Jews rally in Paris suburb to protest rise in anti-Semitism

Calls for government to do more against rising anti-Semitism heard at protest.

Paris, France. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Paris, France.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jews rally in Paris suburb to protest rise in anti-Semitism • By JOSEPH STRICH and Reuters Hundreds of Jews gathered Sunday in Creteil, to protest a violent racially motivated attack last week in the Paris suburb, after the interior minister admitted that anti-Semitic threats and incidents have more than doubled so far this year in France.
Last Monday, three men between 19 and 20-years-old and armed with pistols, broke into an apartment in Creteil and attacked a young Jewish couple – raping a 19-year-old woman.
Her 21-year-old boyfriend, who was tied up during the robbery, said the men targeted the apartment because they knew the residents were Jewish and believed there would be money and valuables inside. The woman’s younger brother said that during one-and-a-half hour attack, the intruders sacked and destroyed everything in the apartment, looking for “jewels, computers, mobiles and credit cards.”
Police detained the three men after they had fled the scene of the crime, and they appeared before an investigative judge on Wednesday in relation to the day-time home invasion, which is being viewed as a racially motivated attack.
Speaking before a crowd of around 600 protesters, Roger Cukierman President of CRIF, called on the government to do more to address the problem. “We feel that something has changed: it is no longer just graffiti or minor incidents. These are death threats [against the Jewish community],” he told BFM TV.
“It cannot go on like this.”
He warned that if the French state did not intervene and deal with rising anti-Semitism, Jews would leave in huge numbers.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the government would defend the Jewish community with “all its force.”
“We must make the fight against racism and anti-Semitism a national cause,” he said, calling the phenomenon a “real social pathology.”
He decried the anti-Semitic attack, labeling it “the evil that tortures the [French] Republic.”
France has the largest Jewish population in Europe, having grown by nearly half since World War II to total some 550,000 Jews, according to the community’s umbrella group CRIF.
But violent incidents like the murders of three Jewish children and a rabbi by Islamist militant gunman Muhammad Merah in 2012, and clashes at pro-Palestinian rallies in Paris in July have disturbed some in the Jewish community.
In the first three months of 2014 more Jews left France for Israel than at any other time since the Jewish state was created in 1948, citing economic hardships in France’s stagnating economy but also rising anti-Semitism as a factor.