We want French Jews to feel safe, Sarkozy tells UK

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY OR­LANDO RADICE

NI­CO­LAS SARKOZY gave an emo­tional speech in de­fence of France’s Jewish com­mu­nity at a din­ner in Lon­don on Sun­day night.

The for­mer French pres­i­dent and cur­rent leader of the Repub­li­can party told the guests at the event or­gan­ised by the Con­fer­ence of Euro­pean Rab­bis (CER): “It is un­ac­cept­able that 70 years af­ter the end of the Holo­caust, French Jews are afraid.”

Mr Sarkozy, who had been in­vited to Lon­don by the CER to ac­cept an award for his con­tri­bu­tion to Euro­pean Jewry, added: “We did not fight the Nazis to force the Jews to run to Is­rael 70 years later. We want them to be com­fort­able to wear a kip­pah. We must stand up to pro­tect our Sarkozy in Lon­don Jewish com­mu­ni­ties. It is im­pos­si­ble not to. With­out its Jews, France is not France. When you touch Jews, you touch France.”

Mr Sarkozy also hit out at the BDS move­ment, say­ing: “The boy­cott is a scan­dal and il­le­gal. One can­not ig­nore that some peo­ple hide their an­tisemitism be­hind at­tacks on Is­rael.”

He tem­pered his com­ments with a dose of “friendly” crit­i­cism: “The boy­cott is fun­da­men­tally wrong al­though this does not mean I con­done all of Is­rael’s poli­cies.”

The CER awarded Mr Sarkozy the Rabbi Moshe Rosen prize in mem­ory of the for­mer chief rabbi of Ro­ma­nia who bat­tled for many years to de­fend his com­mu­nity un­der Com­mu­nism.

Guests at the din­ner i n c l u d e d F r e n c h A mb a s s a - dor to Lon- don Sylvie Ber­mann and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

Rus­sian bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man Mikhail Frid­man hosted the evening, along with CER pres­i­dent Rabbi Pin­chas Gold­schmidt.

Re­flect­ing on the award for Mr Sarkozy, Rabbi Gold­schmidt said: “Pres­i­dent Sarkozy is a de­serv­ing re­cip­i­ent of this award. France is the main bat­tle­ground be­tween hope and fear for the fu­ture of Europe, es­pe­cially for the Jewish com­mu­nity.

“Pres­i­dent Sarkozy is at the fore­front of that bat­tle and his sup­port is cru­cial for the fu­ture of our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Am­salem, who was lightly hurt in the at­tack in Mar­seille


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