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Hundreds rally in Paris after rape of Jewish girl

“The government is on your side,” said France's justice minister, declaring: “To attack a Jew is to attack the Republic and France.”

"Twelve years old and already a victim of antisemitic hate," the placard reads at the protest in the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville ("City Hall Square") in Paris, June 19, 2024. Photo by Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images.
"Twelve years old and already a victim of antisemitic hate," the placard reads at the protest in the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville ("City Hall Square") in Paris, June 19, 2024. Photo by Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images.

Hundreds of people gathered in Paris on Wednesday to demonstrate against Jew-hatred in the wake of the antisemitic rape of a 12-year-old girl that shocked the country over the weekend, local media reported.

The rally in the French capital was organized by Collectif Nous Vivrons (“We Will Live Collective”), which was founded following Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre in Israel and the ensuing wave of antisemitism in Europe.

“This antisemitic rape is a continuation of a climate hostile to Jews, fueled in particular by irresponsible political declarations,” the NGO said ahead of the protest at city hall, which was called at short notice.

Participants included representatives from Jewish organizations in Paris and nationwide, as well as current and former government officials, most notably Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti.

“The government is on your side,” stated Dupond-Moretti in his speech, declaring: “To attack a Jew is to attack the Republic and France.”

Attendees also held signs reading, “Raped at 12 because she was Jewish” and “Antisemitism is not residual,” according to French media reports.

A protest in Lyon, France’s third-largest city, drew approximately a hundred people. Activists held signs reading, “Jew raped, Republic in danger,” as well as banners that blamed the far-left La France Insoumise Party for the rise in Jew-hatred, and sang the country’s national anthem.

Saturday’s rape of a 12-year-old Jewish girl in a Paris suburb has drawn condemnation from across France’s political spectrum amid a heated campaign ahead of snap parliamentary elections later this month.

Three minors were arrested for their part in the assault, during which they allegedly forced the girl to perform vaginal, anal and oral sex, called her a “dirty Jew” and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

France is home to the largest Muslim population in Europe and has seen a surge in antisemitic acts since the Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7. Antisemitic acts have tripled in the first months of 2024 compared to the same period last year, France 24 reported, citing official numbers.

At a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron “spoke solemnly and seriously about the scourge of antisemitism” and called for “dialogue” on racism and hatred of Jews to stop “hateful speech with serious consequences” from “infiltrating” schools.

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