(JNS) French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner reported Monday, Feb. 11 that the number of recorded antisemitic acts soared by 74 percent in 2018. Speaking in Sainte-Genevieve-du-Bois outside Paris, where trees planted in memory of murdered Jew Ilan Halimi were chopped down, Castaner said that his government would fight the “poison” of antisemitism, and decried the destruction of the memorial to Halimi (see above), calling it “an attack against hope.” Castaner said there were 541 reported antisemitic incidents in 2018–up from 311 in 2017.
Sammy Ghozlan, head of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, said the “yellow vests” protests that have swept Paris utilize classic antisemitic tropes accusing Jews of exercising disproportionate control and manipulating the government through the use of money.
France’s government on Tuesday, Feb. 12 vowed a tough response amid the latest antisemitic incidents over the weekend. The latest string of attacks also included the word “Juden” (German for “Jew”) scribbled on the window of a Paris bagel bakery, and swastikas drawn on Paris mailboxes decorated with a picture of former government minister and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, who died in 2017.
French Jews have been abandoning the country in increasing numbers, with more than 2,300 making aliyah to Israel between January and October of 2018. That number reached the tens of thousands in prior years. In December, Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Benett announced that Israel’s government would formulate an action plan to help absorb new waves of French immigrants.