Anti-Semitic acts up 69 per cent in France this year, says its Prime Minister

PARIS (AFP) – Anti-Semitic acts in France rose by 69 per cent in the first nine months of 2018, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday (Nov 9), the 80th anniversary of the infamous “Kristallnacht” of Nazi attacks against Jews.

“Every aggression perpetrated against one of our citizens because they are Jewish echoes like the breaking of new crystal,” Philippe wrote on Facebook, referring to the start of the Nazi drive to wipe out Jews on Nov 9, 1938, also known as the Night of Broken Glass.

“Why recall, in 2018, such a painful memory? Because we are very far from being finished with anti-Semitism,” he said, calling the number of acts “relentless”.

After a record year in 2015, anti-Semitic acts fell by 58 per cent in 2016 and went down a further 7 per cent last year – however, there was an increase in violent acts targeting Jews.

In his Facebook post, Philippe quoted Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel as saying that “the real danger, my son, is indifference”, pledging that the French government would not be indifferent.

The government plans to toughen rules on hate speech online next year, pressuring social media giants to do more to remove racist and anti-Semitic content.

Philippe said it would also “experiment with a network of investigators and magistrates specially trained in the fight against acts of hate”, which could be extended nationwide.

He added that from mid-November, a national team would be mobilised to intervene in schools to support teachers facing anti-Semitism.

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