We are filled with horror as the people of Paris reel from the events of this past week. We are filled with grief for those who were killed by Islamist terrorists in this latest wave of barbarism and anti-Semitism. We join with the global Jewish community, and the people of France, in condemning the attacks and in offering prayers for the seventeen victims and their families.
The deadly attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo underscores the threat that the ideology of the attackers makes to our basic democratic freedoms. Sorely underreported is the fact that the terrorist who on Friday murdered Yoav Hattab, Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada z”tl said that he deliberately “was targeting Jews.” This comes amidst a wave of anti-Semitic violence targeting Jews – especially in Europe - in recent years, a result, in part, of demonization of Israel including by some in positions of authority.
In the face of these horrifying acts we stand with the people of France and all decent people in the struggle against an extremist, supremacist ideology that is filled with hatred and backed by violence. At the same time, as we mourn the loss of Police Officer Ahmed Merabet who gave his life at Charlie Hebdo, and as we honor the heroism of Lassana Bathily who saved many lives at the Hyper Cacher market, we affirm that this is a struggle against Islamist terrorism, not a struggle against the vast numbers of decent people in the global Muslim community.
We call upon all the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to join us in condemning these barbaric attacks and to make their voices heard in defense of freedom and in rejection of Islamist extremism.
CJP has opened an emergency fund to aid the French Jewish community and others. CJP itself has made the first contribution of $100,000 to help the families of the four Jews murdered at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket with funeral and burial costs in Israel, trauma relief, and provide ongoing financial support to victims' families. The fund will also support the families of the murdered staff members of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, two of whom were Jewish.
The fund will operate in cooperation with the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the French Jewish community.
Thank you for your support.
Executive Director, JCRC
President, Combined Jewish Philanthropies