Two Jewish Communities in Southern France Menaced by Anonymous Death Threats
Two Jewish communities in southern France were targeted by menacing antisemitic threats this week, in separate incidents that are being investigated by French police.
On Wednesday, a handwritten letter containing threats of violence was delivered to the Jewish community in the town of Béziers, in the Haute-Languedoc region. Its writer derided Jews as a “sh**ty race,” echoing Nazi antisemitic rhetoric as he described them as “parasites” and the “cancer of humanity.”
The author stated that he was “very armed,” claiming to have already purchased two Kalashnikov semi-automatic rifles. He warned that he would attack the Béziers synagogue on an occasion when it was “full of vermin” in order to cause “more carnage than in the Bataclan” — a reference to the nightclub in Paris where 90 people were murdered by Islamist gunmen during a terrorist attack on Nov. 13, 2015.
The head of the Jewish community in Béziers, Maurice Abitbol, told local media outlets that he had received and reported antisemitic harassment in the past, but had never witnessed “such violent and explicit threats.”
A similarly threatening letter was received on Thursday by the Jewish community in La Grande Motte, a coastal town about 60 miles to the east of Béziers.
Sabine Atlan, the president of the town’s Jewish community, told news outlet France bleu that she had filed a complaint with the local police.
Robert Ménard — the Mayor of Béziers, who was directly threatened in the anonymous letter along with his family — urged the arrest and full prosecution of the as yet unidentified offender.
“In the current context, you never know what it can lead to,” Ménard said. “We must tell these people that it will end in court, that we will do everything possible to find and sanction them.”