Washington (May. 17)
– Alain de Rothschild, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Organizations of France (CRIF), said here today that it is too early to forecast the attitude of the French government under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand, who was elected last Sunday. But he hoped that it will have a “style” that is “warmer and friendlier” to Israel.
De Rothschild, who spoke on the fifth and concluding day of the 75th annual convention of the American Jewish Committee, said the position of the Franch government will depend upon the outcome of the Parliamentary elections next month. But he said it was hoped that the new government would have a more positive position toward the Camp David agreements and would agree to “disagree in a constructive way” on differences with Israel.
De Rothschild said that French Jews did not vote as a single bloc in the Presidential elections and that CRIF took no position in the election campaign although it asked for statements from all candidates on issues of Jewish concern.
The French Jewish leader stressed that Jews in France, as individuals and as a community, were as safe as anyone could be in this world where terrorism and violence exists. He said the community was concerned about anti-Semitic incidents which culminated in the attack last October on the Rue Copernic synagogue in Paris and earlier on a student kosher cafe.
He said CRIF does not take these incidents lightly and is “vigilant” against any signs of anti-Semitism. But he does not believe vigilante groups are needed to protect the French Jewish community. He added that a majority of the French people is opposed to anti-Semitism.
At the Diamond Jubilee dinner last Thursday night, Edwin Meese, the White House Counselor, said that President Reagan and his Administration “share” the Jewish community’s commitment to Israel and to human rights. Meese said that Reagan stood by his pledge during the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies at the White House to fight against prejudice wherever it is found. Meese, one of Reagan’s closest aides, did not touch on the Administration’s proposal to sell advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia.