Swastika Daubings on Kosher Food Stores in Paris Suburb Leave Residents Anxious
Residents of the Paris suburb of Créteil expressed shock this week after five huge swastikas were daubed on the metal shutters of two kosher food stores in a popular shopping mall.
The vandalism was discovered on Wednesday morning as the owners arrived to open their stores. One of the targeted establishments was the Créteil branch of the HyperCacher supermarket chain — which became a household name in January 2015 when its Porte de Vincennes store was attacked by Islamist terrorists in the same week as the assault on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Four Jewish visitors to the store were murdered during the 2015 attack.
The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNCVA), a Jewish communal organization, declared in a statement that the approaching third anniversary of the HyperCacher atrocity on January 9 was the motive behind the vandalism in Créteil. The area is home to 20,000 Jews, and is the largest Jewish community in the Paris suburbs.
The vandals “wished to mark in their own way the anniversary of the anti-Jewish attack,” the BNCVA said in a statement.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb expressed “deep indignation” at the vandalism, pledging his support “to the residents targeted by this attack and to the Jewish community in France.”
Francis Kalifat — president of the French Jewish communal organization CRIF — declared in a statement that this latest “expression of antisemitism, a few days before the third anniversary of the attack on the HyperCacher, where four people were killed just because they were Jewish, is appalling.”
“CRIF expects that the perpetrators will be apprehended and heavily penalized,” Kalifat added.
The manager of the Promo & Destock grocery — the second of the two stores vandalized in the mall in Créteil — told local media outlets that he believed the swastika daubers were trying to “import” the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians into the local community.
“What I see is that the communities live very well in Créteil,” the store manager, whose name was given as Aziz, told the newspaper Le Parisien.
“I am a Muslim myself and I have been selling kosher food here for almost ten years,” Aziz said.
One regular customer at the store, who gave his name as Pascal, observed that the vandalism had come at a particularly sensitive time in France. “In this atmosphere, when our families just want to live in peace, it’s very disturbing,” he said.