After Latest Antisemitic Incident in Strasbourg, Israeli PM Calls for Global Condemnation of Jew-Hatred
A memorial monument for a synagogue in the French city of Strasbourg that was destroyed by the Nazis was vandalized on Friday night.
Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries visited the site where the Synagogue du Quai Kléber once stood, and wrote on Facebook on Saturday, “I say it again: that’s enough!”
Deputy Mayor Alain Fontanel noted, “Sadly, history repeats itself.”
Police have opened an investigation into the incident, in which the stone memorial was toppled from its base.
The monument was restored on Saturday.
At a Sunday cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the occurrence “shocking,” adding, “I strongly condemn all manifestations of antisemitism, and I call upon all leaders of enlightened countries to join in the systematic and continuous denunciation of antisemitism. The first way to fight antisemitism is to denounce and condemn it.”
“I welcome the fact that other countries are joining the definition of antisemitism, which also includes the definition of anti-Zionism,” the Israeli leader stated. “Anti-Zionism is the latest and most recent expression of antisemitism.”
Last month, dozens of graves were desecrated at a Jewish cemetery in the village of Quatzenheim, near Strasbourg.
Also in Strasbourg in February, Jewish attending Shabbat services were the target of antisemitic insults and slogans by passing “yellow vest” demonstrators.
Government statistics published in February showed a shocking rise of 74 percent in antisemitic hate crimes in France during 2018, with attacks on Jews rapidly becoming a daily occurrence.
In a major address to Jewish leaders a week and a half ago, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to implement new measures to combat antisemitism, including the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which cites the denial of Israel’s right to exist as one of its examples.
World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said on Sunday of the monument vandalism, “It is absolutely abhorrent that a memorial honoring a place of worship callously destroyed by the Nazis has now become the latest target of xenophobia and Jew-hatred in a country in which antisemitism has become so frequent, that is almost commonplace.”
“We appreciate that the Strasbourg municipality has responded so seriously to the desecration of this memorial, and we trust that the authorities are doing everything in their power to find those responsible and bring them to justice with the full force of the law, to ensure that a firm example is made of zero tolerance for acts of hate,” he continued. “France has a very strong legal and judicial system which must be applied strictly and more rigorously to ensure that this kind of antisemitic behavior never occurs again. We must not treat this incident as an isolated example of vandalism or hooliganism. There is a frightening proliferation of antisemitism across Europe, particularly in France, and such incidents need to be dealt with on a holistic level, as an epidemic that must be eradicated once and for all.”
“We know that the French government is committed to this issue, and we welcome French President Macron’s strong and encouraging step in pledging to our affiliate, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism,” Singer noted. “But this is just the beginning of a long road ahead, and we must all continue to be as vigilant as possible. Actions, not words, are needed to truly expunge this virus from our society. Adopting this definition of antisemitism must be followed by concrete steps to encode into law and ensure that it is enforced across the board.”
“There is not a single profile of antisemites — they come in all shapes and forms — and the only way to crack down on the very diverse nature of this hatred is to ensure a state-wide, or continent-wide policy and plan for doing so. It is essential that the government of France, and society at large, reject all forms of antisemitism, with a specific plan of action,” Singer concluded.