NEW YORK – The Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, is reiterating his determination to fight anti-Semitism and hate speech in the troubled republic.
“You know my determination, and that of the government, to put an end to the rhetoric of hatred and to hold its propagators accountable to French justice,” Valls wrote in a recent letter to World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder. “My engagement is total, as is that of Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve and the other members of the government, and anti-Semitism will always be fought and punished.”
Last week, the World Jewish Congress urged governments to clamp down on any expressions of anti-Semitism and to ban the violent anti-Jewish demonstrations that have erupted in France and other European countries in the wake of Israel’s incursion into Gaza. “We cannot accept that pogroms against Jews are being attempted again in Europe or anywhere else in the world,” Lauder said in a statement. “We will not accept that Jews anywhere are being terrorized because of their religion or because they support Israel.”
France banned the demonstrations after mobs in Paris and its suburbs attacked many synagogues, looted stores, and burned cars, although some protests have taken place despite the prohibition.