PARIS — Listing terrorist attacks in Israel along with other attacks by the Islamic State, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said they showed “we are in a world war.”
Valls made the statement on Monday at a Paris hotel where he spoke before approximately 350 listeners, mostly from the Jewish community, during an event organized by CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities.
Valls noted “upheaval in the Arab world” and “the reality in certain neighborhoods in France, where young people are being radicalized” in explaining the reasons for the existence of a terrorist threat in France.
“There are more and more terrorist attacks all over the world. In France, Burkina Faso, in Jakarta, in Israel, it keeps happening and it shows we need to learn to live with it,” Valls said.
Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF, thanked Valls for appearing at the CRIF event. “On a number of occasions, you said very powerful things: That anti-Zioism is anti-Semitism, that France without its Jews is no longer France,” Cukierman said. “This makes you a dear politician.”
Valls, a Socialist who became prime minister in 2014 after a two-year stint as interior minister, enjoys considerable popularity among French Jews for his firm and outspoken statements against anti-Semitism and his rejection of attempts to boycott or isolate Israel, including through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.
Valls was attacked by his critics for these statements, and for the fact that his wife, Anne Gravoin, is Jewish. In 2011 he said his marriage connected him “in an eternal way” to Israel and the Jewish people.
During the talk Monday, Valls condemned an ex-politician, former foreign minister Roland Dumas, who last year said Valls is “under Jewish influence” because of his wife.
“It is anti-Semitism of the worst kind,” Valls said of Dumas, “and certain compulsive anti-Semites act on the fact that my wife is Jewish.”
Asked whether the government was doing enough to protect French Jews from attacks by anti-Semites following the slaying of four in January 2015 at a kosher supermarket, Vals said: “Yes, we are doing 100 percent, employing all measures, and we will continue to do so, but the risk is not negligible.”