World Bulletin / News Desk
Nabila Ramdani, an award-winning French-Algerian freelance journalist, has called on world media to correct false reports that pro-Palestinian protesters of Arab Muslim descend attacked the Roquette Synagogue in Paris in early July.
The Roquette Synagogue, otherwise known as the Synagogue Don Isaac Abravanel, was allegedly attacked by 'Parisians from Arab countries' with weapons on July 13 during pro-Palestine protests against the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip.
A number of news outlets including The Independent, The Tablet and Newseek claimed that Jewish worshippers had barricaded themselves inside the synagogue as demonstrators tried to storm the building with bats, chairs, axes and even firearms.
The incident was used by Manuel Valls, France's Prime Ministerto justify bans on pro-Palestine demonstrations in Paris.
However, according to Ramdani, reports were either based on eye-witness accounts of unidentified individuals or ambiguous writers.
Writing for Middle-East Monitor (MEMO), Ramdani, who claimed to be in the area on the day the alleged attack took place, said: 'Such reports are pure fabrication. Nobody attacked the synagogue, nobody was trapped inside, no worshippers were hurt and there were no missiles thrown at it.'
'Despite this, the fabricated reports are now accepted as fact, and continue to be used to divide communities,' Ramdani said.
'To manufacture inflammatory incidents so as to extend potentially murderous prejudice to thousands of law-abiding and well-meaning Palestine supporters is not just immoral, but thoroughly irresponsible. The false reports on the Roquette Synagogue attack should be corrected, and the rabble rousers perpetuating such mistruths called to account,' she added.
Explaining the reality on the ground on that day, Ramdani explained: 'What actually happened was that a vigilante group called the LDJ (Ligue de Défense Juive, or Jewish Defence League) stormed away from the synagogue towards a largely peaceful protest in Place de la Bastille. Armed with metal batons, gas canisters and café chairs and tables, they initiated street fights with their enemies while chanting 'F*** Palestine'.'
'The truth was not only recorded on film, but Serge Benhaïm, the President of the Synagogue, confirmed categorically that there had been no attack on his place of worship, and no damage caused to it or those inside. He said that none of the opposing groups had got within 150 metres of his synagogue and that the LDJ, which is on the FBI's list of outlawed terrorist organisations, should be banned in France "if it cannot be controlled",' she continued.
Ramdani complained that such false reports, that do not face any scrutiny from the world media before being circulated globally, only increases Islamophobia. 'Neither French Jews nor Muslims deserve this kind of crass fabrication. It is solely designed to heighten tensions between the two communities and distract from the horrors of the conflict,' she said.