A French Jewish organization asked authorities this week to temporarily prohibit Islamic pro-Palestinian demonstrations while the community commemorates the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup of July 1942, arguing they put Jewish citizens at risk.
The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup consisted of raids and mass arrests of Jews in Paris by the French police directed by German Nazi authorities. On July 16-18, 1942, 12,884 Jews from the Paris region, including more than 4,000 children, were taken into custody.
Of these, 7,000 victims were packed into the Velodrome d’Hiver, an indoor sports stadium not far from the Eiffel Tower. In increasingly desperate conditions they awaited shipment to the death camps in Eastern Europe. Many were sent to Auschwitz.
In a series of statements in recent days, the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism (NBVCA) demanded that Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve “convoke, summon the Islamic leaders in France” and to share with them “the deep concern” of Jewish community leaders about the call by Islamists and pro-Palestinians for a “hostile gathering” on Thursday in Sarcelles (a municipality in the northern suburbs of the French capital with large Jewish and Muslim populations). The BNVCA also asked the prefect of police in the Paris region “to prohibit this gathering, or repress it.”
The Bureau evoked the commemoration that day of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup.
None of the planned demonstrations was prohibited.
The BNVCA listed 26 anti-Israel protests held between July 10 and 16 in Paris, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Marseille, Lyon and other cities. Three others are planned for this weekend: In Paris and Marseille on Saturday, and another in Sarcelles on Sunday.
In its statements, the BNVCA wrote: “Serious anti-Jewish acts have taken place in Paris...Several attacks in the name of supporting the Palestinians...Jews are terrorized by a sort of a civil war conducted against them by other French people...The representatives of the state must have a firm attitude...The freedom to protest cannot come at the expense of the rights and liberties of Jewish citizens... The minister of interior has to prohibit any gathering that endanger [the public].”
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