French chief rabbi receives death threats

Police search for suspects connected to pictures disseminated on Facebook showing Rabbi Berhneim with gun to head.

By JTA
June 24, 2012 16:09
1 minute read.
French Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim

French Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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THE HAGUE -- French police on Sunday said they were investigating death threats made against the country’s chief rabbi.

Police said over the weekend that they are looking for people connected to a photomontage disseminated through Facebook which shows Rabbi Gilles Bernheim with a revolver pointing at his head. The picture shows Bernheim wearing a Star of David on his forehead.

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A lighter labeled as containing Zyklon B - the compound used in Nazi gas chambers - is being held up to his nostrils.

“Don’t worry, Bernheim, I won’t deport you. I just want you to breathe in the content of this lighter,” a caption reads. The photomontage is signed by “Bakala LBD.”

Bakala LBD is the name of a Facebook user whose page offers profanities about Israel and maps that purport to depict the expansion of Jewish presence in Israel and the West Bank. It also offers photos of the French comedian known as Dieudonne, founder of the French Anti-Zionist Party. Dieudonne has been convicted several times of hate speech because of anti-Semitic statements.

CRIF, the umbrella organization representing French Jewish communities, condemned the threats.

“Anti-Semitism is not an atmosphere. It kills,” Ron Rafaeli of SPCJ, the security service of France’s Jewish communities, said last week at the European Parliament in Brussels.

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