April 17, 2015 — Paris, France
AJC praised the French government for launching a comprehensive plan to fight antisemitism and racism. The multi-pronged plan, announced today by Prime Minister Valls, comes three months after the fatal terror attacks against Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket in Paris.
“This ambitious plan reflects a true commitment by the government to confront the scourge of antisemitism that threatens French society,” said AJC Paris Director Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, who attended the official announcement in Creteil at the invitation of the French government.
Valls has been outspoken on the need to rigorously combat antisemitism, stressing that attacks on Jews are assaults on all of France. “We have to make sure that security is provided but we also need to combat antisemitism and racism at its roots,” said Valls. “Words and acts need to be punished severely. Public policy needs to integrate the fight against antisemitism and racism."
Several French ministers joined with Valls in announcing the plan, including Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin, Deputy Minister for Digital Affairs Axelle Lemaire, and Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs Myriam El Khomri, as well as Gilles Clavreul, the interministerial delegate for the fight against antisemitism and racism.
The plan has four interrelated components dealing with community mobilization, strengthening the legal system to prosecute and punish purveyors of hate speech, training educators to teach about secularism and French civic values, and stepping up efforts, notably creating a special governmental unit, to confront hate on the Internet.
“It is through education, teaching skills and understanding of the other that we can counter the stereotypes and negative images,” said Valls.
AJC actively engaged with the government as the plan was developed, and will continue to work closely with senior officials, as well as with Jewish community and civil society leaders, in the ongoing efforts to combat antisemitism and racism.
“No doubt the process of implementing the plan and effecting real, substantive changes will be long and difficult, but for the sake of France defeating antisemitism will be essential,” said Rodan-Benzaquen.