France: Demanding Justice for Anti-Semitic Attacks, Taking a Stand at UNESCO

January 22, 2018

In the last few weeks in France the Simon Wiesenthal Center has become alarmed over disturbing incidents in the Jewish community:

  • The slashing of a 15-year old girl’s face who was wearing a Jewish school uniform as she was leaving her high school
  • A Jewish man was violently beaten with baseball bats and hospitalized following a middle of the night home invasion by three masked men
  • An arson attack on two kosher grocery stores less than a week after they were desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti
  • The release of the suspect in Paris' Copernic synagogue bombing that left four dead and 41 wounded
These latest incidents led the SWC to immediately:

• Meet with French Ministry of Interior and Justice officials to demand that adequate sentences be imposed by French judges for perpetrators of violent attacks on Jews.

• Highlight the fact that France’s judicial system currently appears to be failing to deter such crimes.

• Demand an explanation for the sudden, unannounced release to Canada of Hassan Diab, the accused suspect in the 1980 High Holy Day Copernic Synagogue attack and urge that the trial proceeds with or without him.

Photo: At UNESCO with Audrey Azoulay, the new Director-General (center), Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC Associate Dean (left) and Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC International Relations Director (right)

While at UNESCO, Center officials:

  • Emphasized that against the backdrop of the United States and Israel’s announced departure, the Director-General should try to stop new UNESCO resolutions that would continue to deny the 3,500-year relationship of the Jewish people to its land
  • Offered to work with Director-General Azoulay to oppose the creeping politicization of UNESCO
  • Urged Director-General Azoulay to take strong initiatives on behalf of endangered faith communities
We will keep you updated on these and other developments in France through the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Paris office.

Please help support the SWC's efforts to fight anti-Semitism in France, at UNESCO and around the world.