Europe

Jewish Teens Targeted by Anti-Semitic Attacks in France

Police in France are investigating two separate assaults on Jewish teenagers in the Paris area during the last week as possible hate crimes, The Algemeiner reported on Monday.

The first incident occurred last Tuesday in Sarcelles, a suburb of Paris with a sizable Jewish community. A young schoolgirl wearing the uniform of a Jewish school was attacked by an older man, who spoke Arabic and forcefully hit her in the back. The girl told police that the assailant pointed his finger at her and made gestures evocative of firing a gun.

Sarcelles made headlines in 2014, when a full-scale anti-Semitic riot took place in the neighborhood during which a 300-men-strong crowd of mainly Muslim youth looted Jewish-owned shops and attacked a synagogue in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

In a separate incident on Wednesday in the 19th district in north-eastern Paris, a young man wearing a yarmulke was assaulted by three youths at a bus stop, who were trying to steal a wallet and computer from his bag. After they identified him as a Jew by his head covering, the perpetrators shouted anti-Semitic insults and pushed him to the ground, punching and kicking him as he fell.

Separately, unidentified individuals wrote “Long live Palestine, Jews out” on a Paris synagogue in Les Lilas, an eastern suburb of Paris. French media also reported that anti-Semitic graffiti was found at the doors of the Rothschild Hospital in Paris, which accused the Rothschild family of seeking to privatize French public housing.

“Six million gassed is on your head,” the message continued, in a reference to the Nazi Holocaust. “The whole world is watching you now.”

Meanwhile, Pope Francis on Monday called for the eradication of anti-Semitism following an increase in attacks and hate crimes against Jews in several countries – including the worst ever massacre of Jews on U.S. soil in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which 11 worshippers were killed by a far-right gunman – and said it was vital to preserve the memory of the Holocaust.

“Without a living memory, there will be no future, for if the darkest pages of history do not teach us to avoid the same errors, human dignity will remain a dead letter,” the Pope said.

Stressing the importance of interfaith relations, Francis continued: “Sadly, antisemitic attitudes are also present in our own times. As I have often repeated, a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite, we share the same roots.”

[Photo: 4net / WikiCommons]