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Rothschild; Anti-semitism in France Today is Much Less of a Phenomenon Than in the 1930s

Baron Guyde Rothschild, president of the Fonds Social Juif Unifie (FSJU) in France, said today that anti-Semitism in France is presently much less of a phenomenon than the anti-Semitism French Jews experienced before 1939. What is new about the recent anti-Semitic incidents, he said is that they are manifested through violence, “habitual daily violence,” while the anti-Semitism of the 1930s had its “normal” expression through verbal and written declarations.

De Rothschild, speaking at a press conference here sponsored by the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), rejected out of hand any allocations suggesting that the French government is anti-Semitic in any way or that the French government’s tilt toward the Arab position in the Arab-Israeli conflict has anything to do with the anti-Semitic wave that has been sweeping France.

“In my opinion the French government is in no way anti-Semitic,” de Rothschild stressed in response to a question. “There is no question that the French government is not anti-Semitic and condemns anti-Semitism.” He cited efforts by French authorities in recent years on behalf of Soviet and Syrian Jews.

FRENCH GOVERNMENT NOT ANTI-SEMITIC

While France’s Mideast policy “antagonizes us and irritates us,” the French Jewish leader declared, it in no way can be considered anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist. “The policy of the French government is anti-Israel government policy — it is not anti-Israel,” he said, adding; “It is not for the destruction of the State of Israel.”

In reply to another question as to whether the pro-PLO policy of France encouraged anti-Semitism in that country, de Rothschild said: “I don’t think that the pro-PLO policy of France contributed to anti-Semitic acts. I never found any evidence” for these charges.

Referring to the Oct. 3 bombing of the Rue Copernic synagogue in Paris, de Rothschild, said that he knows, through reliable “sources,” that the French police have made all possible efforts and used all means to try to apprehend the perpetrators. He characterized the synagogue bombing, which claimed four fives, as a “terrorist” act.

In his opening statement before the question-and-answer-period, de Rothschild concentrated on the challenge facing the French Jewish community of integrating the bulk of north African Jews who settled in France in recent years. He said that efforts in housing, jobs and education on behalf of those Jews are shared by the JDC and the French government

Noting that the Jewish population in France is about 700,000, the third largest Jewish community in the west, de Rothschild described the Jewish immigrants from north Africa as mostly “young, energetic and quick-tempered who are ready to demonstrate for Israel.”

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