After Rash of anti-Semitic Incidents, French Jews Demand Action

Past weeks have seen swastikas scrawled on kosher shops and young girl's face slashed in what community says is a 'dangerous atmosphere'

JTA
JTA
File: A sign reading "Jews out" and swastikas are painted at the entrance of a Jewish cemetery in Herrlisheim, eastern France.
File: A sign reading "Jews out" and swastikas are painted at the entrance of a Jewish cemetery in Herrlisheim, eastern France.Credit: AP Photo
JTA
JTA

Citing a “dangerous atmosphere” in France due to a rise in recent weeks in anti-Semitic attacks, the federation of the country’s Jewish communities demanded authorities take tough action to stop it.

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, made the appeal Tuesday in a statement following threats to burn down a Jewish community center in the Paris suburb of Saint-Maur.

“In recent days, numerous serious incidents have begun occurring in the Paris region: The scrawling of swastikas and arson in Creteil, the slashing of a young girl’s face in Sarcelles, an anonymous letter and threats against the synagogue in Saint-Maur,” CRIF wrote.

In the Saint-Maur incident, the letter sent to the community center and synagogue on Tuesday read, “After Creteil, it is you, you bastards, who are going to burn in this neighborhood.”

It was a reference to the torching earlier this month of two kosher shops in Creteil, a Paris suburb adjacent to Saint-Maur. A week before what police suspect may have been arson, individuals painted swastikas on the facades of those kosher stores.

On Jan. 10, a Jewish teenager had her face slashed by an unidentified assailant on a street in the suburb of Sarcelles while she was wearing the uniform of her Jewish school.

The events have left the Jewish community feeling “a real sense of disquiet,” CRIF wrote, urging “authorities to take every measure to deter those who attack French Jews in their neighborhoods.”

Only “a real and effective application of the principle of zero tolerance, coupled with dissuasive measures, could reverse the feeling of disquiet and concern,” the statement read.

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