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October 30, 2013 10:12 am

French Jewish Leader Says Climate for Jews in Country is ‘Not Pleasant’

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Roger Cukierman. Photo: worldjewishcongress.org.

The head of the umbrella organization of French Jewish institutions told Israel’s i24 News Wednesday that France was not an anti-Semitic country, but that for Jews there is “a climate in which it is not pleasant to live.”

Roger Cukierman, the head of CRIF (Conseil Repr√©sentatif des Institutions Juives de France) added that the “correlation between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism” is a new phenomenon.

“Describing oneself as anti-Zionist but not anti-Semitic is in vogue nowadays,” Cukierman told the network.

According to a recent survey, some 40% of French Jews are afraid to openly identify as such in public, a much larger percentage than the 25% in the EU overall who harbor similar fears.

According to i24 News, Curkierman said France “is facing three distinct forms of anti-Semitism. First, there is the rise of the far right, including the growing public acceptance of National Front party; on the other hand, there is the anti-Semitism of the far left, originating with pro-Palestinian activists calling for a boycott of Israel. Cukierman described this type as ‘anti-Semitism dressed up as anti-Zionism.’

Finally, anti-Semitism prevails among young suburban immigrants, ‘predominantly Muslims,’ who are ‘eager to commit violence when they see a Jew a yarmulke.'”

Cukierman was, however, complimentary of French government officials, including Prime Minister Francois Hollande and Interior Minister Manuel Valls, and applauded their efforts to fight anti-Semitism.

“Holland and Valls are friends of Israel,” he said.

Cukierman also weighed in on current peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, saying, “Unless we opt for two states, sooner or later the Jews will be a minority and Israel will lose its democratic status or will become an apartheid state.”

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