Sunday, February 22, 2015

France: Jews have come to accept the reality of hate crimes against them says Chief Rabbi

Jerusalem Post

The Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, said Thursday that the January Paris attacks were a turning point in acknowledging the growing specter of anti-Semitism in the country.  Rabbi Korsia made this remark while on a trip to New York City. He was speaking at the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan, where he was welcomed by Jewish community leaders and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. [...]

His speech addressed the January terrorist attack against France's Jewish community and the growing incidents of anti-Semitism spreading across Europe. He outlined the climate that French Jews are living in in the aftermath of the January attacks, emphasizing how the threat had impacted the normal day-to-day life of the French Jewish community.

"For too long I witnessed a sense of indifference in French civil society to anti-Semitic and racist crimes. In wake of terrorist assault on Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher supermarket, the entire society finally rose to say -- "No" to the terrorist, "No" to muzzling freedom of speech and freedom of the press. I am of the view that if Charlie Hebdo as such had not happened, I'm not sure that so many people would march in the street," Rabbi Korsia said. [...]

Rabbi Korsia acknowledged the additional security measures taken by French authorities to protect Jewish institutions. He also underlined that France should not differentiate between small and big crimes against Jews or any other community. [...]

He was asked by a reporter for his reaction to US President Barack Obama's earlier comment describing the January attack on Jews at the Paris grocery store as a "random shooting"

"It's very hard to listen that "random shooting" -- it means that they don't want to kill Jews. We know that they want to kill Jews. Not because we feel like it, but because the police say that. And sometime world don't say exactly what we think," he answered.

In an interview with Reuters, Rabbi Korsia said that French Jews had come to accept the reality of hate crimes against them in France. But he emphasized that such fears should not be allowed to become ordinary and mundane and that anti-Semitism must be countered boldly. [...]

When asked what he thought of Netanyahu's renewed call to European Jews to immigrate to Israel, Rabbi Korsia expressed the hope that French Jews would leave their country out of choice, not compulsion.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu plays his role and that's his role, and he fulfills it. The thing is when you make a choice, whether it's for philosophical, religious or other reasons, it must always be and remain a free choice. And that's an important thing. So when you leave a country at this point, it would mean for the French Jews to be leaving a country that they're happy to live in because they love the French society," he told Reuters. More.

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