France sounds alarm over ris­ing anti-Semitic acts

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - International -

ANTI- Semitic acts in France rose by 69 per­cent in the first nine months of 2018, Prime Min­is­ter Edouard Philippe said on Fri­day, 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,” the French prime min­is­ter 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 per­cent in 2016 and went down a fur­ther 7 per­cent last year; how­ever, there has been an in­crease in vi­o­lent acts tar­get­ing Jews.

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.

Mean­while, French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron an­gered Jewish groups and some po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents on Wed­nes­day by say­ing it was “le­git­i­mate” to honor Mar­shal Philippe Pe­tain along­side France’s other seven wartime mar­shals at com­mem­o­ra­tions to mark the end of the Great War this week. Pe­tain was feted as a war hero af­ter tak­ing com­mand of the French armies in mid-1917, fol­low­ing his vic­tory at Ver­dun, a bat­tle that killed more than 300,000 French and Ger­mans. But his rep­u­ta­tion was shred­ded when he estab­lished the col­lab­o­ra­tionist Vichy gov­ern­ment of un­oc­cu­pied France that de­ported more than 70,000 Jews to Nazi death camps. The body that rep­re­sents France’s 400,000-strong Jewish com­mu­nity, Crif, called the idea of pay­ing tribute to Pe­tain “shock­ing.” Jean-Luc Me­len­chon, head of the left­ist France In­soumise (France Un­bowed) party, called Pe­tain “a traitor and an an­tiSemite” whose “crimes and his be­trayal can­not be erased from his­tory.”

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