Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Behind the Headlines Police Probe into Synagogue Bombing Might Prove to Be a Dud

October 8, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Police investigations into the bomb attack against the Rue Copernic Temple last Friday are not expected to yield spectacular results, especially since members of the police force have been shattered to learn that many neo-Nazis are members of the police force. The French government has stated its determination to find the culprits but police concede that its task would be difficult as it does not possess updated files on neo-Nazis.

Spokesmen of the two main police unions have claimed that one-fifth of the outlawed neo-Nazi group, the Federation of European Nationalist Action (FANE) are policemen and this might explain why those responsible for the many anti-Semitic attacks in France are still at large. Now the question remains: who is behind the Friday synagogue bombing attack?

Police are convinced that attack was carried out by neo-Nazi elements and they do not discount the possibility of a “foreign hand” behind it. Jean Pierre-Bloch, president of the League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA), said Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had probably financed the publication of anti-Semitic leaflets distributed by neo-Nazi elements here.

Pierre-Bloch added there was a close link between the bomb attacks in Bologna; Munich and Paris and that they were port of a vast scheme to destabilize democratic regimes.

Qaddafi is known to have financed various terror groups in the world, from the Irish IRA, the West German Booder Meinhof group to extremist Palestinians, and it would not be surprising if it were discovered that neo-Nazis and fascists in Europe received funds from the Libyan leader.


French Justice Minister Alain Peyrefitte also noted that there was a “strange coincidence” between the Bologna, Munich and Paris bomb attacks. “Is there a joint strategy, a clandestine conductor for this?” the minister asked.

“For the moment, we know nothing. Apparently this massacre (at the synagogue) of innocent people seems to have been carried out by the extreme right and is the result of a rebirth of Nazism and fascism,” Peyrefitte said. “There are perhaps foreign organizations which are trying to destabilize the society in West Germany, Italy and France.”

Several demonstrations have taken place in French provincial towns in protest against the bomb attack and a march was held today in the center of Paris with the participation of all opposition parties and most trade unions. (See P.4.)

The danger for the Jewish community is that political parties may exploit last Friday’s bomb attack. Besides, it is noted by some analysts, if nothing was done to protect the synagogue and other Jewish institutions, there could be a risk for young Jews involved in retaliatory actions which could lead to further violence.

Many Jews are saying that the government really ought to take severe measures to thwart other neo-Nazi moves, otherwise members of the Jewish community would not hesitate to apply the “law of retaliation.” Many young Jews are firmly determined to leave a path of blood behind them if they are given no other alternative, it was noted.


Meanwhile, a statement by Premier Raymond Barre a few hours after the synagogue bombing has been a cause of fierce polemics. Barre has been accused of trying to drive a wedge between Jews and non-Jews by saying that the bomb attack was “aimed at striking Jews who were going to their synagogue and struck innocent French people in the Rue Copernic.”

A spokesman for the Socialist Party said it was “unacceptable for a Premier to express himself as if French Jewish citizens were not part of the national community.” The spokesman said Barre’s statement was unprecedented and might lead to unfortunate consequences.

The extreme leftwing newspaper, Liberation, wrote that Barre had “missed again the opportunity to keep silent” because he had implied that the Jews who were going to their synagogue were not “innocent French people. And if they are not innocent and as they are French, they are guilty, guilty of being Jewish?”

The Premier’s office issued a communique saying that Barre’s statement had been “exploited in a scandalous way” because he had stressed in his statement that the Jewish community was “a French community respected by all French people.”

However, Jewish lawyer Georges Kiejman noted that the Premier made another blunder by saying that the Jews belonged to a “respected community.” He asked: “Would this not be normal (to be respected) for any other community?”

In other developments, there were reports today that there were anti-Semitic attacks in several towns in southern France. According to one report, a Molotov cocktail was tossed at a Jewish-owned shop in Grenoble.

Yesterday, a 20-year-old Moroccan Jew, Michel Boussidan, was attacked by three youths who spotted him because he was wearing a kippa. The youths, dressed in jeans and leather jackets, first hurled epithets at him and then knifed him. Despite his wounds, Boussidan managed to escape from the assailants.

Recommended from JTA