Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Jack Lew Meets With French Jewish Leaders

The Jews of France are committed to remaining in their country, U.S. Treasury secretary Jacob Lew said after meeting with the community’s leadership in Paris.

“What I heard was a real desire to stay in France and have France be a place where they felt safe,” Lew told reporters from the Jewish media in a conference call Tuesday from Poland, where he attended a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Lew’s remarks came in the context of controversy over an appeal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have French Jews immigrate to Israel after an Islamist terrorist attack this month on a kosher supermarket in Paris left four dead. Aliyah has risen from France in recent years, and French political leaders have appealed to the country’s Jews to remain.

Lew did not mention Netanyahu’s appeal in the conference call, but said his conversation Monday with the Jewish leaders revealed a resolve to stick it out in France. Among those he met with were the president of the Union of Jewish Communities of France, Dr. Joel Mergui, and the chief rabbi, Haim Korsia. “It was a combination of deep mourning over the losses they had, but also deep convictions over the importance of values they believe in in France and we believe in in the United States,” he said.

Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to Israel, in a speech Sunday defended Netanyahu’s visit to France after the attack and his appeal to French Jews.

“I am proud that my prime minister made clear to all French Jews that while they have the right to be protected in France, they will be welcomed with open arms in Israel,” Dermer said in Florida at an Israel Bonds gala.

Lew, the most senior Jewish member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, led the U.S. delegation to the Auschwitz commemorations. Obama, in a statement marking the anniversary, drew parallels to the Paris attacks.

“The recent terrorist attacks in Paris serve as a painful reminder of our obligation to condemn and combat rising anti-Semitism in all its forms, including the denial or trivialization of the Holocaust,” he said.

Lisa Monaco, the assistant to Obama for counterterrorism, met Wednesday with French officials to discuss enhancing U.S.-French cooperation in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

A number of Cabinet officials and lawmakers from both parties also issued statements commemorating the Auschwitz anniversary. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), the top members of the House Middle East subcommittee, introduced a nonbinding resolution marking the anniversary and also noting the Paris attack.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.