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Chief Rabbi of France Receives Virulent Death Threats

France’s Chief Rabbi receives death threats in viciously anti-Semitic document sent via Facebook.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 6/20/2012, 5:52 PM

French police guard Toulouse Jewish school
French police guard Toulouse Jewish school
Reuters

The National Bureau of vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNCVA) has condemned death threats against France’s Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, which were contained in a viciously anti-Semitic document sent via Facebook, The European Jewish Press (EJP) reported Wednesday.

A number of outraged Internet users alerted the BNCVA to the image, which was projected on a document, showing a montage of the Chief Rabbi’s face with a Star of David projected and a revolver pointed at his forehead. A lighter branded Zyklon (the trade name of cyanide used by Nazi Germany in gas chambers to exterminate Jews) is placed under the nose of Rabbi Bernaim.

The caption under the image read: "Calm down Bernheim, I’m not going to deport you, I just want you to inhale the contents of this lighter, that’s to say the person within! You won’t kiss me on the mouth, I prefer to say."

The BNVCA asserted that while this specific incident was directed at the highest ranking member of the French Jewish community, the Chief Rabbi represents “all of French Judaism, all French Jews, who are also threatened."

The BNVCA said the insults and intimidation directed at the Rabbi were of a “most serious nature” and said that it has consulted its lawyer over filing an official complaint.

The organization asked French Interior Minister  "to immediately demand the an investigation around the identity of the anti-Semitic author of this message."

"Neither the Holocaust nor the anti-Semitic murders of Sebastien Sellam, Ilan Halimi and the victims of the Jewish massacre in Toulouse have served a lesson, it seems. On the contrary, the most heightened form of anti-Semitism is further developing, spreading and becoming commonplace, and it seems there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it,” declared the BNCVA, adding that it was "in favour of increasing awareness and publicising condemnations of serious acts."

In March, Mohamed Merah, an al-Qaeda-inspired Muslim terrorist, went on a killing spree in Toulouse, brutally murdering three children and a teacher outside of a Jewish school.

Earlier this month, three Jewish teenagers, wearing kippot, were attacked in the French city of Villeurbanne, near Lyon. A group of young men, of foreign origion, insulted and beat up the Jewish teens, leaving one of the boys with an open wound on his skull, and the girl with a neck injury.

Secretary-General of the Union of Jewish Students, Johan Sportouch, said he “was concerned by the resurgence of anti-Semitic acts in France.”

“Jewish citizens are a recurring target,” he said at the time. “Since the Toulouse affair, one can no longer underestimate the seriousness of anti-Semitic aggression.”