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WJC Responds to Desecration of Strasbourg Memorial: Actions, not Words, are Needed to Eradicate Antisemitism in France

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The World Jewish Congress was dismayed to learn that a memorial to a synagogue in Strasbourg, France destroyed by the Nazis during World War II was vandalized over the weekend, just two weeks after 100 Jewish graves in the same city were desecrated.

“It is absolutely abhorrent that a memorial honoring a place of worship callously destroyed by the Nazis has now become the latest target of xenophobia and Jew-hatred in a country in which antisemitism has become so frequent, that is almost commonplace,” WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said.

“We appreciate that the Strasbourg municipality has responded so seriously to the desecration of this memorial, and we trust that the authorities are doing everything in their power to find those responsible and bring them to justice with the full force of the law, to ensure that a firm example is made of zero tolerance for acts of hate,” Singer said. “France has a very strong legal and judicial system which must be applied strictly and more rigorously to ensure that this kind of antisemitic behavior never occurs again. We must not treat this incident as an isolated example of vandalism or hooliganism. There is a frightening proliferation of antisemitism across Europe, particularly in France, and such incidents need to be dealt with on a holistic level, as an epidemic that must be eradicated once and for all.”

“We know that the French government is committed to this issue, and we welcome French President Macron’s strong and encouraging step in pledging to our affiliate, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. But this is just the beginning of a long road ahead, and we must all continue to be as vigilant as possible. Actions, not words, are needed to truly expunge this virus from our society,” Singer said. “Adopting this definition of antisemitism must be followed by concrete steps to encode into law and ensure that it is enforced across the board.”

“There is not a single profile of antisemites – they come in all shapes and forms – and the only way to crack down on the very diverse nature of this hatred is to ensure a state-wide, or continent-wide policy and plan for doing so. It is essential that the government of France, and society at large, reject all forms of antisemitism, with a specific plan of action,” Singer said.

About the World Jewish Congress

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

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