France demonstrates against antisemitism after vandal destroys dozens of Jewish gravesites
In the late night hours of Monday and early morning hours of Tuesday an unknown perpetrator desecrated almost 100 graves at a Jewish cemetery in the eastern French community of Quatzenheim near Strasbourg. Somebody used blue and yellow paint to graffiti the graves in German and to paint Nazi swastikas on them.
French President Emmanuel Macron, when visiting the cemetery after the incident, promised "laws and punishments" in response, and yesterday evening in the center of Paris thousands of people assembled, according to Agence-France Presse (AFP), to protest against the increase in antisemitism. The graffiti on the gravestones was, according to the AFP, noticed at about 6:30 AM Tuesday by a local resident walking his dog.
In addition to being painted on the gravestones, a Nazi swastika also appeared on the front door of a home near the cemetery, even though its owner is not Jewish. Incidents of this type significantly increased in France last year.
The authorities recorded 541 such incidents there in 2018 compared to 311 in 2017. Conservative philosopher Alain Finkielkraut also became the target of antisemitic insults Saturday during a demonstration by the so-called "yellow vests" movement.
In response to the growth in such anti-Jewish displays, several political parties convened a demonstration on the Place de la Republique in the capital yesterday. The thousands of people attending included, for example, the First Secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, the chair of the Génération movement, Benoit Hamon, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, and former President François Hollande.
"Antisemitism is not a Jewish matter, but one that affects all French people," Hollande told the AFP, adding that the anti-Jewish displays are "an attack on the Republic". The Bas-Rhin department prefecture called the desecration of the graves near Strasbourg an "abominable antisemitic crime".
The AFP reported that one graffiti read "Elsassisches Schwarzen Wolfe" (Alsatian Black Wolves), possibly a reference to an Alsatian separatist group last active in the 1970s. Alsace has historically been inhabited by a large German-speaking community.
"We are taking steps, we are adopting laws, and we will punish the perpetrators," President Macron told residents of Quatzenheim and representatives of the Jewish community after visiting the desecrated graves. He was accompanied by the Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia.
"It is important to me to be here with you today," the President told them. In the early evening Macron visited the Holocaust memorial in Paris and today will be dining with the chair of the CRIF society, an umbrella organization representing French Jews.
Unlike other political leaders, however, Macron did not attend the demonstration against antisemitism in Paris last night. The Jewish community in France, according to Reuters, has approximately 550 000 members and is one of the biggest in Europe.
Since the Second World War the French Jewish community has grown by roughly half, and assaults against its members remain frequent. In the year 2015 the French authorities recorded as many as 800 antisemitic crimes.
- Polish prosecutor investigating anti-Jewish demonstration at the gates of Auschwitz
- EU: Half of the population perceives antisemitism as a problem
- Czech capital to see seminar on stereotypes in the photographic depictions of Jewish and Romani people
- Romani Rose: Society must condemn antigypsyism just as it condemns antisemitism
- France: Le Pen and Co. continue to embezzle EU taxpayer money
- France: Extreme-right members arrested on suspicion of planning to attack Muslims
- France gives Czech Public Defender of Rights Anna Šabatová its highest state award, the Legion of Honor
- Czech Police investigate party secretary who called for the gassing of Jews and Roma
- Czech party functionary who called for murder of gays, Jews and Roma will no longer assist MP
- Provocateur calls sale of former Roma genocide site to the Czech state a form of "antisemitism", Jewish community disagrees
- France: Attack on Mosque in Paris Continues Europe’s Recent Vehicle Ramming Trend
- Czech-French film features young Romani actor in lead role
- French court fines Jean-Marie Le Pen for abusive remarks about Romani people - again
- Slovak Police investigate suspected racially-motivated assault against dark-skinned French student
- Czech Police investigating anonymous antisemitic letter in Prostějov
- Italy: Almost 1 000 Roma and Sinti march in Milan on Romani Resistance Day
- 1 May march by Czech neo-Nazis was dispersed and torches were put out, but antisemitic abuse was expressed
- Report from Prague's anti-EU demonstration: The little guys on all sides
- Russian military television grossly exaggerates Czech turnout for anti-EU demonstration
- Demonstrators gave banned Nazi salute in full view of Czech Police, were wearing Nazi symbols
- Czech Police intervene against those counter-protesting demonstration featuring Le Pen, Salvini, Wilders and a neo-Nazi band
- Czech city of Brno to see counter-protests against neo-Nazis again this year
- International Romani Union expresses solidarity and sorrow over the fire at Notre Dame cathedral
- William Bila: Can we put an end to the dehumanization of Roma in France?
- Czech MP compares French President Macron to Hitler at commemoration of the Nazi occupation, Czech Defense Ministry distances itself
- Hungary: Mass demonstrations, protesters say PM endangers the rule of law
- Czech Police charge man who wore banned neo-Nazi symbols to ultra-right rally