Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement in which he urged the leadership of Paris in particular, and Europe in general, to take a strong stand against anti-Semitism – after a Jewish cemetery was desecrated in eastern France. He said the “shocking” incident by “wild anti-Semites” is “a plague that endangers everyone, not just us,” and that it “must be condemned wherever and whenever it rears its head.”
Swastikas and inscriptions were found on some 80 graves in the Jewish cemetery of Quatzenheim, a village of 800 inhabitants that is situated close to the city of Strasbourg. French President Emmanuel Macron responded by stressing “each time a French citizen, because he’s Jewish, is insulted, threatened, or worse, injured or killed, it’s the whole republic that is (targeted). It is not for the Jews within the republic to defend themselves but for the republic to defend them.”
President Macron carefully noted that while there is a link between anti-Semitism anti-Zionism, and that there are “those who, by their words today, want the end of Israel are those who want to attack Jews.” He added that he while he will discuss the matter again tomorrow he believes “that, when you get into details, the criminalization of anti-Zionism poses other problems.”
It is important to note that the grave desecration in Quatzenheim was perpetrated by unknown assailants just two months after another Jewish cemetery was vandalized in Herrlisheim. French police have classified this and other recent attacks as “motivated by anti-Semitism.”
Thousands of people rallied in Paris last night to protest the spike of such attacks across France, which is home to Europe’s largest Jewish community and is the third largest worldwide. French politicians across the spectrum joined the marches against anti-Semitism, including former presidents Francois Holland and Nikolas Sarkozy.