Wiesenthal Centre to French Justice Minister: “Does the Jewish Victim Have to Die for the Crime to be Considered Antisemitic?”

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Paris, 22 February 2017

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed rage at the Paris suburb of Créteil’s investigating Magistrate ruling to dismiss the antisemitic character of a 2014 attack on a Jewish couple, and the decision to close the case.

Three men had broken into the home of the couple, beating them and tying them up, then raping the young wife. The three, together with a suspected accomplice, were charged with group rape, armed robbery, violence and extortion.

The attackers, reportedly, were heard to claim that the plan to attack Jews was because “they had money” and that their choice of victim was due to “their religious affinity.”

Their crime was evidently recidivist as, one month earlier, they had attacked an elderly Jew, identifiable due to his garb, in the same suburb.

Their defence lawyer, triumphantly, declared: “I cannot celebrate the rejection of the antisemitism charge, as it was never there… The case was built up by the media.”

Samuels noted, “The clearly antisemitic nature and the rape so shocked the Jewish community, that it resulted in a 2014 governmental proposed plan “to fight antisemitism and racism as a national cause.”

The Centre called on French Justice Minister, Jean-Jacques Urvoas, to ensure the reopening of this case.

Recalling the long delay in denoting as antisemitic the 2006 Ilan Halimi kidnapping and murder, despite the perpetrators’ claim that their choice of a Jewish victim was, then also, 'as Jews had money.' " That case alone should have set a juridical threshold...The Hyper Casher 2015 attack with four dead Jews was called antisemitic... Mr. Minister, does it take the murder of a Jew qua Jew to be acknowledged as antisemitic? Are rape, violence and armed robbery of Jews qua Jews insufficient?” concluded Samuels.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels on +447930804532, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).