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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘CRIF’

Star French Athlete Probed for Antisemitic Gesture

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

A star athlete from France is facing disciplinary action for showing support for an antisemitic comedian whose shows may soon be banned by the French government.

Britain’s Football Association said Saturday it was considering punishing Nicolas Anelka, a French national playing for the West Bromwich Albion soccer team, for performing, during a match, the quenelle – a quasi-Nazi salute which representatives of France’s Jewish community have termed antisemitic.

Following an outcry, the 34-year-old athlete said on Twitter: “This gesture was just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonne,” a reference to the comedian who invented and is promoting the gesture, which is believed to both mock and circumvent France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols with intention of causing offense.

But a spokesman for the association told the British tabloid The Daily Mirror that the organization would be launching a probe into the actions of Anelka, who was filmed placing his outstretched left palm on his right shoulder after striking the first of two goals during the match.

The decision came after the French Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron called Anelka’s gesture “a shocking provocation, disgusting.” She added: “There’s no place for anti-Semitism and incitement to hatred on the football field.”

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said in a statement: “We expect that the English Premier League officials as well as the police will give Anelka the appropriate punishment.”

The discussion about Anelka comes one day after France’s interior minister, Manuel Valls, declared that his ministry would look into banning all public performances by Dieudonne, the inventor of the quenelle.

“Despite his conviction for defamation, causing offense and inciting racial hatred and discrimination, Dieudonne M’bala M’bala doesn’t seem to recognize any limits any more,” Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement Friday announcing the legal review aimed at banning his public appearances.

On Saturday, some 200 of Dieudonne’s supporters protested against Valls’ plans, according to the news site JSSnews.com.

Dieudonne, who also invented the word “Shoananas” – a code for suggesting the Holocaust is a myth without breaking France’s laws against denying the genocide, is scheduled to perform in Bordeaux on Jan. 26.

Dieudonne has been convicted several times for inciting racial hatred against Jews in films, shows and articles.

Le Pen Sr.: B’nai B’rith Brokered ‘Pact’ against Me

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen said that B’nai B’rith had signed a “pact” with other politicians to keep him out of the government.

“The leaders of the soft right signed a pact in which they vowed never to unite with Front National,” Le Pen, who founded the National Front party 40 years ago, said this week in an interview for the weekly Minute.

“It is said that it was B’nai B’rith, a sort of Jewish Freemasonry group, that imposed this clause,” Le Pen related.

Le Pen, who is the honorary president of the National Front, now headed by his daughter, Marine Le Pen, added that former French President Jacques Chirac of the center-right UMP party signed the pact.

“Furthermore, I think that certain representatives of the RPR took pride in that pact, which was notably signed by the abominable Chirac,” said Le Pen, 84.

Founded in 1976, RPR dissolved into UMP in 2002.

On its website, B’nai B’rith International says it is the Global Voice of the Jewish Community, the most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights, and advocacy organization. B’nai B’rith works for Jewish unity, security, and continuity and fights anti-Semitism and intolerance around the world since 1843.

The president of B’nai B’rith France denied the existence of any pact involving B’nai B’rith and Front National.

Dr. Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF, the umbrella group representing French Jewish communities, called Le Pen’s theory the result of “senility or obsessive anti-Semitism, and probably of both.”

In a statement posted on the CRIF website, Prasquier added that “The tendency to see conspiracies is a characteristic of anti-Semites and unfortunately this is the case with Mr. Le Pen.”

He also called on Marine Le Pen to remove her father as honorary president of the party, currently the third largest in France.

4 Injured in Kosher Market Explosion at Paris Suburb

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

A Jewish supermarket in a racially mixed suburb in north Paris was bombed on Wednesday and four people were injured, Police said.

The Sipa news agency reported that a small explosion was set off by two black-hooded persons who entered the Sarcelles’ branch of the Naouri kosher supermarket chain around midday and put a package inside, citing an unnamed police official and a Jewish organization.

The two fled after throwing a rock through the shop’s window just before the explosion, police said.

“There was an attack inside a kosher supermarket in Sarcelles at lunchtime by two persons dressed in black who lobbed a device,” said Richard Prasquier, head of France’s main Jewish council CRIF.

According to AFP, so far there has been no confirmation that the attack was connected to the anti-Muslim film “Innocence of Muslims” which has been driving mobs of Muslim rioters against Western targets in Arab countries.

On Wednesday, a satirical French weekly published naked cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

According to Moshe Cohen-Sabban, a local Jewish community leader, it was “a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the shop.”

“Many people were going there to stock up for Yom Kippur which falls next Wednesday,” he said, referring, of course, to the meal before the day of fasting.

Cohen-Sabban said there was no exceptional religious tension in Sarcelles, which is a working-class area with a population of about 60 000 including many Muslims and Jews.

French Rabbi Receives Threat to ‘Punish’ Jews for Complaining

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

The chief rabbi of Lyon, Richard Wertenschlag, has received a letter threatening to “punish a Jew for every complaint the Jews make on TV.”

The threat came in a two-page letter delivered to Wertenschlag on Aug. 10. It contained two photos of a concentration camp, according to Dr. Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, CRIF.

Wertenschlag, who reported the letter to the authorities, opened the letter on Aug. 12, according to CRIF.

The authors of the “small, dense handwritten text” signed with the words “the righteous network.”

They added, “Every time you go on television to complain, a Jew – man, woman, child or family – will be punished.” Further down, the authors wrote: “See you soon at a synagogue, which has already been chosen.”

Wertenschlag called the letter “the expression of anti-Semitic rage and unimaginable hate.”

He said he had received an earlier hate letter in April, which was both “anti-Semitic and anti-Arab,” but decided not to go to police at the time.

Last month French police arrested two youths in Lyon for allegedly attacking a 17-year-old Jewish boy.

The boy is a student at Ozar Hatorah, a Jewish school in Toulouse where, on March 19, a Muslim extremist murdered three children and a rabbi.

French Ozar Hatorah Student Attacked Violently

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

A 17 year-old student from the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, where gunman Mohammed Merah murdered three children and an administrator last March, was attacked violently on a train Wednesday night in Lyon, according to the French Interior Ministry.

AFP reported that the victim, who wore “identifiable religious symbols,” was first subjected to verbal insults on the train, according to the official announcement, and “was then attacked in the platform toilets by two individuals who beat him up.”

The attack was interrupted by a passenger and a train controller.

The student immediately registered a complaint with the Lyon authorities and “identities of both perpetrators are now known thanks to the actions of the railroad police,” according to the Interior Ministry’s statement, that also promised to continue “fighting the resurgence of the evil  of anti-Semitism,” which signifies “a slight to the history and values of the French Republic.”.

A source close to the investigation in Lyon told AFP that neither of the accused had been summoned for questioning on Thursday morning, after having been caught by the train’s controller.

After filing the complaint, the Jewish youth went on to his family’s home in Lyon.

With the initial stage of the investigation completed, it appears that the victim was beaten up after the two suspects noticed a religious chain around his neck, according to details released by the Interior Ministry, which added that “such acts of extreme violence are unacceptable.”

CRIF, the umbrella representative group of French Jewry, released a statement saying that the latest attack on a young Jewish student “is another development in the worrying trend of anti-Semitism in our country.”

“The number of incidents is continuing to increase, the violence of the acts likewise, as if the murders committed by Mohamed Merad had released the impulse to act,” CRIF said.

It added that it is especially incendiary to speak of “intercommunal conflicts” when discussing these incidents.

“It is always identifiable Jews who are the victims of these attacks. To combat anti-Semitism in France, you have to call it by its proper name and acknowledge the factors that increase it. And we have to make its eradication a national political cause.”

The CRIF hopes that the perpetrators will be subjected to appropriate punishment.

Gaza Question in Paris University Medical Exam Stirs Controversy, Investigation

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Vincent Berger, president of Diderot University in Paris, is investigating a question “of a polemic nature” which was posed to students of the Bichat Hospital Faculty of Medicine, Agence France Presse reported.

CRIF, , responded with “indignance” in a public statement on Thursday to the “scandalous” question relating to the bombing of civilians in Gaza, which it claimed constituted “incitement against Israel”.

According to the umbrella organization of French Jewry CRIF, as corroborated by a report by the National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism, Diderot’s Professor Christophe Oberlin posed to the students of humane medicine the question, referring to the deaths of 22 members of the same family in a “classic bombing” during the Gaza conflict of 2008-2009.

“To what extent does it constitute a perpetual crime (war crime, crime against humanity, genocide crime)?” Oberlin asked, according to reports.

Diderot University President Berger expressed his “consternation” at the professor’s choice to include this question “in the context of a non-compulsory medical exam.”

“It implies a regrettable polemic attitude which contravenes the neutral and secular nature of higher education,” Berger’s statement continued.

Berger recalled that the independent principles of the founding educators, enshrined in the French constitution, don’t allow for the abuse of the fundamental values of public service.

“As it stands, this question constitutes an absolute incitement to hate Israel,” stressed Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF. “It has no place in medical education, much less in a university, and amounts to a violation of the neutrality [demanded of] professor Oberlin.”

“We would like to remind Mr Oberlin that he doesn’t have a right to use the university to espouse a selective agenda,” added Prasquier.

Meanwhile, the Union of Jewish Students in France (UEJF) claimed the professor had “encouraged the students to adopt condemnatory positions” in posing the question to them.

“In the eyes of the UEJF, Professor Oberlin abused his position of authority, in his role as exam moderator, by not allowing students to publicly express their disagreement with this misleading ideological statement,” the organization declared in a statement.
UEJF president Jonathan Hayou demanded the University summon the professor to explain his actions.

French Jewry Leader: Hollande Victory a Boost to Anti-Israel Front

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Following his victory Sunday, the 57-year-old François Hollande shouted himself hoarse, as he had done so often during the campaign, thanking his supporters for electing him president and promising to unite the whole country. “On this May 6, the French have just chosen change in bearing me to the office of president,” he declared before a wildly cheering crowd in his hometown of Tulle, in the rural Correze region.

Richard Prasquier, President of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), the umbrella group of Jewish-French organizations, expressed concerns that one of the changes the Hollande presidency brings is a boost to the anti-Israel left.

Left-wing candidate Hollande has defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday’s runoff election, becoming the first Socialist to win a French presidential election since François Mitterrand in 1988.

Tens of thousands of people descended on the Place de la Bastille in Paris Sunday night, to celebrate the Socialist candidate’s victory.

Hollande has promised bigger government spending and a 75% income tax on the rich. He also wants to renegotiate a European treaty on budget cuts, to avoid any more Greek style debt crises.

In his victory speech at the Bastille Hollande vowed to move away from the “fatalist” concept that austerity was the only way to solve the debt crisis. He offered instead increased productivity as the direction for France’s economy.

France’s Interior Ministry said the left-wing candidate had claimed around 51.7% of the runoff vote to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy’s 48.3%, with turnout at 81%. Sarkozy, the center-right candidate, was considered the favored candidate among French Jews.

Sarkozy conceded, saying, “Francois Hollande is the president of the republic; he must be respected.”

Sarkozy is the ninth European leader to be ousted since the start of the continent’s debt crisis.

Speaking to reporters Monday  before a meeting at the French Consulate in New York, CRIF President Prasquier said, “We know that some of the parties who are supposed to be partners of the coalition in favor of François Hollande are not friends of Israel. The part they will play we will see.”

Hollande won the backing of centrist François Bayrou, who took nine percent in the first round, and Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon of the Left Front, who took 11 percent.

But Prasquier also said that both Hollande and Sarkozy are friends of Israel and share the same views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But, he added, Hollande is untested when it comes to Iran, and there are closer ties between the Socialist Party and the anti-Israel far left than there are between Sarkozy’s party and the xenophobic far right represented by Marine Le Pen’s National Front.

The problem, Prasquier said, is not with Hollande or the people close to him, but with the adamantly anti-Israel parties that are supporting him.

“I do not expect the far left would be given the position of foreign minister,” he said, “but if they have more visibility there might be an increase in demonstrations against Israel in the public society — BDS and so on — and we will have to face them. But we will have to face the demonstrations, not the government.”

Prasquier said he was not happy about the strong showing by Le Pen, but he does not believe that her support is comprised wholly of anti-Semites. Rather, he said, “the new category of Jew-bashing comes from those who present themselves as being anti-Zionists” – namely, the far left.

“Those people who stigmatize, who vilify on the very precise and unique way the State of Israel instead of stigmatizing the other countries,” he said, are showing “behavior very similar to the behavior used in the past to pinpoint Jews as responsible for everything.”

Prasquier said he does not believe France is an anti-Semitic country. He said the way to prevent attacks like the shooting in March at the Jewish school in Toulouse is to increase security.

“I do not see any possibility of preventing another action of this kind without increasing the level of security,” Prasquier said. “It’s not a question of reaching out. We are trying to reach out as much as possible to the Muslim community. We should not mix up the Muslim community with the awful deeds of this murderer.”

Hollande will be sworn in on May 15. The French parliamentary election will be held over two rounds on June 10 and June 17.

JTA reports were included in this article.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/french-jewry-leader-hollande-victory-a-boost-to-anti-israel-front/2012/05/07/

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