PARIS—As members of the French parliament debated Wednesday the brutal anti-Semitic attack of a 8-year-old Jewish boy wearing a kippah in Sarcelles, near Paris, a Jewish figure sharply criticized what he described as media indifference to this latest incident.
During the debate, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe called for “having the courage to name things, the courage to recognize that there is a new form of violent and brutal anti-Semitism that expresses itself openly on our territory.’’
This is the second time in January that a Jewish minor has been violently attacked in Sarcelles, which has a large Jewish community lives among a much larger population of Muslims from North Africa. On January 10, a teenager leaving her Jewish school had been attacked with a knife.
In the latest attack on Monday, the suspects — believed to be around age 15 and of African origin— were hidden behind garbage cans and attacked the boy as he walked alone to a tutoring class. They pushed the boy to the ground and punched and kicked him, running off without stealing any of the items he was carrying. The boy is reported to be physically stable, but suffering from shock.
Marc Knobel, a member of the board of Crif, the umbrella representative group of French Jewish organisations, complained about the indifference of the media in covering the anti-Semitic attack. He wondered whether French journalists had genuinely understood the gravity of the aggression.
“This morning, I turned on my radio and I heard the following comment: ‘The Jewish community is in shock,” wrote the historian and Director of studies at Crif on the organisation’s website.
‘’The kind of muddy comment I do not like to hear. Would it only concern the Jewish community, that an 8-year-old child is assaulted because he wears a kippah and is a Jew?,’’ he asked.
‘’Why should the national community be insensitive when a children is assaulted, black, yellow, white, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or other? How to explain these shortcuts? Is this what you learn in journalism schools?,’’ he added.
Crif President Francis Kalifat said the latest aggression has revived the feeling of insecurity that affects the Jewish community of France, particularly in certain neighborhoods.
He asked police “real and energetic measures to combat this anti-Semitic crime” and ‘’especially to take punitive and dissuasive sanctions according to the law.’’
He recalled that the policy of “zero tolerance” must be applied to the proliferation of anti-Semitic acts and aggression on the soil of the French Republic.