French Jewish leader laments ‘climate of anti-Semitism’

18 Dec 2013
18 Dec 2013 Facebook Twitter Email Print

On the 70th anniversary of the French Jewish umbrella body CRIF, its leader Roger Cukierman lashed out at both extreme-left and extreme-right parties, accusing them of fostering anti-Semitism.

The deadly shooting at Toulouse Jewish school in 2012 was a 'national tragedy' according to then- President SarkozyThe French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF is celebrating the 70 years of its existence. A delegation by Jewish leaders led by World Jewish Congress Vice-President Roger Cukierman, who heads the CRIF, was received on Monday in Paris by French President François Hollande.

In a series of interviews, Cukierman lamented a “climate of anti-Semitism” in France and singled out both extreme-right and extreme-left parties for contributing in different ways to increase resentment against Jews.  He slammed the anti-Zionist attitude of the Leftist Front, an alliance of Socialist and Communist parties, and the fact that far-right leader Marine Le Pen had never distanced herself from controversial statements made by her father, the former National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who once called the Nazi gas chambers “a detail of the history of World War II.”

“Behind the National Front stand all the anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers,” Cukierman said in an interview with ‘RTL Radio’.

He also attacked the comedian Dieudonné, an outspoken supporter for the National Front, as an “anti-Semitism professional” who was using his reputation to “fabricate and disseminate anti-Semitism. That is very worrying,” the CRIF president said.

Receiving the CRIF delegation at the Elysée Palace, President Hollande said he understood the special bond of French Jews with Israel, which was “natural”. He also said that “France needs its Jews.”