The Situation of Jews in France

Source: “France Without Jews is Not France,” The New York Times, January 13

There have been a number of lethal anti-Semitic atrocities in France during the last few years, culminating in the attack on the Kosher grocery store in Paris last week.

Some French Jews are asking themselves if they have a future in France, home to Europe’s largest Jewish population. Many have already left for Israel – nearly 7,000 last year – and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who attended the march in Paris on Sunday, urged more French Jews to do so, telling them: “Israel is your home.”

An exodus of Jews would suit last week’s attackers just fine. The terrorists hoped that the murder of Jews and the cartoonists who dared to sketch the Prophet Muhammad would trigger a spiral of polarizing hate and fear. Since the attacks last week, there have been more than 50 anti-Muslim episodes across France, including 21 shootings aimed at mosques and other Muslim buildings. French Muslims, too, are afraid.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has promised that all French citizens can count on government protection of their places of worship. On Monday, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that 10,000 military troops would be deployed to protect “sensitive sites” throughout France. In addition, 4,700 police officers will protect Jewish schools and synagogues.

This appropriate action backs up Mr. Valls’s statement on Saturday that “France without Jews is not France.” Claude Lanzmann, the French filmmaker best known for his powerful 1985 documentary film on the Holocaust, Shoah, expressed Mr. Valls’s sentiment in even starker terms in an essay in Le Monde on Monday, writing: “Let us not give Hitler this posthumous victory.”


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