Rabbi Avrohom Pinter and Rabbi Hershel Gluck of London met with French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Sylvie Bermann, and her deputy, Jonathan Lacote, to express solidarity and voice concern over rising levels of anti-Semitism in France. The members of the delegation, who came as representatives of the British orthodox community, also extended their sincere condolences in connection with the recent atrocities that resulted in the loss of seventeen lives, including four members of the Paris’ Jewish community murdered in a kosher supermarket.
“We were very gratified that the French government is taking the situation seriously and putting the necessary resources into it,” Rabbi Pinter told Hamodia.
Rabbi Pinter voiced concern over rising levels of anti-Semitism, which were particularly prevalent among France’s youth. He cited a recent Anti-Defamation League study showing that a majority of people under 35 years of age in France surveyed harbored anti-Semitic feelings.
“This high level of anti-Semitism is not only in the Muslim population, 40% of the Christian population was also shown on the ADL study as expressing feelings against Jews,” said Rabbi Pinter. “What is interesting, and disturbing, is that in most countries, older generations tend to be more anti-Semitic; in France it is just the opposite.”
Mrs. Bermann agreed that the study was a cause for concern, but said that the government first needed to focus on the Muslim population, which is the only source of actual violence towards Jews.
She recalled the words of the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls in front of the National Assembly on January 13 that “without Jews, France would no longer be France!”
Mrs. Bermann stressed the full commitment of the French authorities to combat anti-Semitism saying, “The fight against anti-Semitism and racism in all its forms will be addressed in schools nationwide through promotion of the values of citizenship and tolerance.”