Statement of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Concerning Recent Anti-Semitic Attacks on Jews in Paris

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


The Central Conference of American Rabbis condemns the attack on two Jewish men in Paris last week by a gang estimated at 40 people, identified as members of Gaza Firm, a pro-Palestinian group that is involved in the BDS movement

This heinous, morally repugnant assault took place in an area that is home to many Jewish-owned businesses.  It occurred on Voltaire Boulevard, the site of the infamous 2006 kidnapping of Ilan Halimi, a 23 year old French Jewish phone salesman, who was tortured and starved for three weeks before being left to die, naked and handcuffed, with burns over 80 percent of his body, in a Paris suburb.

The recent assault was just the latest in an escalating series of venomous anti-Semitic acts in France, including January’s terrorist attack on the HyperKasher grocery store, the rape of a young Jewish woman during an anti-Semitic assault on a Jewish home in a Paris suburb last December, and the murder of three students and a rabbi at a Jewish day school in Toulouse in 2012. Some 851 anti-Semitic acts were reported in France in 2014, compared with 423 the previous year, with acts of physical violence increasing from 105 to 241.

In a historic address to France’s National Assembly in January, following the Charlie Hebdo and HyperKasher atrocities, Prime Minister Manuel Valls denounced anti-Semitism and declared, “We haven’t shown enough outrage…History has taught us that the awakening of anti-Semitism is the symptom of a crisis for democracy and of a crisis for the Republic. That is why we must respond with force…When the Jews of France are attacked, France is attacked, the conscience of humanity is attacked. Let us never forget that…Without its Jews, France would not be France.”


Therefore, the Central Conference of American Rabbis:

Commends Prime Minister Valls for his courage and forthrightness in declaring that France is
“at war with jihadism and terrorism,” and in recognizing that anti-Semitism is not solely a Jewish problem but, rather, is one that endangers France itself and jeopardizes its future as a liberal democracy;

Admires Jewish communal leaders in Europe, including the rabbis and lay leaders of Reform, Progressive, and Liberal synagogues there, who, with devotion and determination, are coping with the challenges presented by this crisis;

Applauds the actions of the French government, belated though they may be, to protect Jews and Jewish community institutions throughout the nation;

Calls upon French authorities to redouble these efforts and strive tirelessly to eradicate the scourge of anti-Semitism, a phenomenon that stains the honor of France; and

Expresses solidarity with our fellow Jews in France and elsewhere in Europe, for whose safety and wellbeing we are profoundly concerned. As leaders of the CCAR and the World Union for Progressive Judaism conveyed during their recent Solidarity Mission to Belgium and France, the fate of Europe’s Jews is our fate, their future is our future. In this struggle, they are not alone.

 

Rabbi Denise Eger              Rabbi Rick Block                                   Rabbi Steven Fox
President                            Immediate Past-President                      Chief Executive

Central Conference of American Rabbis