Paris Synagogue Firebombed in anti-Semitic Attack

Anti-Semitic violence rises with intensified conflict in Gaza, as protestors against Gaza operation chant 'death to the Jews.'

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Demonstrators protesting in Paris to denounce the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, July 11, 2014.
Demonstrators protesting in Paris to denounce the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, July 11, 2014. Credit: AFP
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A firebomb was hurled at a synagogue near Paris, part of a string of anti-Semitic incidents in Western Europe coinciding with Israel’s assault on Hamas in Gaza.

The firebomb went off Friday night at the entrance to the synagogue of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a northeastern suburb of the French capital, according to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. No one was hurt and the fire resulted in minor damage, Le Monde reported.

On July 8, the day that Israel launched Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza, a man described as having a Middle Eastern appearance assaulted a Jewish 17-year-old girl on a Paris street near the Gare du Nord train station by spraying pepper-spray on her face, BNVCA also reported.

The girl, identified by her initials, J.L., wrote in her complaint to police that the man, who was in his 20s, shouted: “Dirty Jewess, inshallah you will die.”

France and the Paris region in particular recently have seen an elevated level of anti-Semitic attacks. BNVCA President Ghozlan warned attacks may become even more frequent because of the fighting in Gaza.

“We have seen violence increase at periods of unrest in the Middle East and this is no small part the result of incitement and anti-Semitism at demonstrations against Israel,” he wrote.

In Belleville, an eastern suburb of Paris, a demonstration Saturday by a few dozen people against Israel’s attack on Hamas featured calls to “slaughter the Jews,” according to Alain Azria, a French Jewish photojournalist who covered the event. The crowd also chanted “death to the Jews,” he said.

In The Hague, the Netherlands, a few hundred people, most reportedly appearing to be of Middle Eastern descent, blocked a central shopping street while carrying signs that juxtaposed the Israeli flag with the flag of Nazi Germany. One sign read: “Stop doing what Hitler did to you.” Among the participants was Fatima Elatik, a local politician from Amsterdam and former member of the now defunct Jewish-Moroccan Network for dialogue, who posed for a picture with a demonstrator wearing a shirt that accused Israel of genocide.

Back in France, the local branch of the far-right Jewish Defense League, or LDJ, boasted about disrupting a demonstration against Israel on July 9 and injuring the protesters.

“There were 30 of us and 200 Hamas supporters yet they’ll all remember our presence, and especially the six wounded on their side,” LDJ wrote on its Twitter account after the protest.

A man holding a picture of Ilan Halimi after attending a religious ceremony at "La Grande Synagogue de la Victoire" in Paris, Feb. 23, 2006.Credit: AP

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