AJC France warned today that the dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents this year demands urgent attention and action.
A new report from the Jewish Community Protection Service (SPCJ) and the French Minister of Interior shows a 91 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents, 527 in total, from January 1 to July 31, compared with the same period last year when 276 were reported. Many of the incidents were acts of violence, up 126 percent over 2013.
“This is a chilling report, ” said Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, Director of AJC France. “2014 could be even worse than the record year of 2012 regarding anti-Semitic acts.” In May 2012, three children and a teacher were murdered at a Jewish school in Toulouse, and anti-Semitic incidents rose sharply after that terror attack.
According to the SPCJ, anti-Semitism peaked this year in January, when controversy erupted over comedian Dieudonné’s remarks regarding Jews and the “Day of Anger, ” and again in July during the anti-Israel demonstrations in and around Paris.
“All French citizens of goodwill must stand together to eradicate this cancer, which is not the problem of one minority but a challenge to our society as a whole, ” said Rodan-Benzaquen. “We call on the French government and civil society to work together to complete a thorough analysis and to develop concrete initiatives to prevent anti-Semitism.”
In July, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: “The fight against anti-Semitism is not the problem of Jews, it is the problem of the Republic, of all of France…. It is a national concern.”
The French office of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, works closely with authorities, Jewish community and civil society organizations on combating anti-Semitsm and other forms of hatred and racism.