. Hamasistan is less pro-ISIS than France is.
Can it get worse? It can:
In France, the younger the demographic, the more pro-ISIS it is — whereas the opposite is true in Britain. Huh. Maybe Brits, because of their role in the Iraq war, have more of an investment in seeing Iraq succeed and thus take greater exception to barbarians trying to burn the country to the ground. Then again, we’re forever told that western occupations of Islamic countries risk creating homegrown jihadis by radicalizing domestic Muslims who’d otherwise be solid citizens. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly cited the Afghanistan and Iraq wars when asked why he and his brother bombed the marathon. If that logic is sound, we should probably see more support for ISIS in the UK, which took a lead role in occupying Iraq, than in France. We don’t. I wonder what the British are doing with respect to integration that the French aren’t. That hasn’t been their forte in the past — the word “Londonistan” exists for a reason — but here we are.
But never mind that. Is France really this bad? No doubt plenty of French Jews would say why, yes, with good reason, but I wonder if there are other influences bearing on the poll. At Vox, Max Fisher thinks there might be a cycle of radicalization happening between French Muslims and far-right movements, which in turn generates sympathy among the former for ISIS. I guess, but as Stiles says, not even unanimous pro-ISIS sentiment among French Muslims would account for all the support here. Something else is happening to create sympathy among a number of non-Muslims too. It could be that the French experience in Algeria has created lingering anti-colonialist sentiment on the left which, in its extremes, actually supports a bunch of Arab fanatics in undoing the nation-building the U.S. and UK tried to do. Or it could be simple anti-American sentiment at work: The U.S. is bombing ISIS, ergo, the only proper response is to support the people being bombed. The flaw in that hypothesis, though, is that this poll was conducted between July 11th and 13th, nearly a month before Obama ordered airstrikes.
Maybe the ISIS result here is being driven in part by anti-Israel sentiment. Israel’s new conflict with Hamas began just a few days before the poll was taken. As opposition to Israel gets hotter, it has a tendency to bleed over into anti-Jewish sentiment, and if it can mutate that way, it can probably also mutate into support for the most radical, and formidable, jihadist element currently operating in Israel’s regional backyard. The ADL polled France on anti-semitism a few years ago and found this:
In France, where a shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse yesterday claimed the lives of three small children and a teacher, the overall level of anti-Semitism increased to 24 percent of the population, an increase from 20 percent in a previous ADL poll conducted in 2009. In France, 45 percent of respondents attributed the violence against European Jews to anti-Jewish feelings, an increase from 39 percent in 2009.
Other findings for France include: 45 percent of the population responded “probably true” to the statement “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country; 35 percent agreed that “Jews have too much power in the business world; and 35 percent believe that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them during the Holocaust.
Could you find some people among that rabble to say “yay, ISIS,” when the nightly news is covering war in Gaza? Probably, yeah. Add them to the people described above, starting with the French Muslims who really are pro-ISIS on the merits, and maybe you get to 16 percent. Exit question: The war in Gaza was on the nightly news in Britain and Germany too. How come they couldn’t get to 16 percent?