In Emotional Appeal to Christians, French Archbishop Compares Antisemitism to ‘Pollution’
The Catholic archbishop of the French city of Strasbourg has issued an emotional appeal to his fellow Christians to confront rising antisemitism, which he compared to the environmental crisis facing the Earth.
“Silence supports [those who commit antisemitic offenses], indifference feeds them,” Bishop Luc Ravel said in his message on Friday.
Ravel was moved to speak out by the recent assault in Strasbourg on Raphael Nisand, a Jewish graphic artist. Nisand was accosted by two people who showered him with antisemitic abuse while he was working on a project commissioned by the City Council.
During the incident on Aug. 27, the two individuals verbally insulted and jostled Nisand after they noticed him wearing a t-shirt that displayed the names of several countries and cities, including Israel.
One of the assailants aggressively told Nisand, “You are a Jew, you have no place here,” before ordering the frightened artist to change his shirt ‐‐ which he duly did.
But when he returned later to complete his work, Nisand was confronted again by the same man, who grabbed one of his paint canisters and sprayed offensive slogans on the ground, including, “Forbidden to Jews,” “Bitch,” and, “You can believe in Christ and the Prophet but not the Jews.”
Archbishop Ravel described Nisand’s experience as “terrifying.”
He added that “a great concern is born in my heart in the face of the repetition of such acts, and the lack of conscience in those who do not oppose them.”
Continued Ravel: “Their silence supports them, their indifference feeds them.”
The archbishop argued that the fight against antisemitism should engage Christians with the same intensity as the campaign to save the environment.
“The human heart is no less affected by these acts than the Earth is by pollution,” Ravel said. “The freezing of consciences carries as many risks as global warming. We need to fight these two aberrations simultaneously.”