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Hollande to French Jews: 'France is your home'

Oliver Gee · 27 Jan 2015, 11:53

Published: 27 Jan 2015 11:53 GMT+01:00

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President Hollande was giving a speech in honour of the victims of the Holocaust, on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of prisoners from the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. 
He told a handful of Holocaust survivors and their young relatives to spread the word so that the crimes are not forgotten.
"It's very important that you take young people to show them where you were ... What the Nazis wanted to do was to destroy all traces" of the Jewish people, added Hollande.
He added that for France is the "homeland" of French Jews, a comment that came just weeks after Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the same community that "Israel was their home".
Netanyahu's comments followed the terror attacks that left 17 dead in Paris, including four Jewish people who were in a kosher supermarket.
While the French government deployed troops and police officers to guard the nation's 700 Jewish schools following the terror attack, the president said that these measures "weren't enough".
He then revealed what he referred to as a "comprehensive global plan against racism and anti-Semitism". The plan includes measures to clamp down on instances of racism and anti-Semitism and ramp up the penalties for those found guilty. 

Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat and Police Chief of Jerusalem Moshe Edry at the kosher supermarket. Photo: AFP
Fighting racism must begin with the French youth, he explained, adding that youngsters will be taught about the Holocaust "without restriction" in a bid to reduce their ignorance.
He added that France will introduce a "new alert" for any students who interrupt a minute's silence. Across the country, reports flooded in after students refused to take part in tributes of silence for the victims of the terror attacks. 
He added that some websites will be blocked, and that France will "allow administrative authorities the possibility of blocking websites of racial hatred and anti-Semitism".
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Elsewhere, social networks will be under surveillance at a European level and racism will be considered to be an aggravated crime.

Hollande's speech coincided with the release of new figures from the CRIF, France's Jewish umbrella agency, which showed that there were twice as many anti-Semitic incidents recorded in France in 2014 compared to the year before.
The president warned that "conspiracy theories" and hatred for Israel, spread via social media, were fuelling the anti-Semitic attacks in France. 
"The big Internet providers must take responsibility. They can no longer close their eyes or they will be considered complicit," he said.
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