Senior French, U.S. Officials Address AJC Memorial Ceremony for French Terror Victims

Jan 12, 2015, 19:42 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Jan. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre, and Consul General of France in New York Bertrand Lortholary addressed a crowd of more than 150 people gathered at AJC today to remember the 17 victims of the recent Islamist terror attacks in Paris.

The event, which was moderated by Rene-Pierre Azria, Chair of AJC Paris, was also attended by diplomats from ten other countries: Argentina, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. Several religious leaders from the Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also attended the service.

Ambassador Power, speaking powerfully on behalf of the Obama Administration, told those gathered: "Anti-Semitism isn't just a threat to the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism is a threat to everything Europe stands for. It cannot be left to Jewish organizations and the Jewish people to fight this scourge alone."

Echoing that sentiment and underscoring his long-time friendship with the Jewish community, Ambassador Delattre commented that: "The fight against anti-Semitism is an existential threat to all of us."

And Consul General Lortholary, in a heartfelt address, stated: "Jews in Paris were murdered simply because they were Jews."

"We must be clear about the challenges that are ahead of us. We cannot fight transnational threats nationally. We must fight them together. The stakes could not be higher," AJC Executive Director David Harris told the audience. "It is high time that we, as democratic societies, stand up resolutely to the threat posed by those who loudly invoke their Islamic faith and teachings to justify their heinous deeds."

Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC's director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, led the audience in reciting a psalm and the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning.

The audience was also addressed, via live video, by AJC Paris Director Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, who has appeared on CNN, Fox, BBC, and many other international media outlets in the past few days. Rodan-Benzaquen stated: "President Francois Hollande is determined to confront the issue of anti-Semitism. We hope to transform this terrible event into something good."

SOURCE American Jewish Committee