Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo spoke at the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem tonight (Tuesday).
During her talk, she emphasized her understanding for French Jews' concerns. "I strongly condemn anti-Semitism disguised in anti-Zionism," she told the audience on the Forum's opening evening.
It remains to be seen whether Hidalgo will follow her words with equally strong actions. Less than two weeks ago, a memorial plaque dedicated to Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man who was tortured and killed by Muslims, was vandalized in a Parisian suburb. The local mayor condemned the act, but local Jews continued to be singled out for harassment.
The French Jews' sense of abandonment by authorities is not limited to French leaders. US President Barack Obama famously dismissed an attack on a kosher deli in Paris this past January as "randomly [shooting] a bunch of guys in a deli."
Surveys have found that 70 percent of Jews in France are worried about anti-Semitic harassment and 60 percent with being physically attacked. Since 2000, over 7,650 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported to the French Ministry of the Interior. As a result, many are moving to Israel. Last year, more people made aliyah from France than from any other country.
The Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism is held every other year, under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry. It allows experts on anti-Semitism from around the world meet and share ideas over three days.
In addition to Hidalgo, this year's attendees include the German and Romanian justice ministers, the Bulgarian education minister, and the Canadian minister of state for multiculturalism. On the Israeli side, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett are also taking part.