Paris prosecutors: attack on teens not anti-Semitic

Three Jewish teens were not attacked recently because of anti-Semitism, Paris prosecutors said.

Five of the six suspects questioned in the Sept. 6 assault on three kippah-wearing teenagers were indicted last week for group “voluntary violence,” the French Press Agency reported. The suspects are ages 16 to 23; police had said one of them is Jewish.

Prosecutors ascribed no racist motive to the attack in which the victims were temporarily hospitalized with minor injuries.

French officials and Jewish leaders had immediately condemned what they called the anti-Jewish motives of the attack, which occurred on the same street where a Jewish teen was savagely beaten in June.

Some Jewish leaders still maintain that the most recent attack was religiously motivated.

“The fact that one of the attackers … is Jewish doesn’t change the problem: The anti-Semitic act comes from the choice of target and not from the person who commits it,” said Richard Prasquier, the president of the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, in an interview with the daily newspaper Le Figaro published Sept. 20.

In the same interview, Prasquier also lamented that French Jews are so accustomed to various and widespread forms of anti-Semitism that they do not even report incidents. Though the number of such crimes has not risen in France, he said it remains at a steady “high” level of 82 incidents for the first four months of 2008.

“The most worrisome is to see the most classic theses of anti-Semitism recycled today … a kind of normalization of anti-Semitism,” he said. — jta