France and Germany Pledge to Fight Anti-Semitism
and Protect Their Jewish Communities
New York, NY, April 30, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed assurances from the governments of Germany and France that both countries are working to prevent anti-Semitism and to protect the security of their Jewish communities and places of worship.
"We are encouraged that the governments of France and Germany recognize the threat of anti-Semitic violence and are focused on methods to prevent further acts of hate against the Jewish communities of those countries," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We are confident that through vigilance, security and deterrence, the governments of France and Germany will be able to ensure the future safety of their Jewish citizens."
In letters to the ministers of Germany, France and Belgium, ADL called on the European nations to take a strong stance against anti-Semitism after several apparent anti-Semitic attacks in March. In Paris, Jewish teens were chased and attacked by some participants in an antiwar demonstration; in Berlin, a Jewish student was attacked on a busy street. In their replies, excerpted below, Germany and France vowed to work to prevent acts of anti-Semitism. To date, ADL has not received a response from Belgium.
German Minister of Interior Otto Schily:
I was greatly disturbed to read reports of the March 23 assault on an American Jewish student in Berlin. Despite extensive investigation, the police have not yet been able to identify the assailants. Particularly in view of the current situation, Germany continues to provide a high level of security for Jewish community institutions and Jews. The federal and state security authorities maintain a constant exchange of information and take the appropriate security measures based on evidence of likely threat.
I assure you that fighting anti-Semitism continues to be a high priority for the federal government, as outlined in its report on ongoing and planned measures and activities aimed at combating right-wing extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and violence. The Federal Government will continue to use all means at its disposal to root out every form of anti-Semitism. One important indication of our many years of good relations with the Anti-Defamation League is the joint activities of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the ADL in combating right-wing extremist and anti-Semitic Web sites.
French Minister for Homeland Security Nicolas Sarkozy (translation):
I am particularly mindful of your concern over the recent rise in anti-Semitic acts suffered by the Jewish community in France and throughout the world. I want to assure you of my determination to combat this unacceptable violence. The French government has no intention of tolerating excesses on the part of certain communities as a result of the war in Iraq. The abuses that took place during the peaceful demonstration in Paris on March 22 were simply unacceptable.
The current situation in the Near and Middle East must in no case serve as justification for an upsurge of violence against the Jewish community. Consequently, in our speech and through our actions, we will fight any anti-Semitic acts committed in France. I have already strengthened security measures to protect all Jewish people and institutions in our territory. Following the instructions I issued to French prefects in June 2002, 757 places of worship are currently being monitored, 203 of them in the Paris area. I will personally see to it that these measures are implemented effectively.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.