For the second straight day on Sunday anti-Jewish rioters defied a protest ban in Paris to rampage in the predominantly Jewish suburb of Sarcelles in what one police official called the “Paris Intifada.”
Hundreds of mostly Arab and North African youths marched through the streets wielding bars and clubs while shouting, “Death to Israel.”
The neighborhood’s main kosher grocery Naouri was burned to a shell as was a local Jewish owned pharmacy. The nearby synagogue in Garges was firebombed, but little damage was done.
Riot police attempted to disperse protesters and block access to another synagogue in Sarcelles and a few dozen Jewish vigilantes gathered nearby.
Journalists were assaulted and some police officers were injured by the rioters, France’s Le Figaro reported.
“I live in Garges, near the synagogue, but I’m afraid to go home,” a young woman told the newspaper.
“We are seeing real scenes of urban guerrilla warfare,” Thierry Maze, a local law enforcement officer, told Le Figaro.
Multiple Jewish individuals living in the neighborhood, which was compared by one to Brooklyn’s Borough Park for the density of its Jewish population, told The Algemeiner that they feared leaving their homes.
Sunday’s violence came on the heels of a similar event on Saturday in which 3000 people gathered near the Gare Du Nord train station and began marching up Barbes Boulevard. 14 policemen were injured and 38 arrests were made in the incident.
Last Sunday, an anti-Israel demonstration at Paris’s Bastille Square quickly turned violent with protesters seeking out and attacking Jewish targets and screaming “death to the Jews” and “Hitler was right” according to community newspaper, JSS News.
“Over the last few days in France are we seeing the beginning of a French Kristallnacht?” French Jewish artist and activist Ron Agam asked, in an interview with The Algemeiner about the violence.
In a Facebook post on Monday, France’s former chief rabbi Gilles Berheim called on the French government “not to tolerate this kind of behavior.”
“I watched from Israel with great concern and fear the violence that took place in Paris, in Barbes on Saturday and on Sunday in Sarcelles,” he wrote. “While the pretext for these demonstrations was support of Gaza, they are actually anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic demonstrations. This is unspeakable.”
Rabbi Levy Djian, a French Jewish activist living in New York told The Algemeiner that the series of riots show “we are entering a new era of real fear for the Jewish community of France.”
“Last week, in Paris, synagogues were attacked in broad daylight,” Djian said. “In Nice demonstrators screamed: ‘We are all Mohamed Merah’s!’ Then there were the riots in Barbes (Paris’s 18th district) yesterday, and there were the violent demonstrations in Sarcelles on Sunday.”
“The fact that the Muslims feel free to act against the police and the government is very alarming because who knows what will happen tomorrow? Many are talking about going to Israel but this can not be the solution to this problem. There are still many Jewish communities in France and it is imperative that they should be safe and feel totally secure.”
Roger Cukierman, President of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF), the representative body of French Jewry, warned that further violence could force the community to leave the country.
“This new anti-Semitism can lead to the departure of all the Jews,” he said, in an interview with Le Monde Juif. “If Sharia becomes their state religion and we let ourselves be invaded by people who do not respect the government.”
“When a demonstration is prohibited it should not happen,” he said.
Two more demonstrations have been planned for Wednesday and Saturday, according to local media reports.
Watch a video of the aftermath of the riots below: