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June 28, 2016 / 22 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘CRIF’

Nearly 1,000 French Jews Await Hollande Address on Anti-Semitism

Monday, March 7th, 2016

A crowd of nearly 1,000 is slated to attend the largest “Republican” Jewish event in France Monday night, where President Francois Hollande is to deliver remarks on anti-Semitism and French Jewry.

The country’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls and top government officials will also attend the 31st annual dinner of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France).

At least 800 people have reserved seats for the dinner, which takes place every year and is considered the event of the season.

Leaders of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) will also attend the event, which they shunned last year. “With the new head of CFCM Anwar Kbibech, we really feel things have changed,” CRIF President Roger Cukierman,79, told the European Jewish Press.

He noted that the gathering is a forum “where we can express our feelings and concerns.” As in the past, the rising level of anti-Semitism in France will be a main topic of discussion.

“Anti-Semitic acts continue, the 2015 figures are virtually at the same level as in 2014,” said Cukierman, who ends his third mandate in May.

This will be the 79-year-old leader’s last dinner as head of the CRIF.

“Once again, Jews, who represent less than 1% of the total population, are targets of40% of racist acts committed in France and 49% of racist violence to people,” the CRIF said in its annual report. Figures show there were 808 incidents in 2015, as compared with 851 incidents in 2014, according to the Security Department of the Jewish Community (SPCJ).

France is home to the world’s third largest Jewish community, with a population between 500,000 to 600,000 Jews.

In 2015, a record 7,900 French Jews emigrated to Israel following vicious anti-Semitic terrorist attacks in the country despite the Paris government’s 100-million euro plan to strengthen protection around 700 synagogues, schools and community centers.

Hana Levi Julian

French Jews Breathe Sigh of Relief over Le Pen’s Defeat

Monday, December 14th, 2015

CRIF, the umbrella representative body of Jewish organizations in France, welcomed the results of Sunday’s French regional runoff elections in which the extreme right Front National of Marine Le Pen failing to win any regional presidency.

CRIF had called on voters to block the party after it won the first round nationally and claimed victories in six of the country’s 13 regions, the European Jewish Press (EJP) reported Monday.

EJP quoted a CRIF statement:

CRIF welcomes with satisfaction the citizen’s reaction which blocked the road of regions to the Front National. The strong citizen mobilization around the Republican values should be for the government and the entire political class an opportunity to effectively address the causes of growth of extremes.

The center-right Republican party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy won more regional presidencies seats than the ruling Socialist party of President Francois Hollande.

The Socialists contributed to the defeat of the National Front by withdrawing from the election contest in the northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie and in the South’s Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, where Le Pen’s niece was on the ballot.

Instead of splitting the anti-Le Pen vote with Sarkozy’s party, all the votes went to the Republican candidate.

EJP noted, “The Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen has been several times convicted for racism and anti-Semitism. But her daughter Marine, who took over the party’s leadership, has distanced herself and the party from her father and his record.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

France Outlaws BDS Anti-Semitism

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

The highest court in France this week upheld the criminal conviction of 12 political activists for the crime of advocating sanctions and a boycott against Israel.

“BDS is illegal in France,” announced Pascal Markowicz, head attorney for CRIF, the umbrella organization for Jewish communities in France. Any actions to promote the movement, he added, “are completely illegal. If [BDS activists] say their freedom of expression has been violated, now the highest legal instance in France has ruled otherwise.”

The group was arrested for distributing anti-Israel material in a supermarket under the French law on Freedom of the Press.

Twelve activists wearing shirts that bore the words, “Long live Palestine, Boycott Israel” entered the store and began passing out flyers from the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement.

The flyers said: “buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.”

The law imposes a prison term and/or fine of up to $50,000 for those who “provoke discrimination, hatred or violence toward a person or group of people on grounds of their origin, their belonging or their not belonging to an ethnic group, a nation, a race or a certain religion.”

The court ruled that BDS is inherently discriminatory and thus outlawed its promotion.

Hana Levi Julian

French Jewish Leader Indicted for Calling Dieudonne ‘Professional Anti-Semite’

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Roger Cukierman, president of France’s largest Jewish group, was indicted for supposedly defaming the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala a “professional anti-Semite.”

Cukierman, who heads the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities and organizations, announced the indictment on Monday in a video that appeared on the CRIF website.

“So I am being indicted for having stated on Europe 1 that Dieudonne is a professional anti-Semite. Isn’t that funny? For once, Dieudonne is actually comical,” Cukierman said.

Dieudonne has 10 convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews, according to CRIF. He also invented the quenelle salute, which French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said was an inverted Nazi gesture of anti-Semitic hate, and the term “shoananas,” a mashup of the Hebrew word for the Holocaust and the French word for pineapple, which is used to suggest the genocide never happened without explicitly violating France’s laws against doing so.

Earlier this year, Valls, then interior minister, advised mayors to ban Dieudonne’s shows, leading to the show’s cancellation and replacement with another routine which featured less anti-Semitic material.

Indictments are “quasi-automatic” in France when police receive complaints of defamation, according to the L’Express news website.

Responding to the indictment, the National Bureau for Vigilance against Vigilance, or BNVCA, extended its support for Cukierman.

“No one in France knows anti-Semitism better than Roger Cukierman, who survived the Holocaust at the age of nine because nuns hid him while his family was deported to Auschwitz and gassed there,” the Drancy-based watchdog wrote in a statement Tuesday.

Dieudonne and the far-right Holocaust denier Alain Soral recently decided to form a political party, the news site Mediapart.fe reported Tuesday.

Last week, Dieudonne was indicted for fraud, money laundering and abuse of public funds, Le Monde reported. Researchers believe Dieudonne, who declared he had no money to pay fines he received for his hate speech, transferred more than $500,000 to Cameroon while he declared himself to be insolvent.

JTA

A Fearsome Test For French Jews

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

France has a rich Jewish history and a vibrant Jewish community of approximately 500,000 souls. At the same time, France is a country where anti-Semitism has deep, seemingly immutable roots. Modern Zionism evolved partly as a reaction to the Dreyfus trial at the end of the 19th century, while in the middle of the 20th approximately 90,000 Jews were murdered during the Nazi Holocaust.

In our own time, France has provided fertile ground for Holocaust deniers, known in local parlance as negationistes. During the last 10 years we have witnessed a horrifying hate crime involving the kidnapping and murder of a young Jew, Ilan Halimi; an Islamist terror attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse that claimed the lives of three children and a rabbi; and a burgeoning anti-Semitic social movement that takes as its symbol an inverted Nazi salute known as the “quenelle.”

Small wonder, then, that French Jewish leaders are continually asked whether their community has a future in the long term. Nonetheless, it is a question French Jewish leaders answer with patience and good grace, as I discovered when I met in New York with a delegation from CRIF, the representative body of French Jewry.

At the head of the delegation is Roger Cukierman, the elder statesman of French Jews who was first elected as CRIF’s president in 2001. Sitting in the offices of the World Jewish Congress, where he also serves as a vice president, Cukierman was candid about the profound problems the community faces, while emphasizing its extraordinary durability.

“There have been Jews in France for the last 2,000 years,” Cukierman said, listing the names of Rashi, the great 11th-century rabbi; Michel de Montaigne, the 16th-century Renaissance author; and Marcel Proust, the 20th-century novelist. Even as he acknowledged the many instances of anti-Semitic persecution through the ages, Cukierman noted simply and proudly, “We are still here. And we are not the only country where anti-Semitism is developing. It may develop in America also.”

Still, there is a genuine urgency about the situation in France. A recent survey of global anti-Semitism issued by Tel Aviv University reported 110 violent attacks on French Jews in 2013 – the highest single number for any country. More alarming is the fact that though Jews make up just one percent of the French population, they are the target of 40 percent of racist assaults in the country. It isn’t surprising, then, that David Tibi, a Jewish leader in Paris, recently declared, “We no longer have a place in France.”

Cukierman is insistent that Jews do have a place in France, adding that anti-Semitism emanates from three distinct sources, rather than being a general phenomenon. First, there is the far right, traditionally the home of Holocaust deniers and Vichy-era apologists. Second, there is the far left, whose aggressive promotion of the BDS campaign against Israel “affects the comfort of living in France for Jews,” Cukierman said. Third, there are the banlieues, run-down suburbs that are home to disaffected Muslim youths who are frequently the executors of violent anti-Semitic acts.

Any mention of the banlieuesinevitably leads to a discussion of Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the notorious comedian whose attempts at humor are often little more than crude Jew-baiting antics. It was Dieudonne who popularized the quenelle, the anti-Semitic gesture that became internationally known when it was performed by the French soccer star Nicholas Anelka, a friend of Dieudonne’s, during a match in England.

Among the numerous challenges in responding to Dieudonne is his appeal to young people in France, many of whom are attracted by his anti-establishment stance, his hatred of Israel, and his mockery of the Holocaust.

Ben Cohen

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.

JTA

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.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/le-pen-sr-bnai-brith-brokered-pact-against-me/2012/10/03/

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