French Jewish group to tone down Jesus,Mary anti-Semitism campaign

25th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 24 (AFP) - A French Jewish student group that planned a hard-hitting campaign against anti-Semitism using the figures of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary on Sunday agreed to tone down its message.

PARIS, Oct 24 (AFP) - A French Jewish student group that planned a hard-hitting campaign against anti-Semitism using the figures of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary on Sunday agreed to tone down its message.  

The campaign posters, which were due to appear in French newspapers and magazines from Tuesday, each featured one of the Christian icons with the words "Dirty Jew" scrawled on them. Underneath read the slogan: "Anti-Semitism: what if it concerned us all?"  

But the French Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) said Sunday in a statement that its plans had met with negative reaction, particularly from the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA).     

LICRA said it viewed the planned campaign as "shocking" and potentially counter-productive.  

The student union said its revised campaign would be unveiled on Monday.   Its president Yonathan Arfi told AFP the campaign had been misunderstood "perhaps because it reflects the difficulties and the contradictions in which we live.   "We take note of this but we are disappointed," he added.  

The UEJF had hoped the disturbing images would help draw attention to the problem of anti-Semitism, with acts targeting Jews on the rise in France.  

Many of the acts have been blamed on disaffected youths from France's estimated five-million-strong Muslim community, although some have also been attributed to far-right extremists.  

UEJF president Arfi had earlier justified the choice of iconography for the planned campaign by saying the images "speak to everybody and the message is fundamentally Christian: Jesus was the first anti-racist" militant.  

"Jesus and Mary are Christian and also Muslim figures, something which affects every French person," he said. "As far as I am concerned, anti-Semitism is a public problem similar to AIDS, road safety or smoking."    

The Roman Catholic Church did not officially react to the posters.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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