Anti-Semitic acts in France increased by 69 percent during the first nine months of 2018, the nation's prime minister announced Friday.
“[W]e are far from being done with anti-Semitism. I have just heard of the latest figures on the evolution of anti-Semitic acts in our country. They're relentless. While it had been down for two years, the number of these acts increased by more than 69 percent in the first 9 months of 2018,” Prime Minister Édouard Philippe wrote on Facebook.
What is the impact?
France has Europe’s largest Jewish population and the third-largest Jewish population in the world, according to the website France24.com. Although Jewish people comprise less than 1 percent of the French population, they were involved in 40 percent of racially or religiously motivated acts of violence in 2017, according to the news outlet.
Many Jews say they no longer feel safe in France, the website reported.
Philippe released the new statistic on the 80th anniversary of the "Kristallnacht" attacks on Jews in Nazi Germany. Kristallnacht, also called the Night of Broken Glass, refers to a time when windows were smashed on Jewish shops and homes in Nazi Germany. At least "91 Jewish people were killed and as many as 30,000 men were rounded up and taken to concentration camps,” the report noted.
"Every aggression perpetrated against one of our citizens because they are Jewish echoes like the breaking of new crystal," Philippe wrote.
France’s announcement comes after 11 people were murdered during a massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October. The accused gunman also reportedly wrote anti-Semitic slurs on social media before launching one of the deadliest attacks on Jews in U.S. history.
"Rises in anti-Semitism often happen in correlated waves in the two countries, and last year there was a major wave in the U.K.,” Günther Jikeli, a German historian at Indiana University who studies Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe. “The only two countries with reliable data on anti-Semitism are the U.K. and France.”
“Anti-Semitism is often in the minds of many people, but we need to discover what triggers this into action," Jikeli said. "Sometimes people feel emboldened in the wake of another anti-Semitic act, like the Pittsburgh attack."
BBC News reported that jihadis have launched violent attacks on Jews, including:
- The murder of four people at a kosher supermarket in Paris in 2015.
- The brutal beating of a 65-year-old who was thrown out of her Paris apartment window by a Muslim neighbor in 2017.
- An 8-year-old Jewish boy who was beat up by teenagers in January 2018.
- The stabbing death of an 85-year-old Jewish woman in her Paris home. The Holocaust survivor's flat was then set on fire.
Starting in mid-November, France plans to start a school program to train teachers in how to deal with anti-Semitism in their classrooms, according to France24. The nation also plans to beef up rules for online hate speech in 2019.