President Hollande Tells French Jews: Your Place Is Here, in France

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French President Francois Hollande pays his respects after he placed a wreath at the Shoah memorial in Paris, January 27, 2015.Credit: Reuters

President Francois Hollande promised on Tuesday to protect French Jews and, in an apparent riposte to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's invitation for them to emigrate after attacks in Paris, told them: "Your place is here".

"You, French people of the Jewish faith, your place is here, in your home. France is your country," Hollande said in a speech to mark 70 years of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.  

During his visit to the memorial, Hollande also called on Internet service providers to take action against the spread of anti-Semitism online. He said Internet service providers cannot ignore anti-Semitic and Holocaust- denial theories that are disseminated on social networks. Otherwise, he says, "they will be regarded as accomplices."

He pointed to Internet giants without naming them, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Hollande also called on European and international leaders to define new regulations, with penalties for Internet service providers which do not comply.

Concerns about anti-Semitism have risen after a kosher supermarket was targeted in the country's deadliest attacks in decades. Four Jewish people were among the 17 people killed by the three gunmen, who also died.

Hollande expressed his "anger" and "bitterness" during a ceremony in the presence of five survivors of the Nazi concentration camps: "How in 2015 can we accept that we need armed soldiers to protect the Jews of France?".

Synagogues, Jewish businesses, schools and cultural centers will be protected as long as necessary, he promised. France has deployed 10,000 troops to protect sensitive sites, nearly half of them to guard Jewish schools.

A report released Tuesday by a Jewish organization said the number of anti-Semitic acts doubled last year in France. They increased to 851, up from 423 in 2013, according to the Jewish Community Security Service.

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