Cukierman elected head of main French Jewish group

By
May 27, 2013 00:10

Third reelection as president of France's Representative Council of Jewish Institutions.

1 minute read.



French flags

French flags 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Yves Herman)

Roger Cukierman, 76, was elected president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions (CRIF) in France on Sunday, beating out Toulouse community head Arie Bensemhoun in the second round of voting with 61 percent of the vote.

Cukierman previously served as CRIF president for back-to-back three-year terms between 2001 and 2007.

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He replaces Richard Prasquier, who has served for the past six years as president of the organization.

Cukierman has a PhD in economics and formerly was the CEO of the Edmond de Rothschild Group, has served as a vice president of the World Jewish Congress, director of the Fondation pour la Memoire de la Shoah and vice president of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.

As president of CRIF, he gains a seat on the board of the Claims Conference.

Cukierman is no stranger to controversy, having said in 2002 that despite far-right nationalist French presidential candidate Jean- Marie Le Pen’s anti-Semitism, the Jewish community had a common interest in combating Muslim immigration.

At the time, he was quoted as saying that a Le Pen victory would at least have the effect of minimizing Muslim violence against French Jews.

He later told French newspaper Liberation that his comments were “taken out of context.”

Following his election, Cukierman said he would work “under the sign of a relentless, constant and determined fight against anti-Semitism and the respect of memory,” according to Le Parisian.

“I want a CRIF stronger, strictly independent and open to the civil society as a whole,” he also said.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor congratulated Cukierman, saying that he “represents a wealth of knowledge and experience which will be necessary for French Jewry in the years ahead.”

JTA contributed to this report.


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