March 21, 2014 – New York – On the second anniversary of the deadly terrorist attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls issued a powerful attack on anti-Semitism.
“Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in France in recent years, and largely comes from the extreme right,” said Valls. “What is new is an anti-Semitism that feeds on hatred of Israel and Zionism.”
“Criticism of Israel that is based on anti-Zionism – that’s anti-Semitism today – is the refuge of those who do not accept the State of Israel,” the Interior Minister added.
Valls spoke at a Paris rally commemorating the four Jewish victims of the March 19, 2012, attack in Toulouse. Mohammed Merah, a French-Algerian, shot and killed Rabbi Jonathan Sandler; his two sons, Arieh, 6, and Gabriel, 3; and Miriam Monsenego, 8, at the entrance to the Jewish school. Merah died in a gun battle with French police at his home after the attack.
“Minister Valls’s powerful message is a clear recognition of the sad reality of today’s malicious campaign against the State of Israel and its very right to exist,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “At a time when some French Jews are feeling increasingly uncomfortable, it is encouraging to hear such profound empathy and support from the country’s Interior Minister.”
“French Jews, without you, France is not France,” declared Valls. The Paris rally was organized by the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities. AJC France director Simone Rodan was on the stage at the rally.
David Harris is AJC Executive Director, Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the Executive Director.