New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also spoke at the event in New York City, saying Europe bears responsibility to leave no doubt of their absolute commitment to defending its Jews.
The Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, said Thursday that the January Paris attacks were a turning point in acknowledging the growing specter of anti-Semitism in the country.
Rabbi Korsia made this remark while on a trip to New York City. He was speaking at the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan, where he was welcomed by Jewish community leaders and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Children from French families living in New York and attending the Park East Day School welcomed the rabbi with songs in French, Hebrew and English. After the welcome, he spoke for about ten minutes.
His speech addressed the January terrorist attack against France\’s Jewish community and the growing incidents of anti-Semitism spreading across Europe. He outlined the climate that French Jews are living in in the aftermath of the January attacks, emphasizing how the threat had impacted the normal day-to-day life of the French Jewish community.
"For too long I witnessed a sense of indifference in French civil society to anti-Semitic and racist crimes. In wake of terrorist assault on Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher supermarket, the entire society finally rose to say — "No" to the terrorist, "No" to muzzling freedom of speech and freedom of the press. I am of the view that if Charlie Hebdo as such had not happened, I\’m not sure that so many people would march in the street," Rabbi Korsia said.
Earlier this month, about 250 tombs in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France were desecrated for anti-Semitic reasons. The desecration shocked France, where four Jews were killed in January in an attack on a Paris kosher grocery. The grocery attack was linked to the assault on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that ended with 12 dead. A total of 17 people, including journalists, policemen were killed in three days of violence in and around Paris.