“In France, it is a movement made up of French citizens who defend the Jewish community when faced with aggression, and also defends Israel in a more general manner.”“In terms of ideology, we are Zionists, pro-Israeli, and we share similar ideologies to that of the Ichud Leumi ["National Union"] party in Israel.”
“People say we are extreme because we believe in Judea and Samaria, and that this belongs to the Israelis, the Jews, but I don’t consider this to be extreme.”
“We are active, the authorities are aware of us, and we maintain good relations with them,” he said.
Nicolas Shahshahani, manager of La Librarie Resistances, a bookstore located in a quiet neighbourhood of Paris, has been the victim of such aggression. The first attack occurred in December 2006 soon after the store’s opening, when Shahshahani asked two Jewish authors, the late Tanya Reinhart and Aharon Shabtai to speak, both critics of Israeli policy in the occupied territories.Midway through the event, the bookstore was suddenly filled with tear gas, as a group of six masked people wearing helmets, and armed with iron bars entered and raided the store, shouting obscenities at the attendees.“They broke the windows, and I had to go to the hospital to get treatment for the teargas,” Shahshahani told Al Jazeera. “We launched a complaint against the police, but of course there was no investigation.”
“This is just as efficient as fire, if not more, if you want to damage a bookshop,” explained Shahshahani.
“The aggressor wasn’t present in the court, neither was his lawyer, and the judge therefore took it upon himself to interrogate the victim for two hours, trying to make the victim say it was a fight rather than an act of aggression,” essentially playing the role of the defence lawyer, she told Al Jazeera.
“It gives the signal to others that there is a possibility to continue with this type of aggression, because it is not dealt with harshly,” said Cochain. “In my opinion, there is a certain level of tolerance between the French authorities and this group.”
“I’ve been verbally abused and menaced because of the cases I do,” she said. “They’ve called me the ‘devil lawyer’ and taken my photo,” adding that she can identify them by the JDL logos they flash at her.
“Our adversaries say we work hand in hand with them, but we don’t,” he said. “We just divide the work. For example, if there is a protest we are involved in, the police secure the streets, and we secure the entrances.”“The police know that we are there to protect the community,” he added.
“They hear about pro-Palestinian demonstrations, such as the Gaza flotilla solidarity events we had this summer, and they show up and start abusing people. It’s not self-defence when they actively search for the demonstration,” he said. “They hide in the streets when demonstrations happen, and attack the tail-end of the protests.”
“Officially CRIF says they are separate from us, but there is the official position, and then there is reality. When there is something going on, they call us.”
“it is not a show, but a serious gesture of solidarity. This is a serious trip; we’ve sent over people who are slightly older, with more experience, between the ages of 24 and 35″, including three women.“We know the IDF doesn’t need us, but we’re going to show our solidarity. We’re going over to make sure all areas are covered, and to defend the settlements,” he said.
“They are publicly recruiting people with military experience, French citizens with military experience, to serve a foreign country with guns, what is this called?” he said.“We all know of people who were sent to Guantanamo, including French citizens, because of actions like these. What about the ones who aid the Israeli army?”