Lessons we’ve learned from Paris

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY TULIP SID­DIQ AND WES STREETING

THE MUR­DERS at the kosher su­per­mar­ket in Paris shocked the world. Thou­sands took to the streets to pro­claim “Je Suis Juif”, echo­ing ear­lier dis­plays of sol­i­dar­ity with the mur­dered jour­nal­ists of Char­lie Hebdo.

Euro­pean Jews had been killed once again for the “crime” of be­ing Jewish. There can be no greater con­se­quence to in­dict those who al­low an­ti­semitism to fes­ter un­chal­lenged.

As vice-chairs of the All Party Par­lia­men­tary Group Against An­ti­semitism, we were priv­i­leged to join this week’s del­e­ga­tion to Paris. Ac­com­pa­nied by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Civil Ser­vice and the Metropoli­tan Po­lice, the trip was held with the events of Jan­uary still raw in our mem­o­ries. The mes­sage with which we re­turn is sim­ple: there can be no com­pla­cency in the fight against an­ti­semitism, at home or abroad.

The tour lasted two days and in­cluded meet­ings with com­mu­nal lead­ers, politi­cians, and po­lice. While the reawak­en­ing of an­ti­semitism in France has re­sulted in greater vi­o­lence than in Bri­tain, there are clear par­al­lels to be drawn.

On cam­pus, it was shame­fully un­sur­pris­ing to hear of French Jewish

Po­lice pa­trol at Hy­per Cacher stu­dents shut out of union de­bates ow­ing to fever­ish anti-Zion­ism. A quick com­par­i­son of the press re­leases of the Union of Jewish Stu­dents in both France and Bri­tain re­veals a dis­tress­ing like­ness. Sim­i­larly, our meet­ing with com­mu­nal leader Crif Pres­i­dent Roger Cukier­man saw him re­flect upon con­cerns we hear in meet­ings with the Board of Deputies.

It was in­ter­est­ing to hear from our coun­ter­parts in the Assem­blée Na­tionale on how Prime Min­is­ter Valls’s ad­dress in Jan­uary, in which he de­scribed an­ti­semitism as “a cri­sis of democ­racy”, has trans­lated into prac­ti­cal ac­tion.

The armed se­cu­rity pro­tect­ing com­mu­nity in­sti­tu­tions is tes­ti­mony to the chal­lenges fac­ing French so­ci­ety at large. We must en­sure a sim­i­lar sce­nario does not hap­pen here.

The Jewish com­mu­nity should not have to feel like a pris­oner in its own home. Re­li­gious prac­tices should be a fo­cus of joy, not fear. Po­lit­i­cal en­gage­ment should be free of age-old tropes, es­pe­cially those ill-dis­guised by the mask of ab­so­lute con­tempt for Is­rael.

As APPG on An­ti­semitism mem­bers, we will en­deav­our to sus­tain the na­tional con­ver­sa­tion on this vi­tal is­sue. Our del­e­ga­tion to Paris was shown the un­ac­cept­able con­se­quences of com­pla­cency, and we must re­ject it at ev­ery turn. Tulip Sid­diq is MP for Hamp­stead and Kil­burn; Wes Streeting is MP for Il­ford North

PHOTO: PA

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