French police arrest five suspects in ‘anti-Semitic’ home invasion

(JTA) – French police arrested five people in connection with a home invasion near Paris that prosecutors and representatives of French Jewry said was an anti-Semitic attack.

The suspects – a career criminal in his 50s, three younger men and a 19-year-old woman – were apprehended Tuesday on suspicion that they planned and executed the crime in September at the home of a Sephardic Jewish leader, Le Figaro reported. [Read more…]


Report: Veiled woman, accomplices assault Jewish mother and son at French supermarket

(JTA) – A veiled woman and two younger women in a supermarket near Toulouse assaulted a Jewish woman and her teenage son, a watchdog group on anti-Semitism said.

The incident occurred in Carcassonne, a town situated 55 miles southeast of Toulouse, on Tuesday, the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, reported Friday. The watchdog characterized the incident as an anti-Semitic assault. The alleged perpetrators – which BNVCA wrote may have been a mother and her daughters – saw the victim, a woman in her 40s, is Jewish because she was wearing a Star of David pendant, the group wrote in an incident report. [Read more…]


Archaeologists may have found a mikvah near Marseille

(JTA) – Two decades after the discovery of an ancient cellar near the French city of Marseille, local archaeologists said it is probably the remains of a mikvah, or Jewish ritual bath.

The researchers from the National Institute for Preventative Archeological Studies earlier this week told the France3 television channel that the cellar in the town of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux was “potentially a mikvah” in medieval times. [Read more…]


French Socialist in hot water over anti-Semitic Twitter post

(JTA) – France’s Socialist Party said it has initiated a procedure for ousting a lawmaker whose Twitter account featured an image of President Emmanuel Macron deemed anti-Semitic.

Gérard Filoche’s account last week showed Macron wearing a Nazi-like armband with a dollar sign and three well-known European Jews – the French economist Jacques Attali, entrepreneur Patrick Drahi and the British banking magnate Jacob Rothschild – in the background towering over the earth while flanked by an Israeli and American flag. [Read more…]


French courts throw the book at promoters of anti-Semitic hate speech

(JTA) – Amid vocal protests by leaders of French Jewry on the judiciary’s handling of anti-Semitic crimes, French courts made a series of tough rulings on inciters to hatred of Jews.

In three separate rulings last week, French judges rejected the appeal of the far-right Holocaust denier Alain Soral against his prison sentence, affirmed the eviction of his associate and career anti-Semite Dieudonné M’bala M’bala from his Paris headquarters and slapped a $1,700 fine on a teacher who inveighed against Israel and the Jews. [Read more…]


Paris court orders return of Nazi-looted Pissarro painting to relatives of French art collector

“La Cueillette des Pois” by Camille Pissaro, seized by the Vichy government in 1943 from Jewish art collector Simon Bauer.
“La Cueillette des Pois” by Camille Pissaro, seized by the Vichy government in 1943 from Jewish art collector Simon Bauer.

“La Cueillette des Pois” by Camille Pissaro, seized by France’s Vichy government in 1943 from Jewish art collector Simon Bauer.

(JTA) – A Paris court ordered the return of a painting by Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro to the family of a Jewish art collector whose collection was seized by France’s Vichy government.

The relatives of Simon Bauer, a wealthy businessman whose assets were seized in 1943 by the anti-Semitic wartime French government that collaborated with the Nazis, sued for the return of the 1887 painting “La Cueillette des Pois,” or “Picking Peas.” The court issued its decision Tuesday.

The current owners, American citizens Bruce and Robbi Toll, had lent the painting for display to the Marmottan museum in Paris. A court in May granted the Bauer descendants’ request to have the painting impounded while waiting for the court to rule on ownership rights.

The Tolls bought the painting in an auction at Christie’s in New York in 1995 for $800,000.

Their attorney told reporters after the ruling that the Tolls would appeal.

“My clients will be very disappointed not to be able to retrieve this painting, they were very attached to it,” Ron Soffer said. “They do not consider that it is up to them for pay for the crimes of the Vichy regime.”

Bauer survived World War II due in part to a strike by rail workers that stopped a train from deporting him to a Nazi concentration camp.


Dog saves Paris-area Jewish family from ‘anti-Semitic’ suspected arson in their home

(JTA) – The members of a Jewish family have their dog to thank for their escape from a fire police believe was intentionally set in their home in the Paris area, an anti-racism group said.

The family was awakened after midnight Friday night by the dog’s insistent barking to discover that their front door was on fire, with smoke rapidly filling up the interior of their apartment in the southeastern suburb of Creteil, the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, reported Sunday. [Read more…]


Brother of Toulouse jihadist jailed for terrorism but cleared of murder charges

(JTA) – In what French Jews decried as judicial “weakness,” a Paris court sentenced the brother of a jihadist from Toulouse to 20 years in prison for terrorism in 2012 but cleared him of murder charges.

Abdelkader Merah, whose brother, Moahmmed Merah in 2012 killed three soldiers and four Jews, including three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse, was convicted Thursday night of assisting his brother conspire to commit terrorism along with another accomplice, Fettah Malki, who was sentenced to 14 years. [Read more…]


Plaque in memory of Ilan Halimi vandalized in suburban Paris park

(JTA) – A plaque in memory of Ilan Halimi, a Parisian Jew who was kidnapped and tortured to death more than a decade ago, was vandalized for the second time.

The plaque, located in a park in the Paris suburb of Bagneux, was discovered on Wednesday morning to be covered with anti-Semitic and insulting graffiti including a swastika, the name Hitler and “Free Frofana” – referring to the gang leader convicted and jailed in Paris three years after Halimi’s death. [Read more…]