Attackers in France to be Prosecuted for Anti-Semitism
A French judge has ruled that the anti-Semitic motive of two Arabs, who attacked a Jewish student of the Otzar Hatorah school in Toulouse on a train last Wednesday, will be included in the lawsuit against them.
The 17-year-old student was attacked on the train as it was traveling between Toulouse and Lyon. According to a French Interior Ministry report, the youth was wearing religious symbols. Conductors and another passenger overpowered the assailants.
The two attackers, who were charged with carrying out an anti-Semitic attack, tried to argue that the incident was a mere brawl in which they tried to defend themselves against Jewish students. The judge rejected these arguments and pointed out the anti-Semitic motive in the statement of claim.
Meanwhile, AFP reported on Monday, the French Interior Minister spoke of a worrying “new anti-Semitism” in an interview with French Jewish station Radio J.
“There is anti-Semitism that exists in our neighborhoods, in our suburbs,” declared Manuel Valls during the interview.
He added, “There are in our neighborhoods, youths, or younger persons, who in the name of a collective identity they feel is under attack, decide on the most ignorant course, the most dangerous to our values, to perpetuate attacks on Jews. They consider Jews to be the enemy.”
Valls said that “for many years, we have seen a new anti-Semitism perpetuated by youths”, adding that this form of bigotry could no longer be equated to “events that occur elsewhere in the world, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
Asked directly whether this anti-Semitism was perpetuated by youths claiming to be Muslim, he replied, “I’m afraid (it might be) so”, calling on people “to be moderate in expressing it”, adding it was not his intention to stigmatize other French citizens, or to throw “suspicion (on) our citizens, notably those of Islamist persuasion”.
AFP noted that Valls’ analysis of an evolving anti-Semitism was supported by the umbrella representative organization of French Jewry, the CRIF.
According to the report, CRIF president Richard Prasquier expressed the fears of the Jewish community of the recent resurgence of anti-Semitism in a meeting with French president Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace on Thursday, following this latest incident.