Mil­i­tant French body di­vides com­mu­nity

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY SHIRLI SITBON

A JEWISH jour­nal­ist has split com­mu­nity opin­ion by call­ing pub­licly for a mil­i­tant Jewish body to be banned.

Fred­eric Haz­iza, the po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor of French Jewish ra­dio sta­tion J, wrote an opin­ion piece in the na­tional Lib­er­a­tion news­pa­per de­mand­ing the small, right-wing Jewish Defence League body be dis­man­tled.

The group, which claims 200 mem­bers, has been ac­cused of as­saults on anti-Is­raeli and re­vi­sion­ist fig­ures and vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions, but de­nies any in­volve­ment in such in­ci­dents.

It most re­cently roused the ire of the or­gan­ised com­mu­nity af­ter sab­o­tag­ing an event or­gan­ised by the Jewish um­brella group CRIF in hon­our of Is­raeli pres­i­dent Shi­mon Peres dur­ing his state visit last month in France.

As Mr Peres was ad­dress­ing the com­mu­nity, in the pres­ence of French na­tional of­fi­cials, a dozen mil­i­tants in­ter­rupted his speech by shout­ing re­peat­edly “traitor”.

“The next day, sev­eral CRIF of­fi­cials ex­am­ined whether the French JDL could be dis­man­tled,” Mr Haz­iza said. “It is in­tol­er­a­ble that th­ese ex­trem­ists sabotage such an event, give a bad name to the com­mu­nity and ac­cuse Shi­mon Peres of be­ing a traitor. Th­ese are the same words as the ones shouted against Isaac Rabin be­fore his mur­der,” he con­tin­ued, adding that he had re­ceived sup­port from the pres­i­dent of CRIF Richard Prasquier as well as Is­raeli am­bas­sador Daniel Shek.

How­ever, other com­mu­nal of­fi­cials con­firmed that the JDL has oc­ca­sion­ally as­sisted CRIF in the bat­tle against an­tisemitism.

“JDL mil­i­tants have oc­ca­sion­ally in­formed us on an­tisemitic groups which they have been watch­ing, or on racist in­ter­net sites,” said Samy Gho­zlan, the head of the Vig­i­lance Bureau against an­tisemitism.

“They have never worked with our com­mu­nity se­cu­rity ser­vices of­fi­cially, but cer­tain CRIF lead­ers did meet with JDL mil­i­tants in the past,” a CRIF of­fi­cial told the JC.

A JDL leader call­ing him­self Michael Carlisle said that the CRIF was now seek­ing to have them dis­man­tled, but said his group would pres­sure them to aban­don this plan.

“We have recorded some con­ver­sa­tions we have had with CRIF of­fi­cials in which they ex­press their sup­port for our ac­tiv­i­ties. If CRIF de­cides to de­nounce us, we will re­lease the tapes,” the JDL leader said.

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