PARIS (Mar. 23)
Two French Jews are recovering after anti-war protesters attacked them here over the weekend.
Yoni Odonnat, 17, was watching the anti-Iraq war demonstration Saturday from outside the headquarters of the Zionist youth group Hashomer Hatzair when a group of around 30 protesters from the Action Committee for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, or CAPJPO, attacked him.
Odonnat was pushed up against a wall, beaten and then pushed to the ground by demonstrators described by onlookers “as Arabs wearing kaffiyehs.”
Together with two other Hashomer Hatzair members, Odonnat was chased by a crowd shouting anti-Semitic obscenities before taking refuge inside the building.
He was taken to Paris’ Hotel Dieu hospital where he was treated for eye injuries.
Not far from the attack, Noam Levy, 24, was hit on the head with an iron bar as he gave an interview to a television camera crew. Levy was taken to the hospital and then released.
According to the television crew, those involved in the attack were all from CAPJPO.
Hashomer Hatzair spokesman Yoni Smadjar told JTA that the movement regularly holds activities on Saturday afternoons and there had been around 150 children inside the building at the time of the attacks.
Smadjar said the group would be filing an official complaint against the demonstration organizers who, he pointed out, included a number of left wing, anti-gobalization and pro-Palestinian associations.
“They saw Yoni’s kipah and attacked him,” Smadjar said. “There were around 30 of them and they were shouting “Death to the Jews.”
Edith Lenszcner, a spokeswoman for the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jews, condemned the attack, saying that CRIF “held no position on the Iraq war” and that it is unacceptable for Jewish organizations to be targeted during an anti-war demonstration.
CAPJCO, however, denies that its activists were involved in the attack.
The organization’s president, Olivia Zemor, told JTA that her members had “once again, been attacked by Jewish extremists from Betar.”
“We are going to be speaking to the police and asking for protection.”
Asked by JTA to specify the number of injured from her own organization, Zemor said she did not know the “exact figure” before admitting that there had been no CAPJPO injuries.