A synagogue in Garges-lès-Gonesse, outside of Paris, on Saturday night was threatened by two armed men on motorcycles, emulating the 2012 Toulouse Jewish school shooting, Simon Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations, Shimon Samuels, said.
In a letter to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, Samuels said “this synagogue, of some two hundred worshippers, has been attacked repeatedly.”
“In 2002, the Wiesenthal Center took an international delegation to Sabbath prayers following an attack in the context of the Intifada,” Samuels said. “In 2003, it was firebombed during the meeting nearby of the European Social Forum, and again, in 2009, in the wake of Israel’s Gaza operation against terrorism. Last year, shots were fired at its front door.”
Samuels continued, “This time, just before the end of the Sabbath, with twenty children playing in the yard, an apparent motorbike assault – in the same form as at the Toulouse Jewish school in 2012 – was forestalled by the presence of police.”
He said “that the following morning, stones, garbage and a knife rained down on the synagogue grounds from the windows of surrounding tenement buildings proving that the police presence is not a deterrent if it remains passive. Indeed, the contempt of the hatemonger can now have a copycat effect outside other Jewish institutions.”
Samuels said the situation called for the Interior Ministry to allow French law enforcement officers to un-holster their arms when threatened.
He asked, “If armed motorbikers were to threaten police at ministries, embassies or banks – rather than a synagogue – would they not be expected to take active measures? Passive resistance will soon bring Baghdad to Paris as a menace to all its citizens.”
The concern for the French congregants comes as police guard gates to synagogues and other Jewish institutions in all of Marseille, where Brussels Jewish Museum suspect Mehdi Nemmouche was arrested in May, and in Paris, where hate-filled street protests maligned Jews.