PARIS (AP) — Some 2,000 French Jews have demonstrated in Paris to support of Israel’s offensive against Gaza.

Addressing the crowd, the president of the Israelite Consistory of France, Joel Mergui, likened “terrorism that wants to kill in Israel” to “the same that attacks Jewish children in France.”

Hundreds of riot police surrounded a group from the militant Jewish Defense League and ordered them to lower flags that bore a star of David and a clenched fist.

A main axis was blocked off for Tuesday’s demonstration just off the famed Champs-Elysees, and riot police vans lined neighboring streets.

Past Middle East tensions have impacted France, which has western Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim populations, and boosted anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic incidents.