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Terrorism in France

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The Jewish film festival scheduled to be held here in the second half of this month was cancelled Thursday by the cinema owners, the Publicis-Matignon Company. The reason they gave was the wave of terrorism in France which posed a major risk to the festival.

Festival Director Emile Weiss, whose own cinema was destroyed by an explosion in March 1985, said Thursday that “cancelling the festival is tantamount to giving in to the terrorists. Giving in to terror will turn the terrorists into the victors.” Weiss said that he is trying to find another movie house to present the program of 60 films on Jewish themes.

The Chief Rabbi of France, Rene Samuel Sirat, joined the heads of the five other main religious groups in France condemning the terrorist attacks and fully backing the government’s decision not to give in to the terrorists’ ultimatum.

Among the other five signatories are the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger; the dean of the Paris Mosque, Sheikh Mohammed Orras; and the president of the Protestant Federation, The Rev. Jacques Maury.


Seven people were killed and nearly 200 wounded over the last 10 days in a wave of wild and indiscriminate bombing attacks. The targets were a Paris cafeteria, a post office, police headquarters and, Wednesday night a popular clothing store.

All of the attacks are believed to have been carried out by a Lebanese terrorist gang which is demanding the liberation of their leader, Georges Ibrahim Abdullah, and two other terrorists serving prison sentences in France for terrorist attacks.

Abdullah, serving a four year sentence for entering France with a forged passport, is also suspected of having masterminded and directed the murders of American military Attache Lt. Col. Charles Ray in January, 1983 and of Israeli diplomat Yaakov Barsimantov three months later.


The vice president of the European Jewish Congress, Jean Kahn called on the European Parliament in Strasbourg to draft and ratify at the earliest moment an international convention that would make mandatory the extradition of wanted terrorists by member states.

Kahn also met Thursday with the current President of the 21-member state Council of Europe, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Andreotti, to call for a “change in policy” by a number of member-states which previously showed unwarranted leniency towards terrorism and terrorists. Kahn accused Italy, Greece and France of past failure to act energetically in fighting terrorism.

The Council of Europe later adopted a resolution expressing its full solidarity with France and called on member-states to combat terrorism. Andreotti announced that a special Ministerial Committee will meet to organize international cooperation in this matter.

The recent wave of terrorist attacks has hardened the French population’s anti-Arab sentiments and indirectly increased Israel’s popularity. All French leaders, except the Communists, have pointed to Israel’s anti-terrorist measures as an example which France should follow.

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