PARIS - Some 300 people participated Wednesday evening in a show of support in front of a pro-Palestinian bookstore that was vandalized last week in France. The demonstrators called to dismantle the Jewish Defense League, whose members were allegedly involved in the attack on the store. Four young Jews were arrested Wednesday on suspicions of carrying out the attack.
In the event that took place last weekend, five armed masked people broke into the store, smashed computers and set destroyed books. The store owners accused the Jewish Defense League for carrying out the attack.
Paris police arrested Wednesday four youths between the ages of 16 and 26, all members of the JDL, on suspicions that they carried out the attack. A fifth suspect has yet to be arrested.
Olivia and Nicolas Zamour, owners of the vandalized store, told Ynet about the demonstration, "We saw here today for the first time solidarity of hundreds of people for the Palestinian nation, against the pro-Israeli French government. It seems as though the government here is starting to understand that we have power because today they also arrested some suspects."
The store after being vandalized (Photo: Résistances)
The couple added that beyond showing their solidarity, the demonstrators called to ban the JDL: "This is a fascist organization that does not hesitate to attack people and places. They have no fear because, until today, no steps have been taken against them. However, all of this is going to change. Three years ago, they attacked our bookstore in the middle of the night and broke windows. This time they did it in the middle of the day, fearlessly."
Nicolas Zamour said to Ynet that he is very familiar with the type of youths who join the organization. "This is a group of Jewish hoodlums that were born here. The JDL is peopled by thousands of youths who represent the violent side of the Zionist organization in France, the CRIF, which uses them for intimidation and protection," he said.
Jewish community leader condemns attack
The head of the Jewish community in France (CRIF), Meir Habib, rejected these claims, saying, "We have no connection with the JDL, and we condemn any act of violence. We live in a democratic country, and everyone can express his opinion and sell books, even if they are anti-Israel. I have no idea who perpetrated this criminal act. The police must be allowed to do their job. We trust the rule of law in the country."
During the demonstration, participants carried signs and posters in support of Palestinians.
Olivia Zamour, who also serves as president of the group Euro-Palestine, utilized the event to spread her message. "Palestine is the heart of all the problems in the world. For 60 years already it is functioning as a laboratory showing the world how human rights can be taken from people. How does France consider itself a democracy when Palestine exists? If we accept this there, we will have here the same exact thing," she said, as the crowd cheered.
Her husband echoed her sentiments when he said, "We are the second country in the world that sells weapons to Israel after the United States. Therefore, we have a great responsibility. France needs to stop seeing Muslims in its country as a scapegoat. The first step needs to be support of the Palestinian people, and not of Israel."