Hollande, Netanyahu Address Toulouse Memorial Service; AJC Paris Rep Attends

Nov 01, 2012, 16:47 ET from American Jewish Committee

PARIS, Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Jewish Committee (AJC) lauded French President Francois Hollande and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for their moving remarks at the memorial service in Toulouse commemorating the victims of the terrorist attack last March. The lone Islamist gunman opened fire at the Jewish school Ohr Torah, leaving three children -- Arieh and Gabriel Sandler and Myriam Monsonego -- and one teacher, Jonathan Sandler, dead.

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AJC Paris Director Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, who had been invited as one of the few Jewish representatives to attend today's ceremony, said, "The joint visit by President Hollande and Prime Minister Netanyahu is a strong message of unity against the menace of anti-Semitism that threatens not only Jews but also the rest of humanity."

President Hollande vowed that France would battle relentlessly against all forms of anti-Semitism in order to protect Jews living in France. "We are here because a terrorist committed a cowardly and barbaric act," said Hollande. "We will fight anti-Semitism, not only the acts but also the words. The aim of the French Republic is that Jewish schools don't need to be protected anymore."

Turning to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who visited with the French president yesterday at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Hollande declared: "We are standing side by side because our two people express their solidarity in pain and suffering." 

In his Toulouse ceremony remarks, Netanyahu cautioned that "anti-Semitism very quickly becomes a fire that spreads everywhere and consumes everything."

"Anyone who does not respect the human rights of Jews will not respect the human rights of other people," said Netanyahu. "In the dark days of Nazism most European governments did not lift a finger against the madness of anti-Semitism. But today I am here with my friend Francois Hollande, who speaks clearly and resolutely against this folly, and fights against it."

SOURCE American Jewish Committee