web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘SPCJ’

Against Anti-Semitism, Self-Defense Is No Offense

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The debate about whether Jews have a future in Europe once again surfaced as Israel’s Operation Protective Edge gained momentum in response to Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza.

The two issues are connected for a simple reason: on July 13, a large number of pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Paris decided to attack a synagogue in the French capital, thereby demonstrating that these days, aspiring pogromists are more likely to wear a Palestinian keffiyeh than a swastika armband.

I had originally intended to write about whether Europe’s Jews should stay where they are or make aliyah to Israel. But while I was sifting through the various news articles concerning the attack in Paris, I came across an alternative version of that episode that changed my focus.

In this tendentious narrative, the violence was in fact provoked by Jewish extremists on the scene. According to one left-wing, anti-Israel website, the French branch of the Jewish Defense League and its allies initiated the clashes “in support of Israel’s ongoing bombing campaign that has thus far claimed the lives of almost 200 Palestinians.”

London’s Daily Mail, meanwhile, harrumphed at the spectacle of “a group of 150 Jewish men… brandishing iron bars and cans of pepper spray as they clashed with pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Paris.”

What isn’t in doubt is that a mob of violent anti-Semites tried to storm the Don Isaac Abravanel synagogue in central Paris. Equally, there is no doubt that a group of brave young Jews associated with Betar, the Jewish Defense League, and the SPCJ, the official defense arm of the French Jewish community, repelled the attempted pogrom through a show of physical force.

Hence, there is a question that is more pressing than whether Jews should leave Europe, and it’s this one: Should we take more responsibility for the physical defense of our community and its property, even if that means we land on the wrong side of the law?

There are many reasons why we should avoid such an outcome, some of them credible, others less so. Groups like the SPCJ in France and the Community Security Trust in Britain have done a tremendous job of enhancing security at Jewish institutions, working closely with local authorities in the process. Why, then, take actions that risk those relationships? Surely, in democratic societies, we resolve our differences through politics, and we let the police take care of law and order?

Then there’s the fact that Jewish communities, and particularly their leaders, tend to take a conservative approach. Especially in America, Jewish advocacy revolves around gala fundraising dinners, conferences, and photo opportunities with foreign leaders. Throwing tables, chairs, kicks, and punches at anti-Semitic thugs isn’t quite our style.

Now, all those considerations are sound ones. But what happens when you have demonstrators chanting in Arabic, as they did in Paris, “Itbah al Yahud” – “Death to the Jews”?

How do we respond when some politicians, as was the case in France, warned that we should expect such attacks if we turn our synagogues into adjuncts of the state of Israel?

In those circumstances, I think, we have to fight back. We shouldn’t provoke violence, but we should be ready to defend ourselves against attacks, particularly when the police fail to do their job.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t the first time Jews have faced this sort of dilemma. In the late 1940s, in London’s East End, the British Union of Fascists returned to the streets, harassing Jewish businesses and beating up Jews, frequently citing the conflict between the authorities in the British Mandate of Palestine and the Zionist Yishuvas justification.

At a meeting of 43 Jews in the area, who later became known as the “43 Group,” it was decided that enough was enough. The result wasn’t pretty.

Man Arrested for Death Threat against Toulouse Jewish school

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

A man who claimed to be the cousin of Mohammed Merah was arrested for allegedly making a threatening phone call to the French Jewish school where Merah killed four.

French police arrested a 20-year-old French national of Moroccan origin, Reuters reported, over the weekend near Vesoul, a city in eastern France near Strasbourg. The man, who was not named, will be arraigned Monday.

According to SPCJ, the French Jewish community’s security service, the man called the Ohr Hatorah school in Toulouse on Sept. 16 and told a secretary, “I am Mohammed Merah’s cousin and I’m coming over tonight to kill you.”

Merah in March 2012 gunned down a rabbi and three children at the school, which changed its name from Ozar Hatorah after the attack.

According to Reuters, the suspect was living with his mother. The report did not say whether he is in fact related to Merah, who was killed in a standoff with police days three days the shooting.

SPCJ said police have arrested several callers who threatened violence against the school following the shooting.

French police believe Merah planned the shooting with his older brother, Abelkader, who is in prison awaiting trial.

Jewish Man Knocked Unconscious in Paris Metro

Monday, October 15th, 2012

A Jewish man was attacked and rendered unconscious in a Paris metro, a local watchdog reported.

The 52-year-old victim entered the subway directly from his synagogue but wore no markings that would identify him as Jewish, according to a report on the late September incident by the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, a nonprofit watchdog organization. The incident occurred on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.

He may have been targeted because of a Jewish philosophy book by the chief rabbi of Paris that he was reading in the metro when he was attacked, the report said.

The attackers, who are unknown, knocked the man unconscious with a sharp blow to his temple and did not steal anything from him as he lay unconscious on the subway floor. He sustained minor injuries.

A female passenger found the man lying on the floor and moved him out of the vehicle at Miromesnil station, near Champs-Elysees.

“It is clear from the pattern of incidents we are seeing that this was in all likelihood an anti-Semitic attack,” BNVCA President Sammy Ghozlan told JTA.

Last week, the security unit of France’s Jewish community, SPCJ, reported a 45 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents during the first eight months of 2012 in comparison with their 2011 level of 266 incidents. SPCJ also reported three separate attacks that occurred during the High Holidays.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-man-knocked-unconscious-in-paris-metro/2012/10/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: