Shalom Life | August 06, 2015

French Pro-Palestinians Attack Paris Synagogues

The government of France has condemned the anti-Semitic violence that has plagued the country

By: Daniel Koren

Published: July 21st, 2014 in News » World

French Pro-Palestinians Attack Paris Synagogues

Over the weekend - after France had officially banned pro-Palestinian rallies in an attempt to stop the violence following last week's clash between Jewish and Palestinian protesters, which resulted in the latter group attacking two synagogues - thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who marched to protest Israel's offensive on Gaza clashed with police, despite the ban.

Reports indicate that some of the protesters threw stones and other sharp objects at police, who were forced to respond with tear gas to neutralize them. Demonstrators also set cars on fire and broke into stores.

Hundreds of riot police were in attendance Sunday as they attempted to calm the demonstrators who hung banners reading "Palestine Will Live and "Israel Assassins" in front of Montmartre's basilica.

According to CRIF, an umbrella group that represents France's Jewish community, a group of younger pro-Palestinian demonstrators separated themselves from the group, and attacked two synagogues in suburban Paris.

The rioters attacked a synagogue in the suburb of Sarcelles, which is home to a predominant Jewish community, says CRIF, while in nearby Garges les Gonesse, demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails into another synagogue, and also attacked a kosher butcher shop.

Anti-Semitic attacks are "growing by the day," states CRIF. “It is time to treat it as a ‘form of terrorist deviation and treat it as such."

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned this "new form of anti-Semitism" that was taking place in France, both online and in the streets. “France will not allow provocations to feed ... conflicts between communities,” he said.

President François Hollande reiterated Valls' sentiments. France “will tolerate no act, no words that could give rise to anti-Semitism,” he said.

However, these statements did not seem to deter Sunday's demonstrators from attacking Jewish institutions. CRIF reports that a large group of Jewish youth equipped themselves with iron bars and encircled the Sarcelles synagogue to "protect it," as police officers watched from above (in a helicopter) and on the sidelines.

Such demonstrations have continued to take place in France, home to Western Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish populations, as the war between Hamas and the IDF continues to wreak havoc, with many casualties reported on both sides.

France's interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has since condemned the anti-Semitic attacks on the Jewish places of worship.

"It is unacceptable to target synagogues or shops simply because they are managed by Jews," he said. "Nothing can justify anti-Semitism, noting can justify that kind of violence. This will be fought and sanctioned."

This isn't the first anti-Semitic incident to take place in France this year, where anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic attacks have grown over the last few years, prompting many of the country's Jewish residents to flee and make aliyah to Israel.

In fact, in the first three months of 2014 alone, more French Jews made aliyah than at any other time since the State of Israel was born in 1948.

Despite only banning pro-Palestinian rallies, France has insisted they are not operating under a bias and will make decisions on future rallies on a case-by-case basis.

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