'Explosion' of antisemitic attacks in France

By Jessica Elgot, June 7, 2012

The murder of three French children and a rabbi at a Toulouse Jewish school marked the beginning of an “explosion” of more than 140 antisemitic incidents across France, the French Jewish community security service says.

Ninety of the incidents were recorded within ten days of the shooting in March by Mohammed Merah. Forty-three incidents were classified as violent attacks. The report by the Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive was based on figures from the French Interior Ministry.

Last week three Jews, all wearing kippot, were set upon by a gang of 10 in Villeurbanne, near Lyons. Two of the victims were hospitalised after being beaten with hammers and iron bars. Two of the three suspects were detained after turning themselves in to the police.

Other attacks have included the assault on a Jewish man in Marseilles, where a gang of youths, who told the victim they were Palestinian, said they were on a mission to “exterminate” the Jews. The victim was hospitalised with internal injuries.

The SPCJ said in a statement: “Once again, the Jewish community in France has been shocked by this weekend by the vicious assault of several of its members in Villeurbanne. The SPCJ is deeply concerned not just by the extremely high number of these antisemitic acts but also by their motivation.”
The European Jewish Congress called on Muslim leaders to use their influence to stop the growing trend.

Dr Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC, said: “Unfortunately, there are mosques and Muslim centres where people are taught that Jews are the enemy and they should be attacked. In addition to calling on the law enforcement agencies to clamp down on incitement, we are also calling on imams and Muslim leaders to become part of the solution and unequivocally condemn attacks against their fellow European citizens.

“I would welcome the opportunity to meet European Muslims to discuss how to combat hatred, intolerance and incitement so Jews can feel safe again across the continent. It is in all of our interests that outside conflicts are not imported to Europe and used as an excuse for antisemitic attacks.”

Last updated: 11:43am, June 7 2012