European Jewish Congress
Daily Telegraph: France told to get grip on 'societal antisemitism' after robbers attack Jewish family near Paris
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Daily Telegraph: France told to get grip on 'societal antisemitism' after robbers attack Jewish family near Paris

France has been accused of failing to tackle "societal antisemitism" after a Jewish family was beaten, held hostage and robbed in their home near Paris because of their religion.

Three attackers burst into the house in the Paris suburb of Livry-Gargan late Thursday, cut off the electricity and confined three members of a Jewish family, beating them and threatening to kill them, until one of them managed to escape and alert the police, said antisemitism watchdog BNVCA.

It said the assailants told the three victims: "You are Jews, you have money. We take money from Jews to give to the poor."   

French interior minister Gérard Collomb promised a major effort to arrest those responsible "for this cowardly act (which) appears directly linked to the victims' religion".   

"Everything will be done to identify and arrest those who carried out this foul attack," he said in a statement.   

One of the victims was Roger Pinto, the 78-year-old head of Siona, an association "defending the Jewish people and the state of Israel," Mr Pinto's lawyer, Marc Bensimon, said.  

Mr Pinto was kicked several times in the head and throat, Bensimon said. The other two victims were Pinto's wife, who managed to sound the alarm, and Mr Pinto's son.

The assailants made off with jewellery, cash and credit cards, the attorney said.    

Police said they had opened a formal inquiry into illegal detention, theft and extortion with violence motivated by the religious affiliation of the victims.   

The BNVCA condemned what it called a "clearly antisemitic" crime.

Francis Kalifat, president of the CRIF umbrella grouping of French Jewish organisations, said "this horrible act is proof that Jews in France are particularly threatened in the street... and even in their homes."  

The attack took place just days after a former principal at a preparatory school for teenagers in Marseille said that he regularly advised Jews not to attend his institution for fear of harassment by other students.

The revelation, which made headlines in the French media, came in a newly published book co-authored by the retired principal, Bernard Ravet, and Emmanuel Davindenkoff, a Le Monde journalist.

Mr Ravet recalled one case in which he as the principal of a public school asked a counterpart from a private Jewish school in Marseille to accept an Israeli boy whose mother wanted to enrol him at Mr Ravet’s school. The then principal said he “knew the boy would get beat to a pulp” as soon as the other students realised he was an Israeli Jew.

The European Jewish Congress said: “Unfortunately, we see these two incidents, and many others, as intertwined, where parts of French society are becoming increasingly antisemitic on the one hand, and this hate towards Jews being accepted and tolerated by other parts."

“We call on French authorities to firmly root out societal antisemitism and its passive acceptance," said Dr Moshe Kantor, EJC president.

Click here to read the full article in Daily Telegraph

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
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