Figures recently published by the French Interior Ministry and Le Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive (SPCJ) show a sharp rise in the number of anti-Semitic acts since the beginning of 2015. In reaction Jewish representative groups have denounced the hidden anti-Semitism found in the Israeli product boycott campaigns.
“Nothing seems to stop the dramatic increase of anti-Semitism in France which today reached appalling levels,” said the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), the umbrella body representing Jewish organisations in France, which pointed out these figures are only based on recorded complaints and therefore “represent only part of the reality of anti-Semitism on the ground”.
The European Jewish Press reports the published figures show that for the period from 1 January to 31 May 2015, 508 anti-Semitic acts (covering both threats and “violent actions”) were recorded, representing an increase of 84 per cent compared to the same period in 2014 and 161 per cent compared to those months in 2013.
The “violent actions” category has seen a rise of 59 per cent compared to the same period in 2014 and by 124 per cent compared to January to May 2013.
The number of anti-Semitic incidents in France saw a 101 per cent rise for the whole of 2014 compared to 2013, with a rise in actual acts of violence growing faster than mere threats.
In its statement the CRIF said this massive growth “is unfortunately not a surprise’’. It blames the Internet, citing it as the biggest medium for the spread of anti-Semitic beliefs and stressing the ”impunity enjoyed by some notorious anti-Semites”. As a result CRIF asked the French government to review the legal status of social media such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Google and assess whether them may face civil and/or criminal sanction.
CRIF also denounced the rise of movements calling for a boycott of Israeli products that are used to hide notoriously anti-Semitic campaigns.
The rise in anti-Semitic acts is of particular note when reviewed against recent polling showing a decline in anti-Semitic sentiment in France. A survey conducted in March and April found the number of those expressing anti-Semitic attitudes in France collapsed from 37 per cent to 17 per cent in a 12 month period. The same poll found 49 per cent of French Muslims harbour anti-Semitic beliefs.