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Some 250 signatories demand national fight against rabid anti-Semitism in France

“We demand that the fight against this democratic failure that is anti-Semitism becomes a national cause before it’s too late. Before France is no longer France,” reads the manifesto co-signed by several politicians from the left and right.

Distressed teenagers walk away from the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, France, on March 19, 2012, where a man opened fire and killed a 30-year-old teacher and three young children, age 3, 6 and 10. Credit: EPA/MAXPPP/XAVIER DE FENOYL.
Distressed teenagers walk away from the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, France, on March 19, 2012, where a man opened fire and killed a 30-year-old teacher and three young children, age 3, 6 and 10. Credit: EPA/MAXPPP/XAVIER DE FENOYL.

More than 250 major French personalities, including politicians and actors, have signed a manifesto denouncing a “new anti-Semitism” in France marked by “Islamist radicalization” after a string of murders of Jews. The text was published on Sunday in several newspapers.

“We demand that the fight against this democratic failure that is anti-Semitism becomes a national cause before it’s too late. Before France is no longer France,” reads the manifesto, co-signed by several politicians from the left and right, including former President Nicolas Sarkozy, former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, and celebrities like actor Gerard Depardieu and singer Charles Aznavour.

The signatories condemn what they called a “quiet ethnic purging” driven by rising Islamist radicalism, particularly in working-class neighborhoods. They also accused the media of remaining silent on the matter.

The country’s 500,000-plus Jewish community is the largest in Europe but has seen a wave of immigration to Israel in the past two decades, partly due to the emergence of virulent anti-Semitism in predominantly immigrant neighborhoods.

“In our recent history, 11 Jews have been assassinated—and some tortured—by radical Islamists because they were Jewish,’’ they say.

“French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than their fellow Muslim citizens,” adds the manifesto.

It notes that some 50,000 Jews had been “forced to move because they were no longer in safety in certain cities and because their children could no longer go to school.”

The murders referenced include the barbaric killing of Ilan Halimi in 2006, as well as the deadly shooting of three young schoolchildren and a 30-year-old teacher at a Jewish school by Islamist gunman Mohammed Merah in the city of Toulouse in 2012.

Three years later, in 2015, an associate of the two brothers who massacred a group of cartoonists at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killed four people in a hostage-taking rampage at the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris.

In April 2017, a Jewish woman in her 60s, Sarah Halimi, was thrown out of the window of her Paris flat by a neighbor shouting Allahu Akhbar (“God is great”).

The latest attack to rock France took place last month, when two perpetrators stabbed 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll 11 times, before setting her body on fire.

Her brutal death sent shockwaves through France and prompted 30,000 people to join a march in her memory.

Condemning the “dreadful” killing, President Emmanuel Macron had reiterated his determination to fighting anti-Semitism.

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