Wednesday, 21 Aug 2019 - 20 of Av, 5779

4 years after Paris kosher supermarket terror attack, French Jewish leader says antisemitic climate in the country ‘goes from bad to worse’

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The President of Crif believes that in addition to a political reaction from the government – which exists in terms of déclarations and the drafting of laws- there must be a judicial reaction.

PARIS—‘’The antisemitic climate in France goes from bad to worse,’’ says Francis Kalifat, President of Crif, the umbrella representative group of French Jewish institutions as he expressed a pessimistic view four years after the attack of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris in which four Jews were killed by an islamist terrorist.

‘’This bad situation is verified by all that we know  and by the figures given by the Prime Minister a few weeks ago which show that anti-Semitism is up 69%  in the country,’’ Kalifat said in statements to Jewish publications.

He added that these figures only take into account the aggressions and antisemitic violence that were the subject of a complaint in police station. ‘’This means that everything that happens on the internet is not taken into account.’’

‘’We see that things do not change and we see it through the recurring events that we have from Saturday to Saturday,’’ he added, in reference to the ‘’yellow vests’’ movement against the rise of the living cost that hits France since several weeks.

‘’In the beginning, we  understood the legitimacy of their claims because they are people who are in a real social distress  but we see that this movement has terribly evolved  in recent weeks. Today, among the most active  remain the radicalized people who are manipulated by the extremes we have in our country, be it the extreme right or the extreme left,’’ underlines Kalifat.

‘’These people federate around themes such as anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia … and who  have s a clear purpose: to bring down the Republic. This is a new element and a new concern . for us.’’
‘’Anti-Semitism always awakens in times when the economic situation is more complicated, we know that the Jewish scapegoat is still there and we see it through the attacks that are increasing .We are talking about what happens with the pseudo radicalized ‘’yellow vests’’  but it is necessary also to talk about the everyday aggressions that occur,  that attack people, property, cemeteries like  in Strasbourg recently or in Sarcelles, a Paris suburb where a large Jewish population lives and and was in the past considered as an exemple of the ‘’living together’’ between communities. We can clearly see that we are in a period of tension.’’

He said that while there was a focus on islamist and extreme left anrtiemirtism, today we are witnessing the violent awakening of the extreme right that ‘’had never disappeared but was dormant and limited to a few statements, some graffiti.’’

The President of Crif believes that in addition to a political reaction from the government – which exists in terms of déclarations and the drafting of laws- there must be a judicial reaction.

‘’The judicial reaction today is not dissuasive enough. We need to review the level of sentences – especially when it comes to racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic attacks. This is  the only immediate way to try to block this vertiginous move that worries us.’’

‘’There is also the problem of the proof of an antisemitic aggression.  It is not normal today that when a person identified as Jewish because he wears a kippa or  goes out of a synagogue, when he is attacked has to prove that the aggression he suffered is anti-Semitic.’’

‘’From the moment this person is identified as Jewish, police must directly take into account that it is an anti-Semitic aggression.  Today it is the opposite.’’

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