image Je fais un don

Wiesenthal Centre to French President "Just as Hamas rockets over Israeli cities are unacceptable, the radical Islamist threat to normal life in French cities is intolerable".

21 July  2014

In a letter to French President, François Hollande, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that, since the Elysee 11 June audience with the Centre's international delegation, "the principal subject of our discussion – the security of the Jewish community – has seriously deteriorated across Europe. Exploiting the current Gaza crisis, pogromist mobs are, seventy years after the Holocaust, screaming “Death to the Jews” in the very streets from which they were deported to the Nazi extermination camps".

Samuels stressed that "France, home of the largest Jewish and Muslim communities on the continent, has been most affected, especially in the last week of mass Jihadi-sympathizer assaults on synagogues."

The Centre congratulated "the French government for statements and measures, such as yesterday’s announcement, at the 72nd anniversary of the Paris Vel d’Hiv deportation, by Prime Minister Valls that 'combatting antisemitism is a national cause'. This followed his immediate adoption of the Wiesenthal Centre’s request to ban hate mongering demonstrations as a threat to public order".

The letter pointed to "some 40 rioters were arrested on Saturday and two dozen yesterday, for violating the ban and resorting to vandalism and threatening to attack synagogues. Scenes of French police, justifiably, using water cannons, tear-gas and rubber bullets are redolent of today’s Middle East - as images of an anti-French Intifada in Paris".

Samuels emphasised that "young French-born Islamists, recruited in radical mosques and through social media, focus primarily on the Jewish target. Nonetheless, piggy-backing the cause of Palestine, they vent their rage on the values and institutions of the French Republic," adding, "they are burning police stations, banks, pharmacies, stores and even a pizzeria and undertaker. Hundreds of cars have been destroyed, as sacking, torching and looting spread."

The letter highlighted how "the police protective closure of the Marais Jewish Quarter was laudable and unprecedented, as was the locking down of Barbès and the neighboring Gare du Nord, Paris’ principal railway station," continuing, "just as Hamas rockets over Israeli cities are unacceptable, the radical Islamist threat to normal life in French cities is intolerable. Sadly, this is a message that is not clear to the French media. Their freedom of expression in no way relieves them of partial responsibility for provoking the violence against the Jews in France, by their constant one-sided attacks on Israel's right to defend itself from terrorism."

The Centre noted "the statement yesterday by Hassen Chalghoumi, the Imam of Drancy (ironically the way-station for 75,000 French Jews to Auschwitz).He firmly condemned “all violence against fellow Jewish citizens” and called “to prevent the import of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.” "As President of the Conference of Imams of France, his courageous voice must be echoed by Muslim leaders across the country."

Samuels described the Centre's routine monitoring of thousands of websites and social media in several languages that incite to hatred and violence. "These findings can be made available to French law enforcement services and to Muslim leaders to show parents in their communities the Jihadist sites to which their children are exposed."

The letter recalled "the May 1990 desecration of the Carpentras Jewish cemetery where a recently buried corpse was exhumed and impaled on an umbrella. The sheer horror of this act led your predecessor, President François Mitterrand, to lead a 250,000 strong march through Paris against antisemitism. His initiative galvanized the churches, the trade unions, the schools, universities and the general public to declare a zero tolerance policy on Jew-hatred."

The Centre urged the President - "as soon as possible, after the 'rentrée' in September – to repeat this exercise and, thereby, demonstrate that the rioters of today represent none other than themselves."

"To paraphrase General de Gaulle’s wartime call: 'Let the voice of ‘la vraie France’ ('the true France') resonate through your leadership".