anti-Semitism might become violent, lawmakers attending a session of the Knesset
Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs stated on
The meeting came as an inverted Nazi salute known as the
quenelle, invented and popularized by the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne
M’balla M’balla, was gaining popularity in France.
Committee chairman MK
Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid) called on MKs at the hearing to work to “suppress”
such manifestations of hate. He also called on the nations of Europe and the
European Union to promote tolerance. Without decisive action, he stated,
anti-Semitic sentiment “might develop into violent action.”
Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) stated that anti-Semitism was “not a danger to the State
of Israel,” although it was abroad.
“Anti-Semitism is dangerous to the
world, as it has been shown in the past,” Rivlin said. “Therefore, the duty [to
combat it] rests primarily on the countries themselves and on leadership in the
Use of the quenelle salute has recently soared.
Hundreds of quenelle photos can be found on anti-Semitic forums and on Facebook.
Others showing it being performed at Jewish sites and Nazi concentration camps
have become especially popular.
The gesture has also been used by a
soccer star, soldiers guarding a Parisian synagogue and a French national
playing in the NBA. While civil servants could face disciplinary action over the
quenelle, rank and file French citizens can perform it with
Anti-Semitism has become a major problem in France, where
attacks against Jews have risen significantly since the turn of the millennium
due to an influx of Muslim immigrants.
According to a recent study by the
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), 21 percent of French Jews
reported experiencing at least one anti-Semitic incident during the past
At Monday’s committee hearing, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
(Likud) compared anti-Semitism to a stream that, every time one tries to block
it, finds another path to “break out.”
Citing the FRA report, Edelstein
described the figures it presented as “alarming,” adding that law enforcement
must deal with the problem before it spreads. Violence might “begin with Jews,
but it does not end with them,” he said.
French immigration to Israel has
increased by 63% over the past year, according to new figures released by the
Immigration and Absorption Ministry in conjunction with the Jewish Agency for
Israel. Things have gotten so bad there that most Jewish parents enroll their
children in private schools because of anti-Semitism, a leader of France’s
Jewish community said last month during an interview.