Anti-Semitic Attacks in France Climb 84% in 2015, Watchdog Says

SPCJ security services count 508 anti-Semitic acts between January and May, following the January attack on four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket.

French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech, at left, during a ceremony to pay tribute to
French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech, at left, during a ceremony to pay tribute to the three police officers killed in the attacks, in Paris, France, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. AP

The number of anti-Semitic attacks recorded in France during the first quarter of 2015 increased by 84 percent over the corresponding period last year, a watchdog group said.

The SPCJ security service of France’s Jewish communities released the figures Monday in a quarterly report that counted 508 anti-Semitic acts recorded between January and May. In the first four months of 2014, SPCJ recorded 276 incidents between January and May out of a total of 851 that year, making 2014 second only to the 974 incidents recorded  in 2004 by the service. In all of 2013, SPCJ documented 423 incidents.

The worst of the attacks this year occurred on Jan. 9, when an Islamist killed four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket.

Of the anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the first quarter this year, 121, or 23 percent, were classified by SPCJ as violent. The proportion of violent attacks was slightly higher in the first quarter of 2014, with 27 percent of the total, or 76 attacks.

Death threats accounted for 387 incidents out of the total in the first four months of 2015, slightly more than three-quarters of the incidents.

In 2012, the slaying of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse by a jihadist spurred a spike in anti-Semitic incidents throughout France, possibly by those inspired by the attack to target Jews, SPCJ reported  at the time. SPCJ documented more than 90 anti-Semitic incidents in the 10 days that followed the shooting.