# 75 / Editorial

European Jewish life could only resume in the aftermath of the Holocaust on the predicate that the state would ensure the safety of the decimated communities. The first two decades of the post-war era saw minuscule levels of violence directed at the continent’s diminished Jewish presence. But that began to change after the Six-Day War, when pro-Palestinian terrorists (and later Islamists) started to target Jewish individuals, sites and groups as proxies for the state of Israel. This did not mean that the older antisemitism of the far-right disappeared, but it was the terrorists of the Palestinian cause who reintroduced the bloodshed to Europe. The names are seared into our minds, the murders at the Munich Olympics, the assault on Paris’ Rue Copernic Synagogue, the bombing of the Chez Jo Goldenberg restaurant in the capital city’s Marais neighborhood, the brutal slaughter of Leon Klinghoffer…

We invite our readers this week to revisit three articles documenting the emergence of antisemitic terrorism in Europe in the postwar era. The first two pieces, centering on the 1982 bombing of Rome’s Central Synagogue and the 1989 murder of the president of Belgium’s Jewish federation, force us to question the state’s promise of security to Jewish communities. Agnes Bensimon’s article on the assassination of Belgian Jewish official Joseph Wybran, shot to death in the parking lot of the hospital where he served as a doctor, points to the state’s complicity in the non-prosecution of his murderers. The same holds true for Simone Disegni’s inquiry into the attack on Rome’s Central Synagogue, which left dozens wounded and a child dead. Both Italian and Belgian security services are suspected of having cooperated with the Abu Nidal network to gather intelligence and protect national interests in the Middle East. The terrorist cell, responsible for the Rome and Brussels attacks, is said to have been left a free hand to target Jews. These are explosive, disturbing accusations, now being investigated by parliamentarians and journalists in both countries. How sincere are the commitments of post-European states to Jewish security? How readily do such commitments cede in the face of raison d’état or geopolitics? We cannot avoid such dolorous queries.

French authorities have battled the wave of Islamist terror in good faith, but have been at pains to arrest it; terrorism, insofar as it can a group wherever and whenever, is almost impossible to prevent entirely. The country boasts Europe’s largest Jewish community and has predictably become the greatest theater of antisemitic violence on the continent. The deadliest episode in the antisemitic terror campaign in France remains the murder of seven people, including four children, at Toulouse’s Ohr Torah day school in 2012. Toulouse’s Jewish community has not recovered from the massacre, having since lost a third of its population.

In the third article we reprint this week, Franck Touboul, head of the city’s chapter of CRIF, France’s Jewish federation, is interviewed by K.’s editor-in-chief Stéphane Bou and the filmmaker Georges Benayoun, who produced a French-language documentary on the Ohr Torah attack (Chronique d’un antisémitisme d’aujourd’hui, or Chronicle of a Contemporary Antisemitism). Touboul does not traffic in false optimism; he tells K. that his role is “to manage the decline” of his community, whose most affluent and mobile members have left the region, or even the country. He observes that the terror campaign that started against the Jews more than three decades has now extended to the rest of society. Cartoonists. Vacationers. Catholics. France, as a whole, now finds itself in the line of fire. He reminds us of the founding premise of this magazine: The crisis of Europe’s Jews is the crisis of Europe tout court.

On 3 October 1989, at around 6 pm, Dr. Joseph Wybran, a leading doctor and president of the C.C.O.J.B, the Belgian Jewish federation , was shot at close range in the parking lot of the Erasmus hospital in Brussels. Thirty-three years later, justice has still not been served. Agnès Bensimon reviews for K. the twists and turns of an investigation into a murder whose treatment by the Belgian police and justice system raises questions.

On the 9th of October 1982, a Palestinian commando group targeted a crowd of Roman Jews leaving the synagogue, injuring dozens of people and killing a two-year-old boy. On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the attack, new documents show that the secret service had informed the Italian authorities of the impending danger but that no security arrangements for the synagogue had been put in place. A forthcoming book would confirm the existence of a secret agreement between the Italian state and Palestinian factions during the Years of Lead, but its link to the synagogue of Roma has yet to be proven.

In March 2012, an Islamist terrorist targeted the Ozar Hatorah Jewish School in Toulouse, France. For the first time since the Holocaust, there were Jewish children murdered close at hand in Europe. This week marks the tenth anniversary of the attack in which eight-year-old Myriam Monsonego, Jonathan Sandler and his two sons, Gabriel, three, and Arie, six, were killed. We met with Franck Touboul, the president of the the Jewish Community of Toulouse.

With the support of:

Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.