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France

Anti-Semitic incidents almost double in France in 2014, Jewish group

media Police seal off a street in Sarcelles during a pro-Gaza demonstration in July Reuters/Benoit Tessier

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in France almost doubled over the first seven months of this year, compared to the same period in 2013, the main French Jewish group said on Thursday. Acts of violence reported to the authorities went up 126 per cent.

A total of 529 anti-Semitic actions or threats were registered up to the end of July, compared to 276 for the same period last year, the Council of Jewish Institutions in France (Crif) said, basing itself on figures provided by the interior ministry.

Instances of violence – notably attacks on property or people – grew 126 per cent, while threats rose 79 per cent.

Two high points in reported cases were in January and July, according to the Society for the Protection of the Jewish Community (SPCJ).

January saw the Day of Rage demonstration, which mobilised far-right groups and supporters of comic Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, who faced accusations of anti-Semitism in December.

Demonstrations against Israel’s offensive on Gaza brought further reports of anti-Semitic attacks, including attacks on Jewish businesses in Sarcelles, near Paris, which has a large Sephardic Jewish community, and clashes near a synagogue in the capital.

A Crif statement calls for step up protection of property and people, especially during the Jewish new year.

“Anti-Semitism is not the result of sectarian confrontations,” says Crif president Roger Cukerman in the statement. “It is the product of a violent tendency in our society of which the Jews are the first victims. Attacking Jews is to attack the whole of French society.”

France is home to 500,000-600,000 Jews, Europe’s largest, and also has the continent’s largest Muslim community.
 

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