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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Émotion à Lille après la profanation de tombes juives

by Karine Parquet

Commotion in Lille after the Desecration of Jewish Graves

Translated Wednesday 2 May 2007, by Chidubem

Anti–Semitism. The desecration, on the morning of Sunday (April 1), of the cemetery at the Jewish square, in the South of Lille, aroused indignation and anger.

SOCIETY

Commotion it Lille after the desecration of Jewish graves

Anti–Semitism. The desecration of the cemetery at the Jewish square, in the South of Lille, on that Sunday morning of 1 April, aroused indignation and anger. Yesterday, a quiet demonstration was organized at the cemetery in the South of Lille, where fifty-one graves in the Jewish square were damaged between the Saturday night and Sunday morning. (Announcing his “indignation and his concern for the families affected by this obnoxious act”, the Minister of Interior, Mr. François Baroin, condemned “the exactions committed, very strongly”

The headstones were broken loose and dropped on the ground, some getting smashed with the fall. “It is a symbol of cowardice and anti-Semitism”, reckoned by Mr. Hanoh, a member of the Lilloise Jewish community, whose great uncle’s grave was damaged. The Representative Council of Institutions in France (CRIF) expressed its indignation in the face of an “odious act” perpetrated on the Eve of Pisgah, the Jewish Easter.

This was to be the first time incidents of this magnitude had occurred in the region. “Since 2003, we have noticed a reduction in anti-Semitism activities in the North”, stressed Daniel Canépa, the Governor of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, estimating them at about five or six each year end recalling mainly some verbal attacks and graffiti.

“Anti-Semitism is a poison that must be combated with continuous vigilance”, declared Marie-Georges Buffet*, expressing her “very intense anger and deep indignation”. Ségolène Royal* stated “her determination to fight against all forms of hate and violence”.

Not surprinsingly, Jean-Marie Le Pen* treated the incidents with triviality, talking about “recurrent activities, which take place near the time of every electoral campaign” and arousing a “possible provocation”. An inquiry was set up after Jacques Chirac requested that “all machinery should be put into motion to find the perpetrators of this loathsome deed, so that they will be severely punished.” The culprits would incur about three to five years imprisonment.

For the League of Human Rights, this desecration “is not only just a news item” but also “a new sign of the persistence of anti-Semitism in our country.” The Association mentioned, in a communiqué, that the battle against the hatred of the other is more necessary now than ever before. “May citizens take all the consequences into consideration before making decisive choices," their spokesman concluded.

* Some of the candidates for the 2007 presidential elections


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