Acts of anti-Semitism rose 74 percent in France in 2018: report

Acts of anti-Semitism rose 74 percent in France in 2018: report
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Anti-Semitic attacks increased in France last year by more than 70 percent, according to figures released last week by the French government.

Reuters reported Tuesday that the country saw 500 reported instances of anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, a 74 percent increase from the year before.

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In one incident, a crowd of protesters reportedly gathered around well-known Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor Alain Finkielkraut, demanding that he return to Tel Aviv over his support for Israel, according to the outlet.

The BBC also reported Tuesday that a Jewish cemetery near the country's border with Germany was found desecrated with swastikas earlier in the day. 

The head of Crif, a French Jewish organization, told Reuters that anti-Semitism was on the rise in France among members of the right and left.

“If you want to have an effective fight against anti-Semitism, you need to be able to fight against all forms of it,” Francis Kalifat said, according to Reuters.

Kalifat added that politicians have a duty to confront anti-Jewish rhetoric.

“It’s not enough to fight against the [anti-Semitism] of the extreme right, or that of the extreme left or the Islamists. We need to fight against all forms, and that’s what we’re waiting for from political leaders.”

French President Emmanuel Macron has resisted an effort by some French lawmakers to classify opposition to the state of Israel as anti-Semitism, urging lawmakers not to criminalize political beliefs.

“Those who today want the disappearance of Israel are those who want to attack the Jews,” he said, according to Reuters. “But nevertheless, I think that when you delve into the detail, a penal condemnation of anti-Zionism creates other problems.”