EJC Executive Vice-President Raya Kalenova and EJC Director for European Affairs Ariella Woitchik attended CRIF annual dinner at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.
The event brings together French and international Jewish leaders as well as politicians, ambassadors, artists, religious figures and media personalities.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne was this year’s guest of honour. During her address she called to “fight antisemitism with all our might, wherever it is and wherever it is hiding” and explained the story of her family, in particular the deportation of her father to Auschwitz.
“Together with my grandfather and my uncles, he was arrested by the Gestapo. Then came the sealed wagons, the orders, the beatings, the humiliations. Drancy, Auschwitz. They were 1,250 at the start. Only six came back.”
Borne also recalled her wish that “each student in France makes at least one visit to a place of memory during their years at school”, one of the measures of the new plan to combat racism, antisemitism and discrimination on grounds of origin for the years 2023-2026, presented three weeks ago.
For his part, the President of CRIF, Yonathan Arfi recalled the role of education in the fight “against hatred”. “Antisemitism is also taking new forms,” he said, citing in particular “Islamism”, “conspiracy theories” and “hatred towards Israel”.
Arfi also insisted on the positive narratives to fight ignorance: “The fact of being Jewish being considered as a positive cultural fact.”