News / Europe

    France Denounces Anti-Semitism, Braces for More Gaza Protests

    Pro-Palestinian protesters face police during a demonstration against violence in the Gaza strip, which had been banned by police in Paris, July 19, 2014.
    Pro-Palestinian protesters face police during a demonstration against violence in the Gaza strip, which had been banned by police in Paris, July 19, 2014.
    Lisa Bryant

    The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy denounced Tuesday rising anti-Semitism in their countries, where thousands have protested in recent days against Israel's strikes in Gaza.

    The fallout has been significant in France, which is home to Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish communities.

    Like elsewhere in Europe, French have taken to the streets in recent days to demonstrate against Israel's deadly offensive in Gaza that has killed more than 600 people.

    Most of the demonstrations have been largely peaceful, but in the Paris area, where protesters defied government bans against the rallies,  they have taken a violent turn. Youths have attacked synagogues and Jewish businesses.

    Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions President Roger Cukierman said French Jews are anguished and fearful.

    "We have had eight synagogues attacked, we have had shops being aggressed, mezuzot [small religious scrolls] being torn out. We have heard crowds shouting death to the Jews, not death to Israel, although they pretend to demonstrate in favor of Hamas and Palestinians and against the state of Israel," said Cukierman.

    French political and religious authorities have strongly denounced the violence. France hosts about half a million Jews and 5 million Muslims. The majority of both communities have roots in North Africa, so violence in the Middle East resonates strongly here.

    Late Monday, religious leaders gathered for an interfaith service in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, a day after vandals attacked Jewish businesses and a synagogue there.

    French Council of the Muslim Faith head Dalil Boubakeur, who attended the ceremony, said the vast majority of French Muslims are not anti-Semitic. How could they be, he told French radio, when they themselves are battling racism?

    Beyond events in the Middle East, France remains haunted by its World War II past. The Vichy regime of occupied France deported thousands of Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

    Just a few days ago, the country marked the so-called "raid of Vel d'Hiv," when more than 8,000 French Jews were rounded up around Paris in 1942 and deported.

    France's leftist government has called for zero tolerance against anti-Semitism. Attending a Vel d'Hiv ceremony in Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the entire country must take up the fight against anti-Semitism.

    But recent government bans against the Gaza protests have backfired. The protests took place anyway. So did the violence. More demonstrations are expected this week, and the Jewish community and French authorities are bracing for more violence.

    Israel Offensive Continues Amid Calls by Protesters Worldwide to Stopi
    X
    Mariama Diallo
    July 23, 2014 12:49 AM
    Israel's military action in Gaza has led to protests in many countries, where demonstrators have expressed outrage over the civilian casualties and called for an end to the Israeli offensive. The protests are a sign of mounting pressure against Israel despite its position that the military action is necessary to stop Hamas' cross-border rocket attacks. More from VOA's Mariama Diallo.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: anna_K from: helsinki
    July 23, 2014 5:42 PM
    This is absurd - what Israel is doing is Manslaughter - killing civilians by mistake while targeting Hamas. What Hamas is trying daily with their missiles is ATTEMPTED MURDER. So suddenly Attempted Murder is fine just because Israelis are able to defend themselves? Why has Hamas spent ALL THE MONEY they received from Syria and Iran on building missiles instead of building bomb shelters for their civilians like Israel did? I know they have less money but every single penny went for aggression and none to save lives. Hamas is murdering its own people and they have no right to say anything. Yes, it is terrible that civilians are dying. Horrible that kids are being killed - but the key perpetrator is Hamas not Israel.

    by: SAS from: Pittsburgh
    July 23, 2014 7:34 AM
    People have the right and the responsibility to condemn Israel's actions and support the rights of the Palestinian people.

    Labelling criticism of the war criminal Israeli regime as ``anti Semitic'' may have worked in silencing dissent in the past, but it will not work any more.
    In Response

    by: anna_K from: helsinki
    July 23, 2014 5:31 PM
    Umm, excuse me but how is 'Kill the Jews' the same as criticism against Israel? They were chanting against local Jews! And that is like Americans attacking Muslims who are living in the US when terrorists from abroad bomb them. It is very wrong.
    In Response

    by: David from: Canada
    July 23, 2014 2:58 PM
    How's that? Israel has very right and responsibility to DEFEND itself against the Islamo-Nazi terrorist attacks. I sincerely hope they kill every member of Hamas and as far as these idiots in Paris, I would round up these losers and criminals and deport their asses to their country of origin - hopefully Iraq.

    by: moritz katz from: Germany
    July 22, 2014 12:43 PM
    One can criticize people from every nation except Israel and when one is labeled anti Semitic... Another double standard reserved for Jews only! Perhaps this is one of the root causes. Certainly they are currently doing nothing to endear Israel to anyone.
    In Response

    by: jose saez from: france lyon
    July 23, 2014 12:51 AM
    I am afraid that this is no more just a question of words to be or not considered as antisemitism.
    This is now about Violence between peoples , materials destructions of a Jewish bakery and in front of a sinago.
    In a place in France used to know for melting french natives peoples either Jewishes or muslims .
    The sad is that they we're once neighbours or students at the same schools.
    I don't agreed with current israel options in Gaza . But I also wish Hamas and people who helps them would build bunkers for civilians protection instead of tunnels ..
    The events in France are caused by despaired people young unemployed most of time, In reaction to the growings inequalities of a society that has forgotten lessons or history because too busy with consumering and non stop distractions aand informations .

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora