“This is our home”

Demand for protection and joint response following the attack on the synagogue in Denmark and the profanation of tombs in France

Fear shock rage but no surrender: European Jews feel under threat but they shall not give up. Europe is their home and they have no intention of leaving. However they call upon authorities to step up protective measures along with a stronger commitment in the fight on terrorism. The news is unfortunately alarming. In a conference on the freedom of expression and in the synagogue where a bar mitzvah was being celebrated Denmark suffered two mortal attacks in the past weekend. While in France, one month after the attacks in Paris, approximately 300 tombs have been desecrated in the Jewish cemetery of Sarre-Union, in Lower-Rhine.The synagogue in Copenhagen. It happened on the night between Saturday and Sunday while a bar mitzvah was being celebrated. Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, president of the local Jewish community, said that some 80 people were gathered in the synagogue.  The Danish Jewish community is “under shock”. It lost one of its best men: Dan Uzan, 37. “He was a good man, open to all religions. He was kind, tolerant and always available”, Asmussen said. The attack against Danish synagogue took place about one month after the attack that shattered Paris for four days. It’s the umpteenth attack that caused a wave of indignation on behalf of European Jewish communities, and not only. The president of the World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder voiced the first reaction: ” European governments should recognize that we are facing the new wave of anti-Semitism and violence. It’s crucial for Europe to be prepared to face this growing threat.” Everyone is in danger. A survey published by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities shows that anti-Semitism is serious particularly in Belgium and France. Seen from Brussels, the threat of anti-Semitism alarms 79% of respondents, 86% in France. Considering that the responses were collected before the serious attack against the Jewish Museum in Brussels and the tragic events in Paris of past January it is probable that the perception has grown even worse. It is a fact that French Jews are leaving friends in very high numbers. In fact, as many as 15,000 Jews have left the country into thousand in 2014, they were 3000 2013. Not enough protection. Moshe Kantor, president of the “European Jewish Congress”, voiced a strong condemnation. “The terrorist attack against the synagogue in Denmark – he said – shows that defence measures to protect the population, and the Jewish community in particular, are not enough. Authorities should change paradigm.” “Islamic terrorists are targeting Jews – stressed the European representative – going to their homes, their markets, the seats of their activities, and their places of worship. Without serious intervention, every Jew is at risk.” He concluded with a proposal: “In order to win this war on terrorism, and anti-Semitism, European authorities should immediately set up a pan-European task-force and budget resources dedicated to stop this threat.” Constant threats. The culprits of the desecration of hundreds of tombs in Sarre-Union, in Lower Rhine, are unknown. French premier Manuel Valls responded reiterating that France “conveys once more her love, her support and her solidarity”, he said he regrets the words of Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu who past Sunday, after the attacks in Copenhagen, had invited European Jews to return to Israel. “The place of French Jews – the minister said – is France.” But Jews don’t feel safe. Haim Korsia, Chief Rabbi of France, called upon the international community to translate his intentions “into strong actions and concrete measures in terms of repression and education, to fight, on a united front, against terrorism and against those who make an instrumental use of religion to murder in the name of God.” Roger Cukierman, president of CRIF openly spoke of “a war declared by the Jihadists against all European democracies.” “These are tragic moments of indignation and mourning said the President of Italian Jewish Communities – UCEI – Renzo Gattegna. But the partisans of hatred and enemies of the freedom of expression are wrong if they think that they will achieve their purpose because we, the Jews of Europe, will not surrender. And above all we will continue living our lives and defending with force the fundamental values that we share with the populations of European democracies, born on the ashes of the most heinous crimes ever committed by man against man and grounded on the ideals of those who fought for freedom and against hatred and tyranny. This is our strength. This will be the cause of their defeat.”

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