In response to rising anti-Semitic violence across Europe, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Italy harshly condemned pro-Palestinian demonstrators, vowing to make use of “all legal measures” to maintain public order, reports the Jerusalem Post.
In a joint statement from Brussels, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Laurent Fabius and Federica Mogherini denounced “the ugly anti-Semitic statements, demonstrations and attacks of the last few days,” declaring that “nothing, including the dramatic military confrontation in Gaza, justifies such actions in Europe.”
“At a time when ‘Death to the Jews’ chants can be heard at public gatherings in European capitals, allegedly in protests against Israel, the bold, timely and unambiguous words of the three foreign ministers send a strong message that should be embraced by all EU member states,” said David Harris, the executive director of the American Jewish Committee.
Primarily Arab and Muslim demonstrators have taken to the streets across the continent in protest of Israel’s military incursion into the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip. Throngs have attacked synagogues and chanted pejorative slogans about Jews and Israel.
On Sunday in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles, an Arab mob burned cars, attacked Jewish owned shops and clashed with members of the Jewish community outside of a synagogue, which the rioters attempted to set aflame. That incident was one of several incidents of attacks against Jewish places of worship in the greater Paris area, including the siege of a downtown synagogue full of Jews just over a week ago.
Demonstrators were overheard screaming “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come on out and fight” at a recent Berlin protest and protesters in Antwerp were reported to have marched while chanting “kill the Jews.” There have been two separate reported incidents of men being beaten for flying Israeli flags in Sweden, according to local media.
Jewish organizations have been pushing for tougher action on the issue of anti-Semitism, especially since the murder of four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels in May.
Jewish organizations have rejected the pretense that the anti-Semitic acts are merely expressions of protest against Israeli military action.
“The pretence that these attacks are not anti-Semitic, but merely a reaction to current events in the Middle East, is cynical and decidedly false. When a Paris mob besieges and throws bricks at a synagogue with 200 congregants inside, it is anti-Semitism. When a synagogue north of Paris is firebombed on Friday night and sustains damage, it is anti-Semitism. When a 17-year-old girl — referred to as a ‘dirty Jewess’ — is assaulted on a Paris street by having her face pepper-sprayed, it is anti-Semitism,” said American communal group Agudath Israel.