(Washington, D.C., Feb. 19, 2019)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We are outraged by today’s discovery of large-scale vandalism of Jewish graves, the same day that thousands of French protesters from across the political spectrum marched en masse against anti-Semitism. Mere hours before members of 14 French political parties came together in solidarity with France’s Jewish community, it was discovered that more than 80 graves had been desecrated with spray-painted swastikas in the eastern French village of Quatzenheim.
The discovery is even more troubling in the wake of Yellow Jackets protesters’ attacks on French Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, who was accosted by demonstrators on Saturday. Finkielkraut’s assailants shouted, “Go back to Tel Aviv!” and “Dirty Jew!” among other vulgarities.
We are appreciative that French President Emmanuel Macron visited the vandalized Jewish cemetery, as well as strongly condemned the attack on Finkielkraut. However, more must be done to fight anti-Semitism in France, where anti-Semitic incidents increased by 74 percent between 2017 and 2018, and across Europe. Additionally, we call on all European Union member states to implement the action plan to combat anti-Semitism developed by B’nai B’rith International, the European Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org