The French Interior Ministry announced on Monday that the number of anti-Semitic acts in the country soared in 2018, jumping a whopping 74% compared to the previous year, France24 News reported.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner decried the “poison” of hate that is seeping into French society as he revealed that the total number of recorded anti-Semitic acts, which rose from 311 in 2017 to 541 in 2018.
Castaner spoke in the Paris suburb of Sainte-Genevieve-du-Bois, where a tree in memory of a young Jewish man who was brutally murdered in 2006 had been chopped down. Ilan Halimi was kidnapped by a gang that demanded money from his family, believing them to be rich because he was Jewish. After his family was unable to pay the 450,000 Euro ransom, Halimi was burned and tortured to death, after a three-week long ordeal.
“I needed to say, in the name of the government, in the name of the president, in name of France, that tonight, we grieve the memory of Ilan Halimi,” Castaner said. “Like we grieved him 14 years ago. France, through my presence here tonight in the name of the government and in name of the Republic, wants to say to every single person who makes a religious choice, in this country, that they must be and will be protected.”
The minister warned that the surge of anti-Jewish acts in France, and in Europe as a whole, constitutes “an attack against hope.” He added: “It’s rotting minds, it’s killing,” vowing that the government would remain steadfast in its mission to fight anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it may occur.
In two separate incidents this week, portraits of Holocaust survivor Simone Veil were stained with swastikas, and a bagel shop had the German word “Juden” sprayed on its front window. Veil was a survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who died in 2017.
Frédéric Potier, the French government official in charge of fighting hate crimes, said on Twitter that he had alerted police and the prosecutor’s office in Paris. “Anti-Semitic tags in the heart of Paris this weekend, to the point of nausea. When the hatred of Jews overlaps with the hatred of democracy, the vocabulary of the #fascosphere [the sphere of the fascists] is found on the walls!” he wrote.
Last week, Community Security Trust released a survey showing that anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom reached a record-high in 2018.
[Photo: euronews (in English) / YouTube]