“One response in Paris is rather unique, but it means little within the general European context. In 2013, some members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) chased the Arabs they suspected of having perpetrated an attack a day earlier. The JDL also went into action when a Parisian synagogue was attacked during Israel’s Protective Edge campaign in the summer of 2014. They are on a collision course with the Jewish community which has always been opposed to taking the law in one’s own hands.
“In the Paris suburb of Sarcelles during the summer of 2014, I stood in a cloud of tear gas with Jews who were defending their shul from a pogrom-like rabble. An Arab mob numbering two hundred, armed with sticks and stones, tried to attack the synagogue. They set garbage cans alight and shouted, ‘Slaughter the Jews.’ A police force prevented their attack. The hundred or so JDL supporters who were at the scene, armed with baseball bats and clubs, sang the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, in honor of the police. The Arabs were unable to reach the synagogue but managed to torch two cars and throw a firebomb at a smaller synagogue which was slightly damaged. Over the summer, nine French synagogues were attacked.