Following another deadly terrorist attack in France, this time at a Jewish store in Paris, World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder on Friday urged French citizens “to come out in their millions” and to stand up against terrorism and anti-Semitism. Four people died and four others were injured when a terrorist linked to the 'Charlie Hebdo' killers on Friday took over a dozen hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris. “France has the world’s third largest Jewish community, and yet Jewish life in France will not have a future if the lethal threat posed by Islamic terrorists is not tackled effectively and quickly,” Lauder declared.
“Only two days after the 'Charlie Hebdo' killings, another horrible massacre has been committed by brutal killers. Like in Toulouse in 2012 and in Brussels in 2014, a Jewish site was deliberately chosen to instill fear and to murder innocent people. Had it not been for the courageous and professional action taken by French police, a massacre on a much bigger scale would probably have happened,” Lauder declared following Friday's simultaneous raids carried out against the two presumed gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attacks north of Paris and their two associates who took hostages in a Jewish store in Paris.
Lauder also praised the European government leaders for spontaneously traveling to Paris on Sunday to take part in a solidarity march, but urged a strong response from civil society. “We hope that this barbaric attack will trigger the same outcry among citizens in France and the rest of the Western world as did Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo. Just as two days ago many people posted ‘Je suis Charlie’ on their social media pages, let's hope people will now post ‘Je suis Juif de France’, or something similar,” said the WJC president.
“Three years after the massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse, and eight months after the deadly attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, were are faced with an Islamist terror campaign in Western Europe. We must not be intimidated by this campaign. If we stand united in defense of freedom and against hatred and intolerance, we will win,” Lauder declared.
World Jewish Congress leaders to visit France on Sunday
Lauder announced that he and WJC CEO Robert Singer would travel to Paris after Shabbat to discuss the worsening situation with the local Jewish community and the French government.
Around 600,000 Jews live in France, making it Europe’s largest Jewish community, and the third-largest in the world. In recent months, a number of Jews left the country in the wake of rising anti-Semitism.