Tag Archives: Marseille

Visibility must be a price worth paying as anti-Semitism continues to thrive in Europe

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When AntiSemitismWatch launched its groundbreaking survey on the experience of ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in the UK last year, it had a working premise. Namely, that their visibility would mean they were likely to have a markedly different experience in regards to anti-Semitism than the wider mainstream Jewish communities.

The results significantly bore out that theory, casting a huge shadow over the reliability of the published UK anti-Semitic hate crime figures.

Of all the respondents, 77% had witnessed or experienced anti-Semitism in the previous 12 months.

Of those, 49% had witnessed or experienced 3 or more anti-Semitic incidents (8% had witnessed or experienced 10 or more Anti-Semitic incidents in the previous 12 months).

images-3However, it would be wrong to leave the impression that vulnerability of visibility is an exclusive preserve of the ultra-Orthodox or the UK.

Just recently a Jewish student was denied a seat on a train in Berlin due to her Magen-David necklace.

Two women saw her, noticed her necklace, then put their bags on the empty seats next to them, to prevent her from sitting down.  They reaffirmed their actions through words of hate towards her.

Disgracefully, the other passengers studiously ignored what was going on and looked at the floor or window.

images-2The victim said she experiences such negative experiences whenever her Magen-David is visible, therefore,  usually choosing to hide it with a scarf.

On Wednesday we reported that Guy Muller of the Netherlands Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) explained the hazards of appearing externally Jewish in public: “If you walk around and are identifiable as a Jew, there is a higher chance that you will be attacked. We know that there are people who are attacked more than once each year.”

Famously, Zvi Ammar, the head of Marseille’s Israelite Consistory urged men to stop wearing their kippah after yet a further violent anti-Semitic attack on a Jew.

Mr Ammar called on Jews “not to wear the kippah in the street to avoid being identified as Jewish”.

“It is sad to find ourselves in this position in 2016, in a great democratic country like France,” he said.

images“But faced with an exceptional situation, we have to take exceptional measures. It causes me such pain to come to this conclusion but I do not want anyone to die in Marseille because they had a kippah on their head.”

This led to remarkable scenes of French politicians, so usually ardent in their advocacy of secularism, wearing kippot into the national parliament.

None of these are truly a surprise against the backdrop of the rocketing rates of European anti-Semitism.

Just to say it was revealed that 35% of Hungarians hold “high or moderate” anti-Semitic views.

The survey, which questioned 1,200 Hungarian citizens on their views toward Jews, was initiated by the Action and Protection Foundation, a Hungarian organization combating anti-Semitism in the country.

Twenty-three percent of respondents claimed to hold “extreme” anti-Semitic views towards Jews, while 12% claimed to hold “moderate” anti-Semitic views towards Jews. Shockingly, 31% said they do not wish to have Jewish neighbors.

Even in neighboring Poland there is a high level of anti-Semitism. A survey conducted by the National Institute for Public Opinion Research found that 37% of respondents said they “do not like Jews”.

Yet, despite all of this, does AntiSemitismWatch suggest hiding away our precious signs of our Judaism? Of course not!

Do not hide. Take sensible precautions, in the same way any community or individual should, and rally, campaign and argue the point, but never hide. When they have forced us into hiding, that is a victory, the first broken window.

It will only encourage more of the same actions. Instead, find wherever the hate is being preached and stand against it.

Stand strong our friends!

13 year old attacked on streets of Paris for wearing kippah

A young 13-year-old Jewish male was subjected to a violent anti-Semitic attack on the streets of Paris on Shabbat afternoon. The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA) released the announcement today and publicly condemned  the aggressors.

The boy was on his way to join his father at prayers in a synagogue on Voynet Street in Paris at around 6 p.m., when suddenly he was attacked by three youths all described as being of African origin.

They identified and targeted their victim, “Because he had his head covered with a yarmulke”, the statement read.

“After calling him a “dirty Jew” they struck him… He adds that while one of the attackers snatched the kippah, another took him by the hair and banged his head against a post.”

BNVCAThe attack was only prevented from being even worse because the attackers fled when passersby appeared. They did not come to his assistance though and the young man is reported to have been particularly traumatized because his cries for help were ignored.

The 13-year-old suffered bruises to his face, and aided by his father, he went to the police station where he filed a complaint and provided a description of the attackers.

BNVCA on Monday demanded the police to make every effort to track down the culprits.

In a reference to an earlier controversy triggered by Zvi Ammar, the head of Marseille’s Israelite Consistory, who urged men to stop wearing their kippah as an, “exceptional measure”, needed to protect Jewish lives, BNVCA reminded the Jewish public that they can be recognized in other ways aside from their kippot. They reiterated that people should not be intimidated into stopping their Jewish observance and instead should continue wearing the kippah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Anti-Semitic stabbing, Doctor says wearing kippah is a sign of loyalty to Israel!

French Jews have condemned a prominent doctor who said that the act of wearing a kippah is a sign of allegiance to the policies of the State of Israel.

Rony Brauman, former president of Doctors Without Borders
Rony Brauman, former president of Doctors Without Borders

Rony Brauman, a former president of Doctors Without Borders, made the statement last week during an interview on the Europe1 radio station about the January 11th stabbing of a devout Jew in Marseille, allegedly by a 15-year-old boy who told police he assaulted the victim as part of the jihad of the Islamic State terrorist group.

 “We have to wonder about the significance of wearing a kippah — not for that person,” Brauman said of the victim in Marseille, “as I have no reason to suspect him, but in society in general.” In addition to an affirmation of faith, Brauman said, wearing a kippah is “an affirmation of loyalty to the State of Israel, why not after all, but also, and this is much more problematic, a sign of a kind of allegiance to the policies of the state of Israel.”

According to the Tribune Juive daily, both CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, and French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia condemned this statement. André Mamou, the paper’s editor-in-chief, wrote in an op-ed that, “what made this left-wing physician venture so far into self-hatred is incomprehensible.”

And Yohann Taïeb, another Jewish journalist, filed a complaint against Brauman for alleged hate speech to France’s Superior Council for Audiovisual, or CSA.

After the stabbing, a Jewish community representative from Marseille called on Jews to remove their kippot for security reasons, though his call was squarely rejected by other community leaders. Korsia said recently that “removing the kippah today means removing the cross tomorrow.”

Last month, CRIF accused Doctors without Borders of glorifying Palestinian terrorism in an exhibition that featured a poster praising the killer of Jews in the West Bank.

Read more here.

Historic levels of immigration to Israel, fueled by European anti-Semitism?

Jews in Europe feel as threatened now in Europe as they did during World War II and the Holocaust, experts have said.

An exodus of western European Jews have flocked to Israel after rising anti-Semitic attacks reached an all-time high.

Almost 10,000 Jews from West Europe immigrated to Israel in 2015, the highest annual number ever.

Nearly 80 per cent of the migrants are from France, where attacks have left the world’s third-largest Jewish population rattled.

While Jews have been targeted in Belgium, Denmark and other European countries, France has has been the most dangerous for Jewish people.

Just this week, a machete-wielding teen attacked a Jewish teacher in the French town of Marseille, prompting a local Jewish authority to ask fellow Jews to refrain from wearing their traditional skull caps to stay safe.

There are increasing reports of assaults and intimidation against Jews by mostly from Muslim extremists.

France is still recovering from a series of attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that killed 130 people and mourned the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the same day a kosher grocery store was attacked, leaving 17 people dead.

In each case, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

France’s Jewish community of 500,000 people is the largest in Europe.

Jewish schools and synagogues are often surrounded by soldiers in combat fatigues who patrol the streets with automatic rifle.

Though Jews make up less than 1 percent of the population, French officials say more than 50 percent of all reported racist attacks in 2014 were directed against them.

While some attacks have been linked to anger at Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, most have been anti-Semitic in nature.

Close to 800 Jews have have left Britain for Israel and Italy and Belgium follow next on the list.

‘That a record number of European Jews feel that Europe is no longer their home should alarm European leaders and serve as a wake-up call for all who are concerned about the future of Europe,’ said Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.

‘At the same time, the fact that Israel has become the number one destination for European Jews seeking to build a better future elsewhere is a tribute to the appeal of life in Israel and the values the Jewish state represents,’ Sharansky added.

Follow the link to the original article here.

Jewish leader in France urges men to stop wearing the kippah

The main Jewish leader in the French city of Marseille has urged men to stop wearing their kippah after a further violent, anti-Semitic attack on a teacher.

Zvi Ammar, head of Marseille’s Israelite Consistory, said the “exceptional measure” was needed to protect Jewish lives. However, France’s Chief Rabbi urged Jews to keep covering their heads.

The teacher was stabbed by a boy who reportedly said he had done it for the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group. Monday’s machete attack left the teacher, Benjamin Amsellem, who was wearing a kippah at the time, with an injured shoulder and hand.

Speaking to La Provence newspaper (in French), Mr Ammar called on Jews “not to wear the kippah [skullcap] in the street to avoid being identified as Jewish”.

“It is sad to find ourselves in this position in 2016, in a great democratic country like France,” he said.

“But faced with an exceptional situation, we have to take exceptional measures. It causes me such pain to come to this conclusion but I do not want anyone to die in Marseille because they had a kippah on their head.”

Mr Ammar, the head of Marseille’s Israeli Consistory, the top Jewish governing body, said he knew his comments would anger some Jews, but “nothing is more important” than protecting human lives.

However, France’s Chief Rabbi, Haim Korsia, urged Jews in Marseille not to follow such advice. “We should not give in to anything, we will continue to wear the kippah,” he said, stressing that Jews and the skullcap were not responsible for the violence.

Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia.
Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia.

Monday’s attack was the third on Jews in recent months in Marseille, which has the third-largest urban population of Jews in Europe after Paris and London:

  • In November, a teacher at a Jewish school in Marseille was stabbed by three people who shouted anti-Semitic insults at him.
  • Three Jews were assaulted in the city in October, one with a knife near a synagogue, by a drunken assailant, AFP news agency reports
  • A 15-year-old Turkish Kurd was arrested after attacking Mr Amsellem, 35, in a Marseille street in broad daylight.

The teacher’s lawyer, Fabrice Labi, said his client had told him: “I had the feeling [the attacker] wanted to decapitate me.”

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve earlier called the latest attack a “revolting anti-Semitic aggression” while French President Francois Hollande later said such acts were “unspeakable and unjustifiable”.

The latest stabbing in Marseille came just days after France held memorial events for those killed in the Paris attacks last January.
Four Jewish shoppers were killed by an IS supporter at a kosher supermarket, shortly after the deadly assault on the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Since then, more than 700 synagogues, Jewish schools and community centres have been protected by police or soldiers.

Read the original article here.

Two Jewish teens attacked

Two Jewish teens in France were robbed and beaten after leaving their Marseille synagogue.

The teens were attacked on Tuesday by two assailants who they described as youth “of African origin,” according to the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA.

According to the victims, the assailants said, “Dirty Jews, we will exterminate all of you,” before they were robbed and beaten. The Jewish teens required medical attention.

One of the victims told BNVCA that he recognized the attackers.

The bureau called on police in the southern French city to “do everything possible to identify and question the attackers,” and for the assailants to be severely punished to act as a deterrent to future attacks.

“Jewish citizens have become increasingly vulnerable targets,” the BNVCA said in a statement. “This gives rise to insecurity, despite the significant steps taken by the government to try to protect its Jewish citizens, and their places of worship.

Link to original article here.