A France Without Jews Is No Longer Unthinkable

Anti-Semitism Puts Pressure on a Community and a Cherished Idea

A vandalized Jewish cemetery in Herrlisheim, France, December 2018 Vincent Kessler / Reuters

On January 11, 2015, thousands of Parisians gathered in the blistering cold to mourn the killing of four people two days earlier in a kosher supermarket. The killer, Amedy Coulibaly, claimed allegiance to ISIS, just as had his friends Saïd Kouachi and Chérif Kouachi, who had murdered 12 staff members of the satiric journal Charlie Hebdo earlier that week. Surrounded by a dense crowd, then Prime Minister Manuel Valls recalled that France’s Jewish community, the oldest and largest in Europe, had played a vital role in the nation’s history. Without French Jews, he declared, “France is not France.”

Valls’ words met great waves of applause. Near the fifth anniversary of his speech, however, the applause has given way to deepening fears and doubts among French Jews. Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur, one of French Jewry’s most respected and best-known figures, spoke to the impact of the supermarket attack. While she

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