Dispelling Rumors in Tunisia

Bonnie Squires

Today the president of the Jewish community in Tunisia, Roger Bismuth, informed AFP (Agence France Press) that no anti-Semitic act has been signaled in Tunisia since the start of the popular revolution.

Cautioning against a rumor that surfaced on Tuesday regarding a fire in a synagogue, Mr. Bismuth declared “at no time were the Tunisian Jews either a target of attacks or targets of foul comments during this revolution.”

The chief of the Tunisian Jewish community, which numbers 1600 persons, stated a “formal denial” of “a rumor describing a fire in a synagogue” on Monday evening in El Hamma, near the coastal town of Gabes (south east). He added that “There is no synagogue in El Hamma. There is a mausoleum for a great Rabbi, which is a site of pilgrimage. Monday night several buildings in the region were the target of vandalism and the guard house of the mausoleum was vandalized and a few chairs stolen.”

The Jewish community in itself was not a target. He explained that “A building of the UGTT (the main Tunisian labor union) was vandalized, and so were other buildings.”

More after the jump.
“We need to be very careful with rumors. Some are trying to make us believe that there is an intention to attack synagogues. That is not true.” He insisted, “We are neither worried, nor did we request special security protection from the government because we are convinced that there is no reason to do so.”

Tuesday, several leaders in the local Jewish community mistakenly confirmed to AFP and AP (Africa Press) a fire in the synagogue at El Hamma, after allegations were made by an Anti-Semitism watch-dog group in Paris.

Several officers in the Tunisian league for human rights denied these allegations and warned against the multitudes of rumors of different kind circulating in the country while security was not totally re-established.  


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