April 25, 2002
Protest Against French Anti-Semitism
About 40 protesters lined up in front of the French consulate in Westwood on April 12 and 19 to protest anti-Semitism in France. The group, led by StandWithUs, the same organization that helped arrange recent pro-Israel rallies in Los Angeles, presented a French government representative with a declaration urging the government to denounce incitement and anti-Semitism against France's 500,000 population Jewish community.
"We are aware that there have been between 350 and 450 attacks against Jewish institutions and Jewish individuals. This level of anti-Semitism in France has not been as severe since the rise of German extremism in the late 1930s," the declaration stated.
David Elbaz of Betar, David Suissa on behalf of Olam and Jews for Truth Now, and Roz Rothstein, a representative of StandWithUs, met with French consulate representatives, including Deputy Consul General Michel Charbonnier and press attaché Valerie Luebken-Martinache.
Rothstein said the French representatives blamed the situation in France on tensions in the Middle East. "I reminded them what this country did after Sept. 11," Rothstein said. "We protected our Muslims, and that's what a country has to do with its citizens."
Luebken-Martinache described the meeting as "a dialogue. I understand that there are problems in France, but I don't agree with that, that my country is anti-Semitic."
StandWithUs will picket in front of the French consulate every Friday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., until the situation improves, Rothstein said, adding that similar demonstrations will be staged in New York and other cities. -- Michael Aushenker, Staff Writer
California- Israel Pact
California and Israel signed a cultural cooperation agreement at a reception at the Beverly Hills Hotel celebrating Israeli Independence Day.
Gov. Gray Davis and L.A. Israeli Consul General Yuval Rotem signed an agreement creating the California-Israel Cultural Cooperation Commission, the goal of which is to "promote a deeper understanding of shared values through the arts and cultural affairs." The cultural agreement is the first of its kind for California. Israel has similar agreements with New York, Ohio, Tennessee and North Carolina. -- Staff Report