Sunday, July 18, 2004

Sharon Urges Jews in France to Leave as Anti-Semitism Grows

The French may not disagree, but Ariel Sharon is urging Jews to leave France.
The Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday urged Jews to flee France to escape a rising tide of anti-Semitism. While acknowledging that the French government was fighting racial violence, Mr Sharon warned of "the spread of the wildest anti-Semitism" in France.

Speaking to visiting American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, Mr Sharon said: "If I have to advocate to our brothers in France, I will tell them one thing - 'Move to Israel, as early as possible'. I say that to Jews all around the world, but there [in France] I think it's a must and they have to move immediately." He added: "In France today, about 10 per cent of the population are Muslims ... that gets a different kind of anti-Semitism, based on anti-Israeli feelings and propaganda."

France is home to Western Europe's biggest Jewish and Muslim communities with 600,000 Jews and five million Muslims. But it has been troubled by attacks on Jewish people and property in recent years, some of it blamed on youths of North African origin angered by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The latest French Interior Ministry figures show 510 anti-Jewish acts or threats in the first six months of 2004 - compared to 593 for all of last year.

Yes, it may seem silly to urge Jews out of France to the safety of Israel. However, urging Jews to leave France, ever growing more hostile for them, is not a bad idea and, if current trends continue, may increasingly become a very good idea. At least in Israel, they would have a home that would fight for their protection.


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