(JTA) – More than 300 French signatories, including former prime ministers and other elected officials, intellectuals and artists, signed a manifesto denouncing the “new anti-Semitism” in France.
The manifesto published Sunday in Le Parisien, the largest circulation newspaper in France, comes after the murder of several Jewish people at the hands of Muslims, one of the most recent being the murder of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in her Paris apartment.
“We demand that the fight against this democratic failure that is anti-Semitism becomes a national cause before it’s too late. Before France is no longer France,” the manifesto reads.
The signatories condemned what they called a “quiet ethnic purging” driven by rising Islamist radicalism particularly in working-class neighbourhoods. They also accused the media of remaining silent in the face of the murders and attacks.
“In our recent history, 11 Jews have been assassinated – and some tortured – by radical Islamists because they were Jewish,” the document said, adding that some 50,000 Jews had been “forced to move because they were no longer in safety in certain cities and because their children could no longer go to school.”
Among those who signed the document are former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni; former French prime minister Manuel Valls; author Bernard-Henri Lévy; actor Gérard Depardieu; and former Charlie Hebdo director Philippe Val. Several Jewish leaders and Muslim imams also signed the document.
The anti-Semitic murders go back to 2006, and include the 2012 shooting of three schoolchildren and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse by Islamist gunman Mohammed Merah; four Jews killed in 2015 at a Jewish supermarket in Paris; and the killing of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Jewish woman who was beaten to death and thrown out a window of her Paris apartment in 2017.