Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Court charges 2 of 3 boys involved in antisemitic rape of Jewish girl in France

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Protesters hold placards which read ״Raped because she was Jewish״ during a rally to condemn the alleged antisemitic gang rape of a 12 year old girl, in Paris, June 19, 2024 (Photo: Magali Cohen/Hans Lucas via Reuters)

French media on Tuesday reported that a 12-year-old Jewish girl had been gang-raped by a group of three boys between the ages of 12-13, including her former boyfriend, on antisemitic grounds. 

The incident, which occurred the previous Saturday evening, caused an uproar in France, especially among members of the Jewish community.

The youths reportedly threatened to kill the girl and made antisemitic remarks during the incident, which, for many in the French Jewish community, symbolized the increasingly hostile atmosphere they are experiencing in the country.

The girl, whose testimony of sexual assault was confirmed by medical examination, told police that the three boys approached her while she was in the park near her home with a friend and dragged her into a warehouse where they performed various acts of sexual violence while threatening her and making antisemitic statements. 

Rabbi Haim Korsia, chief rabbi of France and one of the leaders of the Conference of European Rabbis, addressed the recent rise in antisemitic violence in France.

“Every rape case, no matter what background it takes place, is a heinous case that has no place in our world, but a rape case as shocking as the one that took place, just because the girl was born to Jewish parents, reminds us of the times when the Jewish people were persecuted just because we were born into a different religion,” Rabbi Korsia said in a statement.

“This shocking case joins a long line of violent cases experienced by French Jews in recent months. We are witnessing an alarming increase in the rate of manifestations of antisemitism throughout France. If, in a normal year, we were used to seeing about 400 cases of violence against Jews, in just the three months after October, we witnessed almost 1,600 cases.”

The rabbi issued a stark warning to worldwide politicians about the power of their words to inflame racial prejudices against Jews. 

“Politicians around the world must understand that every word that comes out of their mouth can hurt a citizen just because he belongs to a different faction,” Korsia continued.

“As Jews who are persecuted, raped, beaten, ostracized and labeled, we are no longer just fighting for the legitimacy of the State of Israel to defend its security, we are fighting the defense of Jews around the world.” 

French newspaper Le Parisien reported that one of the suspects, the former boyfriend of the girl, confessed to the rape and said stating that he wanted revenge for her concealing her religious identity from him.

Several French media outlets reported antisemitic and anti-Israel content discovered on the boyfriend’s cell phone during the investigation, including an Israel flag burning.

Following the announcement of the indictments, hundreds demonstrated in the cities of Paris and Lyon. Some held signs that read: “Macron let it happen.” 

French President Emmanuel Macron told government ministers that there is “a scourge of antisemitism” affecting French schools, while French Education Minister Nicole Belloubet called the rape an abominable crime and issued a call for “Justice, School, Republic,” playing on the French Motto, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” 

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