Veteran French Jewish Leader Roger Cukierman Warns That ‘France Will Fall Into the Hands of Either Shari’a Law or the Front National’
Roger Cukierman, the veteran president of CRIF, the representative body of French Jews, has issued an extraordinary warning concerning the potential fate of his community.
“Jews will leave in large numbers and France will fall into the hands of either Shari’a Law or the Front National,” Cukierman declared at a rally against anti-Semitism in the suburb of Creteil last Sunday, to loud applause from the assembled crowd.
The rally was called in response to last week’s chilling assault on the home in Creteil of a Jewish family by three anti-Semitic thugs. Claiming that the family had been targeted because “Jews have money,” one of the assailants forced them to hand over credit cards which he then used to extract money from a nearby ATM. At the same time, the young man who answered the door was held hostage while his 19 year old girlfriend was raped.
Also appearing at the Creteil rally was French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who declared that the fight against anti-Semitism in France, which has risen dramatically since the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas over the summer, was a “national cause.”
But it is the comments of the traditionally cautious Cukierman that will attract the most attention. When I interviewed him during a visit to New York last May, he did not seek to play down the threats which French Jews face, but he also emphasized that Jews had lived in France “for the last 2,000 years,” adding, “We are still here. And we are not the only country where anti-Semitism is developing. It may develop in America also.”
However, since the war in Gaza, Cukierman has sounded a more apocalyptic note. Interviewed by French television journalist Claude Askolovitch last weekend, Cukierman said that in France today, “the word ‘Jew’ is used as an insult in school.”
Cukierman’s fear that French Jews are caught between the growing radicalization of the Muslim community, which now numbers almost 10 percent of the total population, and the right-wing extremism promoted by the Front National, was described as unprecedented by Ron Agam, a French-Israeli artist and political activist.
“I have never heard comments like these ever before proclaimed publicly. It really highlights the very grave concern, and almost heartbreaking appeal of members of the Jewish community,” Agam told The Algemeiner. “France is like a sick patient diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and only radical therapy will save it. I am praying for it, as I love my country.”