Amid attacks in Europe on Jews following the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe condemned anti-Semitism “that always tries to justify itself with new pretext,” and which he said has deep roots in France.
Philippe’s remarks, which were unusual for his acknowledgment of the phenomenon’s depth in his country, came Sunday during a speech before approximately 700 participants in the eight annual conference of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities.
“In our country, anti-Semitism is alive. It is not new, it is ancient. It is not superficial, it is well-rooted and it is alive. And it hides always behind new masks, attempts to justify itself through diverse reasons. This ideology of hate is here, it’s present and it’s making some French Jews to make aliyah,” Philippe said, using the Hebrew word for immigration by Jews to Israel. “It should be a spiritual choice but it pains all citizens of the republic when it’s a form of self exile, made out of insecurity and fear.”
Following President Donald Trump’s declaration Wednesday on Jerusalem, a kosher restaurant was attacked in the Netherlands by a Palestinian waving his national flag, and 20 men hurled firebombs at a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden. In Paris and Lyon, protesters against the declaration promoted a boycott of Israel, which is illegal in France, and cheered and called for freedom for Palestinians convicted of murder charges who are in Israeli prisons.