memorial stone marking the site of Strasbourg's Old Synagogue, which was destroyed by the Nazis in World War II, after it was vandalized on March 2, 2019

World Jewish Congress have condemned vandals who daubed anti-Semitic graffiti on a memorial to a former synagogue in Strasbourg destroyed by the Nazis during World War II on Monday.

The incident comes two weeks after 100 Jewish graves were desecrated in the same city.
Thousands attended rallies around France in support of Jewish communities.

WJC chief executive Robert Singer “described the latest desecration as “absolutely abhorrent”.

“A place of worship has become the latest target of xenophobia and Jew-hatred in a country in which anti-Semitism has become so frequent, that is almost commonplace,” he said.
Mr Singer appreciated how authorities had responded in bringing those responsible to justice to ensure zero tolerance for acts of hate.

“France has a very strong legal and judicial system which must be applied strictly and more rigorously to ensure that this kind of anti-Semitic behaviour never occurs again,” he said.

“We must not treat this incident as an isolated example of vandalism or hooliganism. There is a frightening proliferation of anti-Semitism across Europe, particularly in France, and such incidents need to be dealt with on a holistic level, as an epidemic that must be eradicated once and for all.”
He added, “We welcome French President Macron’s strong and encouraging step in pledging to our affiliate, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism. But this is just the beginning of a long road ahead, and we must all continue to be as vigilant as possible.

“Actions, not words, are needed to truly expunge this virus from our society.

“Adopting this definition of anti-Semitism must be followed by concrete steps to encode into law and ensure that it is enforced across the board.”

Away from Europe, WJC has called on the House of Representatives to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism.

The move follows a spate of offensive statements by Rep. Ilhan Omar’s regarding US support for Israel.

“As American Jews, we uphold the value of honest debate in the political arena and the obligation of political leaders to examine issues on their merit,” commented Rabbi Joel H. Meyers, Chair, WJC, US.

“Inflammatory rhetoric that utilises anti-Semitic stereotypes fans the flames of ignorance and intolerance, and is unacceptable in any echelon of society, and undermines any attempt at honest, thoughtful exchange.”

Rabbi Meyers added that expressions of anti-Semitism and racism of any kind had no place in Congress.

“We call on Congress to pass a resolution condemning and sanctioning this bigotry that is not only harmful to the Jewish community but tears apart the very fabric of American society,” he said.

Rabbi Meyers also noted that US support for Israel was historically based on shared values, the fact that Israel was the only democratic and reliable ally for America in the region.

“We support the US-Israel alliance because that relationship strengthens the two sister democracies in the interest of freedom and mutual security,” he said.

“To undermine that support with false charges harms that security.”

By Leah Waxler