Chairman of Keren Hayesod in France, Richard Prasquier, sounds the alarm about anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli hostility    

on  27/03/2014 
Prasquier tells a London audience that the future of the French Jewish community is being put into question and 40,000 French Jews are expected to immigrate to Israel in the coming years.

​The chairman of Keren Hayesod France, Richard Prasquier, expressed major concern in a speech in London in early March about the persistence of anti-Semitism in France as well as hostility towards Israel. His remarks were designed to provide a Continental European perspective at a conference convened by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
From l. to r.: Mr. Raymond Simonson, director of JW3, London's new Jewish community center; Rabbi Reuven Livingstone, chaplain in the British Royal Army; Richard Prasquier, chairman of  Keren Hayesod France; Ms Nicky Goldman, director of the Lead program of the Jewish Leadership Council.

The importance of a vibrant Jewish life
Underlining the importance of promoting a vibrancy of Jewish life in the post-Holocaust era, Prasquier, who was born in Gdansk, Poland, told his audience: “We must not be the mere wardens of cemeteries without tombs and the bearers of a tragic memory that most certainly is not just ‘our’ problem.” Jews have a duty not to give Nazi leader Adolf Hitler a posthumous victory. “And for that, we must firmly and proudly carry the torch of the living Jewish people,” he proclaimed.

“The question of our lasting presence in France is raised”
Prasquier, who concluded his presidency of the CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewish organizations, less than a year ago, spoke to his London audience about his rising concern over the specter of anti-Semitism in France. “Today, much more acutely than when I left my position as President of CRIF ten months ago, the question of our lasting presence in France is raised,” he said somberly. “Today in the Jewish community, there is hardly a conversation when the subject of leaving [France] is not brought up.” The Jewish Agency and Israeli government authorities anticipate that about 40,000 French Jews will immigrate to Israel in the coming years, he added.
Richard Prasquier, chairman of Keren Hayesod France.

The leader of Keren Hayesod France also cautioned against what he said was effectively a de-emphasis of efforts to combat anti-Jewish prejudice as additional priority is given to combating racism and anti-Muslim prejudice in France. Fully 40% of hate incidents in the country are directed against Jews, he noted, even though the French Jewish community represents only 1% of the population of the country. Furthermore, the “fixation on Israel” by anti-Israeli forces must be responded to not only by Israeli embassies but also by Diaspora Jewish communities themselves, Prasquier implored. “By fighting for Israel,” he said, “I am convinced that we are also fighting for our respective countries.”
The conference, which was held at University College London, was held in conjunction with the university’s Institute for Jewish Studies and was sponsored by The Jewish Chronicle.

To read the entire speech click here


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