France

French comic Dieudonné fined for antisemitic stunt

By Jessica Elgot, October 28, 2009

A far-right comedian who performed an antisemitic stunt which involved giving an award to a Holocaust denier has been fined €20, 000 by a French court.

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, 43, had previously stood for the European Parliament as head of the Anti-Zionist Party, which he formed with Alain Soral, a former member of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s extreme-right National Front.

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French anti-Muslim backlash hurts Jews

By Shirli Sitbon, September 3, 2009

The backlash against Muslims in France demanding religious rights in the public sphere has also hit Jews, who feel that their own, similar requests are being treated increasingly negatively.

“Things have got worse since more and more Muslims started pushing demands, sometimes with political motives. Now we’re compared to assertive pushy militants and our own requests are denied outright,” said Marc Djebali, vice president of the Jewish community of Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris. “Now officials tell me: ‘we can’t accept this, this is a secular state’.”

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Judge bans photos of Ilan Halimi’s torture

By Natasha Lehrer, May 27, 2009

A French judge has ordered a publisher to stop the sale of all copies of a magazine that featured a photograph of Ilan Halimi, the Jewish man who was kidnapped in 2006 by a gang currently standing trial for his murder.

The photo, which appeared on the front cover of the June edition of Choc (“Shock”), shows Halimi bound and gagged and with a pistol held to his head. It was taken during Halimi’s three-week kidnap ordeal and sent to his family in an attempt to extort a €450,000 ransom.

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Racism to be focus of Halimi murder trial

By Natasha Lehrer, April 30, 2009

Three years ago, Ilan Halimi, a Jewish mobile phone salesman who worked in central Paris, agreed to go on a date with a pretty girl who had, she later confessed, been sent to entrap him. Three weeks later, he was found by railway tracks south of Paris.

He was barely conscious; his body was marked with the evidence of multiple torture and had been doused in fuel and set alight. He died on the way to hospital.

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France honours wartime resistance fighter, 92

By Simon Rocker, April 14, 2009

An Orthodox woman living in Manchester has been awarded one of France’s highest honours for her wartime activities on behalf of the French resistance.

Rose Warfman, 92, a retired nurse and social worker, has become an officer of the Legion of Honour, having previously been made a knight of the order 50 years ago.

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MEPs unite against Le Pen

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Politicians across Europe are planning to unite to stop French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen becoming the “father” of the European Parliament.

Mr Le Pen is expected to be the oldest member of the parliament if re-elected in June, meaning he would chair sessions until a new president is elected

But Socialist and Green party members have proposed a rule change to block him taking up the role.

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Teenager has Paris Metro covered

By Ben Jaglom, February 18, 2009

University College School pupil Charlie Gould has helped to raise over £2,000 for charity by spending almost 16 hours passing through every stop on the Paris Metro.

The 15-year-old South Hampstead Synagogue member was joined by a fellow pupil, Fred Isaac, and teacher Andrew Wilkes on the French expedition. Charlie and Fred had been unsuccessful in an attempt last year to cover every stop on the London Underground.

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France ‘facilitated’ Nazi-era crimes

February 18, 2009

The highest court in France has for the first time recognised the state’s responsibility in the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews during the Nazi era. The Council of State said that the collaborationist Vichy regime had “allowed or facilitated the deportation from France of victims of antisemitism” and called for the “formal admission of the state’s responsibility”.

Around 76,000 French Jews were deported to Nazi camps.

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Anti-Israel violence erupts across world

January 8, 2009

Violence against Jews, and protests and demonstrations linked to the Gaza conflict, have occurred around the world.

The French Jewish community has suffered a number of attacks. The most serious incidents were in Toulouse, where a burning car was crashed into the gates of a synagogue on Monday. According to police, a second car was about to be rammed into the shul but the attackers abandoned the vehicle when an alarm went off. Police found petrol bombs in the vehicle.

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Israel rejects ceasefire call

By Daniella Peled, December 31, 2008

Israel has rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

France had called for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian aid to reach the beleaguered Stri, but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that the plan failed to include any guarantees that Hamas would stop firing rockets at Israeli communities.

However, sources said the truce might be reconsidered if its terms were amended.

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