Hadassah

Anti-Semitism in Europe

Thursday, Mar 5 2015

Hadassah Executive Director/CEO Janice Weinman reports on her recent chilling mission to Paris

There are over 500,000 Jews in France, the third highest number in the world. Since 2014 there has been a 101% increase in anti-Semitism in France and more than 850 anti-Semitic incidents. While the Jews constitute 1% of the total French population, they were the target of 51% of hate crimes in 2014.

But these statistics do not come close to reflecting the pain, the anxiety and the fear that the Jewish population experiences in France. My meetings with young and old, rich and poor, public officials and private citizens reflects a conviction that history might repeat itself. And, the community feels completely unprepared and unequipped to deal with that potential reality.

While the French government is trying to protect its citizens from unexpected verbal, physical or dangerous acts it is difficult to anticipate every possibility. While French law clearly provides a framework in which to punish hate crimes, once they are committed, a life can be lost, a person can be injured and a community can be terrorized.

The sense of impeding threats has stimulated a widely discussed and anticipated Aliyah to Israel. While this is a positive move, we cannot lose our presence in the diaspora because of fear. Immigration to Israel should be based on a desire for our homeland rather than a fleeing for refuge.

Hadassah has begun conversations with the State Department, the U.S. Commission to the U.N. and other organizations to address this issue. Let us hope that the collective efforts of these entities will successfully provide measures to reduce anti-Semitism’s current spread.

Comments

From: Kathy on April 14, 2015
I am proud of Hadassah for initiating conversations with the State Department, the U.S. Commiosion to the UN and other organizations on behalf of French Jews. It might also be appreciated if Hadassah opene up a channel to establish personal connections between US Haddassah members amd HadassahFrance members so they do not feel forgotten by the Jewish community outside of France.
From: Caryn on March 12, 2015
We are not wanted in Europe. France is just one place. Hungary is also telling us to die. We should not spend our money in a place that does not really want us. Go to New Zealand or stay in the U.S. The euro is down. Let them see what a Jewish boycott can do to further ruin their economies.
From: Gail on March 10, 2015
We are also going on a river cruise in the Bourdeaux region end of March. It is a bit unsettling...but if we stop living then they win. I will advise all of the atmosphere we encounter. I'm sure all will be well.
From: rita on March 8, 2015
Because I have planed for six months to go to Paris and thena river cruise, this article is very scary. I had put off goig to Paris for many years and now here it is. I will let you know when I get home early May how it wá
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