Remembering & Acting

Today the French Jewish community commemorates the synagogue bombing which tok place thirty years ago outside the oldest and largest Reform synagogue in France, the ULIF Synagogue, also known as the Copernic Synagogue due to its location rue Copernic.

On October 3, 1980, on the eve of Simchat Torah. About 10 kilograms (22 lb) of explosives hidden in the saddlebags of a motorcycle parked outside the synagogue detonated, killing four passers-by and injuring 42 people inside. Obviously because of the date the synagogue was rather full (it is estimated that 300 people were present) and it is a miracle there were “only” four casualties.

Although this happened three decades ago, it is stil present in people’s memories. One reason is the controversial remark made by France’s then Prime Minister Raymond Barre when he denounced “A hateful attack which wanted to strike at the Jews who were in that synagogue, and which [instead] struck innocent French people who were crossing the street.”

Twenty-five years after the terror attack, a Canadian professor, Hassan Diab, was arrested on charges that he was involved in the bombing. He has not been extradited yet and is still in Canada. As his case will be examined on November, 8 2010 you are welcome to sign the online petition requiring that he be brought to justice in France.