On Sunday, January11th, an estimated 4 million people marched in various cities across France in support of the victims of last week´s terror attacks and in defense of freedom of speech and expression. More than 1,8 million gathered in Paris where ECI European Director Perrine Dufoix took part in the solidarity rally.
At the rally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be seen marching in the front row with senior European political leaders, among them, European Union leaders Jean–Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, as well as French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
In a unique interview, published on Sunday in Atlantic Monthly, the French Prime Minister warned that ”France is no longer France if Jews have to leave the country in fear of their lives.” Last year over 7,000 Jews left the country due to security concerns following a spike in violent attacks against Jewish targets.
European Coalition for Israel (ECI) issued a statement calling for Europe and Israel to stand united against the threats of radical Islam.
’It is unacceptable that Jews still have to live in fear in Europe in 2015’, ECI Director Tomas Sandellsaid in a statement. ’If Jews are no longer secure to make France their home, it is not only the French Republic which has failed, but the European project as a whole’, he said. ’There is no Europe without vibrant and thriving Jewish communities. The Jewish community is a vital part of European society”
’What offence did the customers in the kosher shop pose to the perpetrators other than being Jews?’, Sandell asked. ’One generation ago, this same ideology led to the killing of six million Jews in Europe.’
In less than two weeks, the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz will be commemorated around the world.
The ECI statement also states: ’It is high time to ensure that Europe is safe for Jewish communities. Europe and Israel face the same enemies of open and pluralistic societies. Terrorism needs to be condemned and fought with equal determination, regardless of whether the attacks take place in Paris or Jerusalem, in Africa or in the Middle East. Europe and Israel should stand united in the fight against radical Islam, as well as other forms of political extremism that threaten our democratic societies.’