Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Sivan 5764 - June 9, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











French Judges Charged with Acquitting Defendants Accused of Antisemitic Acts
by Arnon Yaffeh, Paris

A French court cancelled the expulsion of two Arabs from Gymnasia Montaigne (high school) in Paris' Fifth Quarter for mistreating a Jewish student for a prolonged period, and fined the Education Ministry for their expulsion.

The antisemitic attacks caused a tumult of denunciations in France, in December when they were revealed. The Prime Minister himself condemned the antisemitic attack and promised that the attackers would be severely punished. The then- Education Minister visited, Gymnasia. But judges at the Paris Administrative Court ruled the beatings were not of an antisemitic nature.

The judges were not satisfied with acquitting the students, but even fined the state 1,000 euro per student "for the injustice done to them." The two Arab students verbally abused, beat, threatened and blackmailed the Jewish student for an extended period before this was discovered, yet the judges overlooked their acts -- as if they are permitted by French law if they are not antisemitic.

So far, almost all of the defendants caught red-handed in France for perpetrating antisemitic acts of various kinds, such as cemetery desecration or violent attacks, have been acquitted. The judges state their arguments in highly professional language, citing freedom of expression or saying the punches were directed against the State of Israel and its policies and not against Jews, or dismissing an incident as a dispute between neighbors or because the attackers themselves were the victims of discrimination. Every time they find a new excuse.

But there remains no doubt that judges are refusing to convict antisemitic assailants and inciters, perhaps because it would be interpreted as an admission of the existence of violent antisemitism in France or for political reasons.

In effect, they are defending the assailants and inciters. Speaking on Jewish radio, author Claude Landsman recently said the atmosphere in France is reminiscent of the 1930s. But then the Jews expected this kind of antisemitic treatment whereas today they are unprepared for it, thinking themselves French citizens in every way and they are surprised anew every time.

The French judges also surprised them with their bizarre rulings. The parents of the Jewish student are astounded. Instead of the attackers having to leave the school, their son will have to leave.

Two weeks ago, a court acquitted an African entertainer charged with antisemitic incitement during a television appearance on one of the networks. According to the judges, his appearance was not directed against the Jewish community or Jews, but rather was criticism of Israel and Israeli policy.

Daniel Siboni, a Jewish psychologist, said the judge himself is tainted with antisemitism. Siboni said the French legal establishment has been justifying antisemitic violence in cases and their rulings sanction continued antisemitism in schools and the media. The Paris Administrative Court totally disregarded the antisemitic attacks in Montaigne, addressing only the beatings which they claimed did not justify expulsion.

"Rulings of this type testify to social and legal decay," said Siboni. "The judges are using values of equality and freedom of expression to justify antisemitic violence and to prevent dangerous, violent criminals who attack Jews in the streets and in schools from receiving punishment."


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