French JDL leader: Reports of ban on group are rumors


PARIS (JTA) — A leader of France’s Jewish Defense League dismissed as rumors reports that officials were considering banning his far-right group.

The reports began after Muslim community leaders earlier this week called on authorities to ban the group, which is ideologically close to the American and Israeli branches of the Jewish Defense League, or JDL.

On Wednesday, the left-leaning Liberation daily reported that an unnamed official from France’s interior ministry said the ministry was looking into the possibility of banning the group, whose counterparts in the United States and Israel are designated as terrorist groups.

“There are rumors that officials are looking into the possibility of maybe banning LDJ,” Serge Salfati told JTA Thursday, using the French-language acronym of the Ligue de Defense Juive.

Several LDJ members have been convicted of violence in France, most recently this month when four LDJ activists were sent to prison for placing a homemade bomb under the car of an anti-Zionist Jewish journalist, Jonathan Moadab.

The group also has organized defense units around synagogues and Jewish buildings in France amid a wave of attacks by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, who have targeted Jews for Israel’s actions in Gaza.

“While the reports are rumors at this point, there is a chance the government will seek action against LDJ to demonstrate an evenhanded approach to Arabs and Jews,” Salfati said.

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