AJC Dismayed by Latest Violent Attack Against a French Jew

Mar 23, 2014, 13:13 ET from American Jewish Committee

PARIS, March 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is appalled by the violent assault on a Jewish teacher in Paris. The man, who was wearing a kippah, was brutally beaten after he left a kosher restaurant on Thursday evening. The assailants broke his nose, drew a swastika on his chest and reportedly shouted anti-Semitic epithets in French and Arabic.

"We pray for the recovery of the teacher, who clearly was targeted because he is a Jew," said Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, director of AJC France.

The attack occurred the day after France commemorated the second anniversary of the terrorist murder of four Jews, including three children, in Toulouse. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Interior Minister Manuel Valls powerfully reaffirmed the government's determination to combat anti-Semitism in France, which has posed serious challenges for French society.

A European Union survey of Jews in eight countries, released last year, found that 60 percent of French Jews are worried they may become victims of physical attacks. A majority avoids wearing, carrying or displaying things in public that would identify them as Jews. And as many as 46 percent have considered emigrating because of the unfolding situation.

"We are confident that French authorities will fully investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of the horrendous attack on the Paris teacher," said Rodan-Benzaquen. "But there is also a larger and longer-term challenge: Taking concerted action to address the roots of anti-Semitism and prevent this vicious cancer from growing in France. This must be a government priority, ever mindful that anti-Semitism poses a threat both to the largest Jewish community in Europe and to the very fabric and fiber of France's laudable democratic values."

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SOURCE American Jewish Committee