Europe

French PM Vows to Fight Anti-Semitism

During a speech commemorating the Jewish year at Paris’s Buffault Synagogue on Monday, France’s prime minister called the ongoing anti-Semitism in France “a symptom of a democratic crisis.”

Édouard Philippe said that he would implement a new plan to fight anti-Semitism by means of “prevention, through education and culture” in the coming years and that he “conceived and developed” the plan “in close partnership with civil society and obviously [the Jewish community],” The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

Specifically, Philippe said that one of his goals was to fight online anti-Semitism that has “overrun social media.”

Referring to anti-Semitic violence in recent years including the abduction and killing of Ilan Halimi in 2006, the murder of a teacher and three students at the Ozar HaTorah school in Toulouse in 2012, the January 2015 attack on the Hyper Casher supermarket, and the murder earlier this year of Sarah Halimi, Philippe termed these examples of “the ultra-violence of Islamist terrorism and barbarism.”

“When someone attacks a French citizen because of his background or his beliefs,” Philippe said, “he attacks France and what it holds most precious: its way of life, its values, its heritage… And when you insult a French citizen for these reasons, you insult the memory of those who have given their life to ensure that these values prevail.”

Citing an “insufficient decrease” in the number of acts of anti-Semitism last year, the French prime minister observed, “This reality is the normalization of antisemitism, and its reinvented form, as President [Macron] said, anti-Zionism,” referring to a speech Macron made in July.

Philippe stated that 150,000 French citizens now live in Israel and acknowledged Israel as France’s “closest partner.” Philippe also brought attention to France-Israel Season, an event that will be held simultaneously next year in the two countries as a sign of cooperation.

“We hold onto this relationship, and we want to deepen it in all ways, economically and culturally,” the prime minister said addressing France’s Jewish community.

Philippe also said that he hoped to visit Israel next year some time after President Emmanuel Macron.

[Photo: France Inter / YouTube]