Almost 3 mil take to French streets in solidarity

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UPDATED TUESDAY: Millions of Charlies marched against hate yesterday. It quickly became a sign of solidarity with their Jewish citizens. Late last night, French police said at least 1,6 million had been on the streets of Paris, and another two million around the country. Whatever the final figures were, it was undoubtedly the biggest gathering of French citizenry ever – exceeding the numbers who came out to meet the Allied soldiers who relieved Paris during WWII! #JE SUIS JUIF became the new trending watchword. SEE THE STUNNING PICS!
by ANT KATZ | Jan 12, 2015

Updated January 13, 16:00: French authorities increased their estimates on Monday evening to almost 4 million! They also announced that a further 10 000 soldiers and 5 000 police will be added to the already beefed-up contingent providing security to keypoints in the country - many of which are Jewish, they said.

 #JE SUIS JUIF - ‘I Am Jewish’ – became the latest hashtag to dominate the Net

It began with a sullen silence among the marchers on the streets of Paris. They had come to mourn together about the events of the past week - grief hung in the air.


March 5But, as the procession - led by the families of the 17 people slain during the three-day killing rampage by three Islamist extremists - their grief turned. First to anger, and, later, as they partied through the night, to a joyous celebration of their half-a-million Jewish compatriots.

Their message became clear: “Enough is enough! Never again!”

The family mourners leading the procession were followed by more than 40 world leaders – and behind them, almost two-million Parisians and others from around France and the world who had gathered to share the historic moment, and the crucial message.

French President François Hollande linked arms with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, EU President Donald Tusk and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Four heads of state separated Bibi from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

March 1

French President Francois Hollande is surrounded by heads of states including Israel's PM, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Donald Tusk and, strategically placed well away from Bibi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as they attend the solidarity march in the streets of Paris

“Paris is today the capital of the world. Our entire country will rise up and show its best side,” said Hollande.

The AFP newswire, quoting an unnamed French official, said that at least 1,6-million people had taken part in the Paris rally, with two million more joining other marches around the country in Sunday. Another French official simply said the numbers were “uncountable.” There were solidarity rallies in cities around the world.

A reported 2 200 police and soldiers were among the crowd in Paris. Snipers were deployed on rooftops, and plainclothes officers mingled with the crowd, looking for potential threats. Sewers along the route of the march were searched ahead of time and nearby subway stations were closed. Helicopters circled low overhead, but there were no reported security incidents.

March Juis

The GLOBE& wrote that “what began as sombre mourning in Paris rose to become a defiant celebration of French values, with the crowd frequently chanting ‘Charlie!’ – a tribute to the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical newspaper that was attacked last Wednesday at the beginning of France’s three-day-long nightmare – or just ‘Liberty’!”.

A giant marionette of a bloodied Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic, moved through the crowd to the rhythmic beating of drums.

 “We are all Charlie” signs were joined by others reading “We are all police” or “We are all Jews” – salutations to the trio of police officers who died in the violence, as well as the four victims of a Friday hostage-taking at a kosher grocery store. After the march, Hollande and Netanyahu were cheered as they jointly visited the Great Synagogue of Paris, which closed during the nearby hostage siege, shutting its doors for Shabbat prayers for the first time since WWII.

Muslims, Christians & Jews rally together

“We are all journalists today, we are all police officers. We are all defenders of this democracy we created centuries ago, and for which millions have died,” said Jérome Beaumont, a 58-year-old employee at an IT company who sported three “Je suis Charlie” stickers on his clothing. “It’s a demonstration to show that we are regrouping amid a difficult period, whether we are Muslims, Christians, Jews, white, black, red, green.”

Nearby, a middle-aged man held a banner reading “The republic against fanaticism,” while two young girls sat on a parked car waving hand-coloured signs with a simpler message: “We’re not afraid.”

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The latter was a common theme. “We need to show that we are not afraid. It’s a global struggle, and we want to show that they won’t win, and that we’re mobilising,” said Didier Vallet, a 47-year-old city hall employee.

Dozens of different flags were carried by the crowd, which was so dense that at times it was impossible to move. Some carried the banners of neighbouring European countries, while others waved the flags of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, North African countries where many French Muslims have their roots.

'Ana Charlie' – Arabic for 'I am Charlie'

“I’m Moroccan, but I’m also Charlie,” said Selma Douzzi, a 20-year-old commerce student who wrote “ana Charlie” – Arabic for “I am Charlie” – on a cardboard sign she held aloft as she marched. “I’m a Muslim and I wanted to show that we’re not all terrorists.”

In solidarity with the marchers in France, tens of thousands of people gathered in cities around the world, including: Brussels, Berlin, London, Moscow, Washington, Sydney, Tokyo, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Toronto and Montreal.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not attend the rally in Paris. “He had already committed to the organizers of the Sir John A Macdonald [anniversary] events in Kingston,” a spokesman said.

March 1


The French held a peaceful response to the barbaric attacks - in true French style..

France’s week of terror began on Wednesday with the attack on Charlie Hebdo, which left a total of 12 people dead sparking a nationwide manhunt for the suspected perpetrators, the Paris-born brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi.

While the search for the Kouachi brothers was unfolding, a third gunmen – Amedy Coulibaly – entered the fray, shooting dead a policewoman in the south of the city on Thursday before taking hostages at the Hyper-Cacher supermarket on Friday, killing four Jews who were doing last-minute shopping before Shabbos.

Conflicting claims of responsibility

Hours later, the Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly were shot dead during separate but near-simultaneous gun battles with police.

There have been conflicting claims of responsibility, with the Kouachi brothers telling onlookers that they acted on behalf of al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen. But in a video discovered Sunday,

Bibi 13

LEFT: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Paris, after the rally on Sunday evening: “I marched now in one row with world leaders in order to unite against terrorism. I told them that terrorism, any terrorism, must be fought to the end. I would like to thank our security people, and the French security services, for allowing us – despite not inconsiderable difficulties – to participate in this important rally and to represent the citizens of the State of Israel.”

Coulibaly claimed he was loyal to the so-called Islamic State that has taken over swaths of Syria and Iraq this year. Coulibaly said he and the Kouachis had co-ordinated their actions, though al-Qaida and Islamic State are seen as rivals that are not known to have previously worked in tandem.

Police confirmed Sunday that Coulibaly’s girlfriend and alleged accomplice, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, had arrived in Turkey on January 2. The Turks, who had her on a terror watchlist, tracked her to the Syrian border and she has not been seen since.


With this vast outpouring, the French have shown that they still care about their republic, the world’s oldest, and its values.

They also made it clear that they care about their 500 000 Jewish compatriots, many of whom have been there since the republic was founded on September 22, 1792 during the French Revolution. Today France’s total population numbers 77 million.

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Almost 3 million took to the streets

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  1. 6 Choni 12 Jan
    In my opinion the only good that will come from this event is a hastening of the ingathering of exiles.
     As far as Israel is concerned the values that the 'free' world are defending are values that are far removed from Torah values. Nowhere, except in Israel can Torah values be restored for the Jewish nation.
  2. 5 Mordechai 12 Jan
    With all due respect to Mr Ant Katz I disagree with your opening above and call on all Jews not to be fooled by the French and the march. Don't be fooled by those saying (as above) that the March quickly became a sign of solidarity with their Jewish citizens - If the French felt anything for the death of the Jews then there would have been outrage two years ago when the Jewish school was attacked and a number of Jews were killed. This March was all about the death of the 12 journalists period. Just look at the disgraceful treatment of Prime Minister Netanyahu by the French President
  3. 4 Choni 12 Jan
    In a place where there are no men, be a man.
    Ant Katz, Stop being 'neutral' and apolitical.
    As a leader (editors have more influence on the community than most other leaders), it is time for you to lead our young Jews on a new path of freedom. Freedom from the exile. Even if you yourself cannot leave this exilic 'cemetery', there is no reason for you not to influence our young people. The Rabbis are not doing it.
    Come on Ant, What have you got to loose.

    Wrong, Choni. The duty of an editor is to inform from a neutral standpoint (that being the centre-point of their particular audience) on all sides of the debate equally and allow their consumer to make an intelligent choice to suit their own needs. Therefore, when it comes to politics of any sort, the editor of a broad-based opinion MUST remain apolitical. Their is no journalistic or ethical doubt about that.- not one iota of it.
    Having said that, does this publication have a pro-Jewish and pro-Zionist audience and agenda? Of course. Does it's audience have varied views on:

    - RELIGION: Yes. From Chareidi to Reform to Christian Zionists - I am aware that you don't subscribe to the Chabad theological school of thought. Would you like us to not report on them?

    - ZIONISM: Very much so. Passionately. And from every conceivable standpoint I hasten to add. Does this mean we should choose yours, which you continue to make abundantly clear, at the expense of others? Of course not. That would be called propaganda or brain-washing. Surely you cannot be in favour of Goebels-style control of the media to sell only your standpoint?

    - ALIYAH: As you are fond of espousing almost daily, if you had the freedom of choice you would make it obligatory. Don't you understand that all of our audience have the freedom of choice. Their own choice, to suit their own needs and circumstances. Is it your belief that an editor should only put forward your political position on this? If so, I am sorry to say, you just do not get it. We credit all of our readers with the inteligence to take their own decisions on this. You, on the other hand, seem to feel that they are all stupid if they don't take your position. An editor's job is to protect the broader readership from a bigoted position. Read as: "apolitical."

    Of course we are a publication whose audience is primarily Jewish, two-thirds South Africa, pro-Israel (i.e. pro-Zionist) and respectful of all streams of Judaism. We do not apologise for that. We have many Christian and Muslim readers - the former group mostly because they are supporters of Israel and the latter group mostly because they are not. We do not provide content specifically for this peripheral audience, but we certainly allow them to voice their opinions, too.  

    It is not the funtion of an editor of a broad-based readership to tell people to think like Choni. What political party to support in SA, Israel, the US. What stream of religion to follow. Whether to be a One-stater, a Two-stater or a Three-stater.

    The purpose of an editor in my position is to present the various opinions of my audience - and not to give them yours. In other words, to be APOLITICAL but supportive of our core principles as Jews, for which we make no apologies.

    Oh, and finally, as an editor one has to ensure that a single point of view (Read: bigotry) s NEVER allowed to pervade this space.

    Most of our readers wake up every morning wanting to learn  something new in their day, not to be re-told over and over again by Choni that the editor should only offer them Choni's one-sided view of things. 

    Trying to tell our users what to think in any shape or form, on any topic whatsoever - outside our core principles - how and what to think is an insult to their intelligence. And, given the dozens of times you have publically called on me to indoctrinate them with your bigoted political positions, exclusively, my friend, insults my intelligence.

    [email protected] 

  4. 3 Denis Solomons 13 Jan
    What a show of solidarity but where was President Obama ! ?
    Surely the USA should have sent a representative to show some sort of solidarity with French Jews and to show that terrorism is outlawed globally .
    Al Queda were obviously behind the whole plot.
    But 3 million people is a good turnout for the march !
  5. 2 Mordechai 14 Jan
    I firmly believe that there are two reasons why S Africa's Jewish leaders need to and must tell the youth (thirty five and under) that it is time to leave S Africa and that they MUST. Firstly that the infrastructure is crumbling (power, water, roads etc) and will only get worse and Secondly that S Africa is 100% and openly and proudly anti Israel and 100% and proudly pro Israel enemies (being those wanting to destroy the Jewish state of Israel). Now the question is should the Jewish leadership only support/promote Aliyah or going to other countries, being USA, Canada, Australia. My answer is that Israel must clearly be the priority and promoted way above the other three countries, however those who can't make Aliyah must be encourage to leave the openly and proudly Israel hating country of S Africa. Living in Johannesburg's Jewish ghettos with multiple Jewish day schools, Shules on every corner,Kosher restuarants galore, Shiurim of every description while keeping their heads in the sand is not the answer nor is it the responsible approach to adopt by Jewish leadership. Nat as a Jewish leader you owe it to your Jewish youth to tell them...leave, leave leave, go, go, go
  6. 1 Choni 14 Jan
    Careful Mordechai, Next you will be labelled a bigot.
    I admit that  90% of my opinions are based on my Torah study, and if this makes me a bigot then I am proud to be one. Obviously the SAJR is a secular liberal publication, and therefore anything which is contrary to their image is bigotry even if it is Torah truth.
    The editor, himself has wisely stated that he was brought up to believe that nobody should question the Torah. If this is true, and I'm sure he believes it, then surely my Torah quotes should not be questioned, and I should not be labelled a bigot.
    The three examples that Ant accuses me of being bigoted are a case in point, and in each one these are Torah, and cannot be questioned.
    Religion: I agree that Chabad adhere 100% to the Holy Torah, and yes Ant, no other form of Torah is allowed to be expoused in a Jewish publication.
    Zionism. There is only form of Zionism, and that is Torah Zionism (and cannot be questioned) Any other form of Zionism is "counterfeit", and therefore against Torah.
    Aliyah. All our sages, both Rishonim, and Acharonim, agree that Yishuv Eretz Yisrael is a Torah mitzvah, and should not be questioned.

    To sum up. Ant, All I am doing in all my comments is following, not my opinions, but the truth of Torah.
    As a Jewish publication you cannot have it both ways.
    Either you adhere to your credo of Not to question the Torah, or allow all the anti-Torah, secular 'trash' that is sent in. Once again, if Torah is bigotry, the I'm proud to be one. If you have for the last 6 years put up with my bigotry, somewhere in your heart, you know that I'm right, because Torah is right.


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