Raffarin vows to 'nip anti-Semitism in the bud'

15th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

ROGLIT, Israel, March 15 (AFP) - Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin vowed Tuesday that France would not flinch in the fight against anti-Semitism, during an official visit to attend the opening of Israel's new Holocaust museum.

ROGLIT, Israel, March 15 (AFP) - Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin vowed Tuesday that France would not flinch in the fight against anti-Semitism, during an official visit to attend the opening of Israel's new Holocaust museum.

"An attack against a Jew is an attack on France itself... You know how vigorously France has reacted to outbreaks of anti-Semitism on its soil," he told reporters in a forest planted in memory of the 76,000 French Jews who perished in Nazi concentration camps during World War Two.

"The ghost of injustice, anger and rebellion haunts this place. France, the land of human rights, has sometimes been complicit in such infamy. Shame on all those who chose to collude with the torturers," he added.

Raffarin is on a two-day visit to Israel, where he was among hundreds of foreign heads of state, dignitaries and guests at Tuesday's opening of the new museum in Jerusalem to remember the six million Jews exterminated by the Nazis.

"It is our duty not to forget... We are resolved that the past will never be repeated. The task of remembrance is also to take action," he added.

France, which is home to Europe's largest Jewish community estimated at 600,000, has seen a rise in anti-Semitic acts in recent years.

France will "do its utmost to nip this dangerous trend in the bud" and will "fight mercilessly against anti-Semitism," Raffarin vowed later in Jerusalem where he addressed representatives of Israel's 80,000-strong French community.

Raffarin called for Israel and France to "breathe new life" into their relations following a deterioration in recent years amid Israeli claims that Paris has adopted a pro-Palestinian line.

"I have the feeling that our ties with our Israeli friends are getting stronger every day," he said.

"Our actions, our positions are better understood on two subjects that are crucial, I was going to say existential, for Israel: the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and the peace process," Raffarin said.

Hailing both Israeli and Palestinian efforts to move the peace process forward, the French leader urged the two sides "not to miss this unique chance" and stressed that France and Europe did "not intend to remain a passive observer and plan to become involved."

"A united Europe has the means, it is the natural partner for Israel and will stand resolutely by the Israelis and Palestinians down their road toward peace," he said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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