French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe condemned in the National Assembly a “new form of violent and coarse anti-Semitism” two days after killing a child with a knife in a suburb of Paris. According to the Jewish community in France, similar phenomena have grown in recent weeks.
According to the prosecutor’s report, the eight-year-old child was beaten by two young men on Monday afternoon, and he hit the street in Sarcelle when he was on a separate hour. The attackers around the age of 15 did not say anything wrong, they did not steal anything from the child, which was clearly visible. The prosecution explained the case with anti-Semitic motive. A small boy with a family in the synagogue told me that several adults had witnessed the abuse, but no one intervened.
The French Prime Minister said in the National Assembly Wednesday afternoon that the government is determined and prepares a new program to combat anti-Semitism.
“In the fight against racism and anti-Semitism, things must be called boldly. There is a need to name and acknowledge courage, yes, there is a new form of violent and harsh anti-Semitism that is expressed more and more openly in our country,” said the Head of Government, in the lower house.
“We can not accept that French people are French because of their religious beliefs, we can not accept that an eight-year-old child be abused for external signs that indicate their religious affiliation,” he added.
Edouard Philippe, who consulted with the Jewish community in Sarcelle before his speech, confirmed that the government will launch a new inter-ministerial program on anti-racism and anti-Semitism within a few weeks, which will be “broad and ambitious.”
The head of government also indicated that a victim will now be able to qualify the motive for the attack on the British model, in order to better “identify” the anti-Semitic attacks. In France, this is not possible at this time, only the prosecution can determine in case of an abuse that it is based on racist or anti-Semitic motivation.
Emmanuel Macron also condemned the attack, and he said on Twitter: “When a citizen is abused because of his age, affiliation or religion, the whole republic is being abused.”
Marine Le Pen, leader of the radical right-wing National Front, called for concrete measures against radical anti-Semitism expressed by radical Islam, while Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the radical left-wing Rebel leader France, said “it is fussy for a child to be abused.”
On January 10, in the same northern suburbs of the French capital, also called the Little Jerusalem, where predominantly Sephardic Jews from North African countries live, a Jewish girl was struck by a hooded assailant. According to the local Jewish community, an anti-Semitic attack occurred, but the prosecution did not find it justified.
In France, the number of anti-Semitic threats and attacks in the world in 2015 has been a record, but according to official figures, it showed a 58 percent decrease in 2016, explained by the previous government’s anti-Semitism and anti-racism program. Last year, however, the Ministry of Home Affairs again showed a seven percent rise.