Terror Outrages Deepen Fear Among French Jews, ‘Fanatical Islamism Always Targets the Jewish Community,’ Says Jewish Leader
Paris, January 9 – French Jews watched today’s two terrorist outrages in Paris, one of which targeted a kosher supermarket, with a deepening sense of fear.
French TV channel France 2 showed images of dozens of hostages fleeing the scene, including one holding an infant, shortly after the police operation to end the siege at the supermarket was launched.
Speaking on RTL, a French radio station, Roger Cukierman, President of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF,) said he was not surprised to hear that the Jewish community was being targeted. “Fanatical Islamism always targets the Jewish community,” he said. “This attack took place two days before a nationwide rally will be held to demonstrate our national unity and defend democracy. We are targets like all French citizens are now targets.”
Following this week’s brutal massacre at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, CRIF held an emergency meeting on Thursday with a number of Jewish representatives in order to discuss the measures French authorities must take to counter the country’s mounting anti-Semitism.
The siege at the kosher supermarket in the eastern Paris neighborhood of Porte de Vincennes revived painful memories for Paris’ Jewish community – in 1982, the bombing of the Goldenberg restaurant on the famous Rue des Rosiers of the city’s Marais neighbourhood left six dead and 22 wounded. As a precaution, earlier today police ordered shops to close along the Rue des Rosiers, which is located 2.5 miles from Porte de Vincennes.
In a sign of the vulnerability of other Jewish targets in France, the SPCJ (Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive) reported on Thursday that a projectile hit the window of a synagogue located in the capital’s 19th arrondissement, and that police security was reinforced in the area.
JoÃ«l Mergui, another prominent communal leader who heads the Consistoire Central Israélite de France, declared on Friday that he was “horrified by what was happening in the country.” Interviewed by the daily newspaper 20Minutes, Mergui said: “We are living a French September 11…radical Islamism is attacking free speech and the Jewish community.”
Asked whether French Jews should be particularly cautious at this time, Mergui responded: “The Jewish community has been cautious for some years now. But we ask people to be even more careful now and I asked the Prime Minister to reinforce security measures.”
Shimon Samuels, the Paris-based European Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, declared after today’s events: “The Jewish community feels itself on the edge of a seething volcano. A culture of excuse exonerates the perpetrators as ‘disaffected, alienated, frustrated, unemployed.’ No other group of frustrated unemployed has resorted to such behavior. Until politicians and media define the problem as Jihadism, remote-controlled from mosques in France and not only the Middle East, the cancer will not be isolated and destroyed.”
Earlier on Friday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called his Paris counterpart Anne Hidalgo to express his condolences following the Charlie Hebdo shooting. “Jerusalem residents understand and share your grief…Everyone should understand that the brutal attack that took place in Paris is not an isolated act but part of a global terrorist campaign”, Barkat told Hidalgo, according to French Jewish website JSSNews. Hidalgo said she was “touched” by the phone call.