Jews emerge as ‘model for integration’ in French elections debate, rabbi says

PARIS (JTA) – The Jewish community of France has emerged during the nation’s presidential campaign as a model for integration of other faith groups, a senior rabbi noted following the first candidates debate.

Rabbi Moche Lewin, a spokesman for the chief rabbi of France, Rabbi Haim Korsia, made the observation in an interview Tuesday with JTA in response to the assertion by the centre-right candidate François Fillon, who cited the history of French Jews as exemplary of how Muslims should be integrated into French society. [Read more…]

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France’s conservatives apologize for ‘anti-Semitic’ attack on rival presidential candidate

Anti-Semitic cartoon published by the French Republican party on March 10, 2017. (Screenshot from Twitter)
Anti-Semitic cartoon published by the French Republican party on March 10, 2017. (Screenshot from Twitter)

Anti-Semitic cartoon published by the French Republican party on March 10, 2017. (Screenshot from Twitter)

(JTA) – François Fillon’s conservative political party apologized for tweeting an apparently anti-Semitic caricature of rival presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

The Republicans’ apology Sunday came a day after Fillon slammed the image as “unacceptable.” He said he understood the outrage it had caused “because it evoked the images of a dark period of our history and exploited an ideology that I have always fought against.” [Read more…]

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French Jewish historian cleared of hate speech charges against Muslims

(JTA) – A French court acquitted the Jewish historian Georges Bensoussan of hate speech charges over his assertion that Arabs receive anti-Semitism with their “mother’s milk.”

The 17th Criminal Tribunal of Paris acquitted Bensoussan on Tuesday, the AFP news agency reported, ending a polarizing trial that observers regarded as a significant test case for determining the boundaries of academic freedom amid growing inter-ethnic tensions. [Read more…]

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French Arab coexistence champion found to have authored anti-Semitic tweets

(JTA) – A former culture minister of France distanced herself from an up-and-coming journalist who interviewed her recently following the discovery of virulent anti-Semitic tweets he authored.

Christiane Taubira, who last month granted a wide-ranging interview to Mehdi Meklat, 24, of the Les Inrocks magazine, said she would not have afforded him that access had she known that in the years 2012-2014, he wrote under a pseudonym on Twitter numerous anti-Semitic, myogenic and homophobic messages. [Read more…]

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French teacher says he conceals kippah following machete attack

(JTA) – On the eve of a landmark trial for terrorism in France, the alleged victim in a machete attack said he has begun concealing his kippah.

Benjamin Amsellem told the news website 20 Minutes on Tuesday about how his life was turned upside down following last year’s incident in Marseille, when police say a radicalized 15-year-old of Turkish descent lightly wounded the city teacher. [Read more…]

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Report: Attackers saw off Jewish man’s finger, beat his brother near Paris

(JTA) – Two Jewish brothers said they were abducted briefly and beaten by several men in suburban Paris in an incident that ended with one brother having his finger sawed off by an assailant.

The brothers were hospitalized in what was described as a state of shock following the incident Tuesday night in Bondy. A case report published Thursday by the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, based on a police complaint by the alleged victims did not specify their medical condition. [Read more…]

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Judge drops hate crimes charges in rape and robbery of French Jewish couple

(JTA) – French prosecutors omitted any reference to hate crimes from the indictment of four men suspected of rape and robbery at a suburban Paris home they acknowledged was targeted because it belonged to Jews.

The handling judge of inquiry – a magistrate who in France is responsible for conducting the investigative hearing that precedes a criminal trial – decided against including hate crime charges in the 2014 incident in Creteil, the Le Parisien weekly reported Tuesday. [Read more…]

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Le Pen: No more dual nationalities for Israelis, Americans, other non-Europeans

(JTA) – Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, said she favoured making it illegal to be a dual citizen of France and other countries outside Europe – including Israel and the United States.

Le Pen, who according to some polls is the leading candidate in France’s presidential elections in May, spoke about dual French-Israeli nationality in replying to a question Thursday during a 2-hour interview on the France 2 television channel. [Read more…]

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