New York, NY, July 15, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed strong statements by French political leaders and the Union of Mosques of France in denouncing attacks on Paris synagogues.
During a large anti-Israel demonstration in Paris on Sunday, in which over 7,000 people participated, according to police estimates, two synagogues were attacked. Dozens of demonstrators broke off and tried to attack the Synagogue de la Roquette, while other demonstrators tried to enter the synagogue at Rue des Tournelles. Anti-Semitic slogans were reported in both incidents and chants of “Death to the Jews!” were heard during the demonstration.
In the aftermath of the demonstration, President Francois Hollande issued a strong public statement that “anti-Semitism cannot be used because there is a conflict between Israel and Palestine.”
“We welcome the clear and unequivocal statements by President Francois Hollande, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve making clear that these attacks are contrary to the values of the French Republic and that anti-Semitism is unacceptable in society,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. All three officials have made it clear that such manifestations of violence and hatred toward Jews be met with the full force of the law.”
“We also welcome the forceful statement by the Union of Mosques of France, on behalf of their 500 mosques, which called the attacks ‘morally unjust and unacceptable,’” added Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair. The UMF, which was created primarily to counter the radicalization of Muslims in France, called the attacks “morally unjust and unacceptable” and stated, “nothing can justify any act that could harm our Jewish compatriots, their institutions or their places of worship.”
Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the attacks on the synagogues “extremely serious” and pledged a determined government response. Interior Minister Cazeneuve said the government will take “all necessary measures to fight against all forms of hatred, notably anti-Semitism, and to continue to ensure the protection of Jewish places of worship, like those of all faiths.” He announced that he has asked local officials to ban demonstrations when serious threats to public order are expected.
Other attacks and threats against the Jewish community have also been reported over the past days. On Friday, a man described as of North African origin attacked a Jewish girl with pepper spray and called her a “dirty Jew,” and that night, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue in Aulnay-sous-Bois, a Paris suburb. Jewish childcare centers have reportedly received bomb threats.