The AIPAC delegation asked Roger Cukierman about the various actions led by CRIF to support Israel and to fight anti-Semitism.
CRIF's Chairman explained that since his inception three years ago, the umbrella body representing French Jewry had doubled its budget, thanks to a group of private donators he gathered. This enabled CRIF to increase its staff and to devote more time and energy in supporting Israel and in fighting anti-Semitism.
CRIF has now regular meetings with the main cabinet ministers and is involved in the decision-making process of the French administration to fight anti-Semitism. CRIF also meets union leaders and representatives of the civil society. CRIF organized several mass demonstrations through France in support of Israel. The organization also launched a major project aimed at the French media. "Many journalists here are simply ill-trained and have little or no knowledge at all about Israel, its background, about Jews and their history. So we decided to take some of the leading French journalists on special tours to Israel. We go along with them. We do not try to turn this into propaganda tours, but simply to show them the reality of Israel. It seems to work," said Cukierman. "Palestinian terrorists are not called anymore "Resistants", but "activists". It's a beginning," added CRIF's Chairman.
On the issue of anti-Semitism, Cukierman and the leaders of CRIF said that the current French government was doing its best to put an end to the attacks against the Jews. Lawyer Samuel Pisar stressed that French President Jacques Chirac is by no means an anti-Semite. However, he has to take into account the large Muslim population living in France – about 10% of the total – when he sets the course of the French foreign policy in the Middle East. This does not mean that there is no room for improvement of the French policy towards Israel, said Pisar, but that the French leadership is concerned about the possibility of having to face an Intifada in the suburbs of the main French cities where Muslims are living.
Jonathan Arfi, leader of the French Union of Jewish Students, explained that the main anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist threat on the campuses was not coming from the extreme right wing groups, but from the extreme left wing Trotskyite ones who fully support Palestinian extremists.
AIPAC representatives invited CRIF to send a delegation to attend the AIPAC Policy Conference and the Political Action Seminar for European Leaders on May 16-18, 2004 in Washington, DC