• France's news in English

Anti-Semitic fears stirred by brothers' beating

Joshua Melvin · 26 May 2014, 13:54

Published: 26 May 2014 13:54 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Two brothers were heading to a synagogue on Saturday night in Créteil, in suburban Paris, when two men unleashed a vicious, unprovoked attack on them.

As the brothers, 19 and 23 years old, walked around 8.30pm they were reportedly attacked from behind by two North Africans for no apparent reason, other than the fact they were Jewish. One of the brothers said he was certain the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism.

“They (the attackers) were saying to each other, ‘hit harder!’ They didn’t even talk to us,” the unnamed victim told Europe 1 radio. “That was when we realized it was an anti-Semitic act. It was solely because we are Jews and we were wearing Kippahs (yarmulkes). Jews in France should beware.”

One of the attackers wielded a knuckleduster (brass knuckles) and the other used his firsts in the assault that left the older brother needing hospital treatment.

Just hours before, on Saturday afternoon, four people were shot to death at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels. The shooter, carrying a Kalashnikov rifle, walked calmly into the museum and opened fire in the reception area.

An Israeli couple in their 50s and a French woman were killed almost instantly in the shooting. Moments later the gunman escaped on foot and remains at large. A person detained in connection with the violence is no longer considered a suspect.

“Two years after the savage killings in Toulouse, here is another example of what hate and anti-Semitism can bring,” the European Jewish Congress wrote in a statement.

Though France is the home of the third largest Jewish population in the world it has seen a rise in recent years of anti-Semitic attacks. A recent poll found that one in three French people harbor anti-Jewish beliefs, though prominent Jewish experts argued the study had exaggerated the problem.

"I don't doubt that anti-Semitism exists in certain categories of the French population, and there is anti-Semitic violence in France, but France is not an anti-Semitic country," Marc Knobel, head of studies at France's Jewish umbrella organization CRIF told The Local.

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available