-FRENCH JEWS: “We refuse to live in a climate of fear.”

NEWS

“We feel we are back to the period of the intifada years 2006-2007 in France, where the Jewish community was attacked from all sides.”

photo-crif1JANUARY 18, 2009 – Antisemitic violence in France is rampant and would seem to be out of control. This past week The Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) launched an appeal to President Sarkozy.

Here is what they had to say:

The Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) launches a solemn appeal to the President of the Republic. On the night of January 13, 2009, graffiti, including swastikas, were drawn on the facade of the synagogue of Lille and a window was smashed by stones. In addition, the synagogue in Mulhouse was contaminated with hateful slogans. CRIF is outraged by this new antisemitic acts in addition to an already long list and intolerable acts of violence. We solemnly ask the President of the Republic, the guarantor of peace and civil peace in our country, to launch a strong message to stop violence against the Jewish community in France. We want to live in peace!

In addition, the president of CRIF, Richard Prasquier stated that he “does not accept the statements made by the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), according to which the Israeli offensive is an unprecedented genocide against the Palestinian population. The Muslim organisation’s website shows a series of photos of Israeli barbarity, while one of the texts denounces an unprecedented genocide against the Palestinian population.

“This is a call to violence, this is stoking the fires,” claimed Richard Prasquier, “for whom Israel must defend its right to security. The UOIF, on the other hand, is accusing CRIF of confusing French Jews with Israel, by unconditionally supporting the State of Israel.

“Such statements are unheard of. They are seeking to import the conflict to France. I cannot talk to an organisation that is saying such things,” said Richard Prasquier.

Recent acts of violence against France’s Jewish community has included the following reported news items:

Another Molotov cocktail against a synagogue

This time it is the synagogue in Hayange near Thionville, which was hit by the spray of a Molotov cocktail on the night of Friday 16 to Saturday January 17, causing a fire. Fortunately, the person who lived on the first floor was not injured. André Fruchtenreich, vice president of the Consistoire Israelite de Moselle revealed another unused Molotov cocktail was found near the synagogue. The community consists of 23 Jewish families. André Fruchtenreich denounced this ‘heinous act’ and appealed to government to ‘take action against antisemitism.’ He felt that ‘it is unacceptable that an external conflict is transposed onto the floor of the Republic.’

New attempt at intimidation against the synagogue in Metz

According to information from SPCJ (Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive) for the second time in two days, some fifty pro-Palestinian demonstrators went to the synagogue in Metz Saturday 17 January when the faithful were celebrating the Sabbath.

France a tragic incident in the making

In response to the Molotov cocktail attack against the synagogue in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, in the Val-de-Marne, which caused a fire on Thursday January 15, the president of CRIF said that “France is not an antisemitic country,” but France is a “breeding ground for antisemitism.” He expressed his condemnation of the rise of antisemitic acts and fear of the risk of a tragic incident.

Lyon: We refuse to live in fear

Marcel Amsellem, president of CRIF Rhone-Alpes, said that in the wake of recent antisemitic incidents in Lyon and its region, “We feel we are back to the period of the intifada years 2006-2007 in France, where the Jewish community was attacked from all sides. We must remember that the first attack which took place against a Jewish school in France has already taken place in Lyon. . . . We refuse to live in a climate of fear. Do not keep silent. You must lodge a complaint, because justice cannot do anything without filing complaints. The reluctance to do so is understandable, especially in neighbourhoods where people are afraid of retaliation, but we must absolutely refuse to be hand railed. It is possible to remain anonymous.”

CRIF condemns the boycott of Enrico Macias in Mauritius

Following the announcement that the singer Enrico Macias, peace ambassador for UNESCO, was declared ‘persona non grata’ for a concert in Mauritius, following his participation in a demonstration of solidarity with Israel organized by the CRIF in Paris on January 4, Haim Musicant, director general of the CRIF, said on Radio J on January 16 that he was “not surprised at the outrageous decision.” Haim Musicant pointed out that Mauritius has long shown its hostile policy towards Israel.

Antisemitism in Toulouse

SPCJ has reported that the sidewalk in front of a store was tagged Friday 16 January 2009 in Toulouse with the inscription ‘Israel = Nazi’ painted in white.

Antisemitic attack in Fontenay-sous-Bois

According to the SPCJ, on Thursday January 15, while two individuals attempted to steal his car under the threat of a knife, a young Jew of 24 years was attacked in Fontenay-sous-Bois in the Val de Marne, when they saw a Star of David around his neck. The youth suffered minor injuries but his life is not in danger.

(Source: CRIF)

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