French antisemitic incidents double

By Shirli Sitbon, February 11, 2010

Antisemitic incidents in France doubled last year to 830, according to the Jewish umbrella group CRIF.

Speaking at the group’s annual dinner, which was attended by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon, CRIF head Richard Prasquier said that assaults usually occur in impoverished suburbs and that “those who stay in wealthy neighbourhoods have little chance of knowing this”.

PM Fillon told the gathering that France has toughened its stance against antisemitism in recent years and that “courts have issued strong rulings”.

He added that the French public was “shocked” that the trial of the gang that abducted and tortured to death 23-year-old Ilan Halimi in 2006 was closed to the public.

The “Gang of Barbarians” was tried between April and July 2009 and no one aside from the victim’s family was allowed to attend it because two gang members were minors when the incident took place.

A few hours ahead of the CRIF dinner, the parliamentary law committee proposed a change of law which would allow similar trials to be open to the public. The proposal still has be to examined and passed by Parliament.

Last updated: 4:47pm, February 11 2010