[Google translation from French original:]
In his speech at the national ceremony commemorating the roundup of July 16, 1942, the president of Crif calls on France not to participate in the so-called "Durban IV" conference, which is to take place in September in New York.
Below is the full text of the speech.
SPEECH BY FRANCIS KALIFAT,
PRESIDENT OF CRIF
AT THE NATIONAL CEREMONY OF TRIBUTE TO VICTIMS
FROM THE RAFLE OF JULY 16, 2021
AND ANTI-SEMITIS PERSECUTIONS OF THE VICHY REGIME
PARIS, JULY 18, 2021
It is undoubtedly a paradox to evoke my joy on this day of commemoration of one of the most terrible crimes committed in our country, but I am particularly happy to see you again, to see you, after a year and a half of suspended time. , dedicated to the fight against COVID-19 which has literally paralyzed our lives.
Concordance of dates, this Sunday, July 18, 2021, 9 Av 5781 of the Hebrew calendar the Jewish people remembers and mourns the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem on 9 Av of the year 70, marking the beginning of the dispersion and the exile physical and spiritual of the Jewish people and France remembers the tragic fate of 9,037 adults and 4,115 children arrested on July 16 and 17, 1942 by the French police.
Memories of the shattered lives of shattered destinies, of shattered families, of children who will never reach adolescence and will have known of existence only the most atrocious of ends.
The roundups of July 16 and 17, 1942 were a change for more than 13,000 Jews in Paris and its region.
This is the beginning for Esther Sénot of a long wandering across the whole of France which will eventually be followed by an arrest and then deportation to Auschwitz. For Rachel Jedinak, it is a tear from her mother, and the memory of that last gesture that will save her life, a slap that she gives her to take her off her skirt. For Arlette and Madeleine Testyler, it is the horror of being locked up in the Vel d'Hiv and then deportation to Beaune la Rolande. It’s for Joseph Szwarc, who testified today, farewell to his father, mother, brother, all murdered at Auschwitz. And for 4,115 children, it’s a death warrant. Their names, first names, and ages are engraved forever thanks to Serge Klarsfeld in the Memorial Garden on rue Nélaton. This garden is their burial place.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Vel d'Hiv is a French story. July 16, 1942 is one of those days which defeated France. A black page of our history written in indelible ink. Jacques Chirac's speech here in 1995 still resonates in all of us: "France, homeland of the Enlightenment and of Human Rights, land of welcome and asylum, France that day accomplished the irreparable. Breaking her word, she handed over her charges to their tormentors".
All his successors have written these words and President Emmanuel Macron here in 2017 reminded us forcefully that: “The Vichy government was not an accident in the history of France, Vichy was not born outside ground."
Yes Vichy was rooted in the fertile ground for the trivialization of racism and anti-Semitism of the Third Republic, a real cultural code of the 1930s which allowed Xavier Vallat, future commissioner for Jewish questions, to publicly regret in the hemicycle by speaking by Léon Blum that "This old Gallo-Roman country is ruled by a Jew". The situation of the Jews during this period is known today and our country holds a clear position on the importance of the transmission and teaching of the history of the Holocaust. I want to pay tribute to the survivors of the Holocaust, it was their tireless determination that gave the Vel d'Hiv a story and then a memory. Their testimonies opened the doors of the consciences of our compatriots.
As it makes us salute the essential work of Memory accomplished in France by all memory institutions and associations. I am thinking in particular of the Shoah Memorial, the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, the Union of the Deportees of Auschwitz, the Cercil and of course the French Committee for Yad Vashem which perpetuates the memory of these French raised in rank of Righteous Among the Nations. They are the hope forged in the humanism of the Enlightenment on which our Republic was built. This day is also theirs. That of a spark of humanity in the Nazi night. Without their courage, without their empathy, without their abnegation, there is no doubt that for the Jews of France the toll would have been much heavier. Let us remember their faces the brightness of their eyes shone in the night.
The ceremony that brings us together this morning is not just the commemoration of a historic event. It is also the questioning of consciousnesses in the present.
Are we still, collectively, living up to the words we say here every year? Are we still faithful to the intimate promise that we renew here every July to the missing and to the survivors? Sometimes I have doubts today.
Everywhere in the public debate, I hear an identity music coming up: that of them and us. Of them against us. Gradually attacking the edifice of Universalism that the Jews in France have always considered their best ally. A columnist-candidate seeks to rehabilitate Pétain and despite this enjoys the sympathy of a section of public opinion, galvanized by his provocations. A far-right candidate who is predicted to be in the second round of the presidential election had these words: “I think France is not responsible for the Vel d'Hiv. If there are any responsible, it is those who were in power at the time. It is not France. Far, very far, from the work of Memory accomplished by our country.
As at other times in history, anti-Semitism has become a bridge between the far left and the far right. A declared presidential candidate blows unashamedly on the embers of anti-Semitism. He quietly accuses the Chief Rabbi of England of being responsible for the defeat of his alter ego Jeremy Corbyn.
In France, his criticism of communitarianism only targets Jewish institutions, and in particular the Crif, accused of instrumentalizing the fight against anti-Semitism. He is now developing foul-smelling conspiracy analyzes. This same conspiracy that plagues people's minds; carried by the health crisis, it is a pretext for all the shortcuts and historical confusions. How shocked and outraged you were at these indecent images of immunization opponents wearing a yellow star. They inspire me with deep anger and disgust. It is an outrage to the memory of the victims of Nazi barbarism.
Ladies and gentlemen,
While hatred feeds on laissez-faire, renunciation and helplessness, it also grows on a feeling of impunity. On April 14, 2021 the Court of Cassation upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal of the investigating chamber declaring the murderer of Sarah Halimi criminally irresponsible. This iniquitous decision takes away 20 years of effort and struggle so that we can finally recognize that the acts and violence suffered by French Jews are not ordinary violence but rather the violent expression of a new anti-Semitism. . If the Sarah Halimi affair has so traumatized French Jews, isn't it also because for the first time since the Shoah, they have rediscovered the frightening sensation that the public institution, in this case the Justice , did not protect them.
In analyzing these links between the history of the Shoah and contemporary anti-Semitism, I would also like to point out a particularly pernicious approach, that of the criticism of Israel which claims to derive its legitimacy from the Memory of the Shoah. This is the case with those who call Israel a Nazi state. The perversity of this equating is not only in the obsessive demonization of Israel. It lies in the fact that by this equivalence it in a way absolves the Nazis. It frees Europe from its fault since the victims themselves would become guilty. Dismantling this sham is arguably one of the major challenges in the post-Holocaust world. The Durban conference in 2001 was the most glaring example of this anti-Semitic delirium.
As the United Nations prepares to celebrate Durban's 20th anniversary next September, with a new international conference known as Durban IV, I want to launch here a solemn appeal to the leaders of our country so that France does not lose its soul and does not bring its international guarantee by participating in this masquerade. Other democratic countries, natural allies of France in the fight for Human Rights, including the United States, the United Kingdom or Canada and others have announced that they will not participate in this campaign. peak of shame. I wish from the bottom of my soul that my country did not go astray.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Anti-Semitism is never a figment of the imagination. It creeps on our walls, disfigures our buildings and streets, it creeps, winds and wallows in the silence of the night. The insult is easy, it is cowardly and almost always anonymous. Some hate Jews and Israel so much that they even prey on the dead, cowardly desecrating cemeteries, ransacking graves, and painting swastikas on the stelae of our dead. Others also attack the living.
On this national day in memory of the victims of racist and anti-Semitic crimes of the French state and of homage to the Righteous of France, I would like to recall once again the memory of the twelve French men, women and children murdered since the beginning of the 2000s just because they were Jews.
Their names and their faces inhabit my mind every day. Lamenting is no longer enough, we must fight. It is with this surge that I call the People of France. For the anti-Semitic act is a devious evil that often thrives on guilty silence and another cowardice called indifference. We must denounce the unconsciousness of those who do not commit it but who do not rise up against those who do. Their silence endorses him, their indifference feeds him.
This anti-Semitism, which has resurfaced for 20 years, was the premonitory sign of a resurgence of hatred and violence in our country: sexism, homophobia, hatred of France, but also a growing hostility against Muslims and Christians. Because as so often in history, while anti-Semitism begins with the Jews, it never ends with the Jews.
The permanence of anti-Semitism in our country, its uninhibited rise, and its trivialization, are for us a major concern, because we also know that beyond the danger, for us Jews, it is a threat for France altogether. whole, a threat to harmony and peace in our country."