It is not new. Already several months we can see there is a growing anti-Semitism again in France and Belgium. The home to the biggest Jewish community in Europe, France , represents around 550,000, a population that has grown by about half since World War Two, but anti-Semitic attacks remain common. Government statistics released last week showed there were more than 500 anti-Semitic attacks in the country last year, a 74 percent increase from 2017.
Alarming it should be that it seems that the Jewish communities across West-Europe feel much more endangered that non-Jews think they are.
A 28-country survey by the European Commission, published last month, revealed a gap in perceptions between those in and out of the Jewish community.
According to the report, 89% of Jewish people said anti-Semitism had “significantly increased” over the last five years. Only 36% of non-Jews believed the same.
Among the incidents arousing worries of renewed anti-Semitism was a torrent of hate speech directed at Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut during a Saturday march by yellow vest protesters.
In recent incidents, swastika graffiti was found on street portraits of Simone Veil — a survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who died in 2017. The word “Juden” was painted on the window of a bagel restaurant in Paris, and two trees planted at a memorial honouring a young Jewish man tortured to death in 2006 were vandalized, one cut down.
Friday , two youths were arrested after they allegedly fired shots at a synagogue with an air rifle in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, where a large Jewish community lives. Sarcelles mayor Patrick Haddad told BFMTV on Tuesday that prosecutors believe the motive was anti-Semitism.
According to sociologist Danny Trom, author of “France Without Jews,” thousands of Jewish people leave France every year because of anti-Semitism.
“This is a low-intensity war, perhaps, but let’s not forget the murder of children killed at close range by Mohamed Merah in a school,”
Trom told French magazine Telerama, referring to the 2012 slayings of three children and a teacher from a Jewish school by an Islamic extremist in the southwestern city of Toulouse.
In West Europe since the dawn of time there have been Jews. In the previous century they had a terrible time, but one would have thought after that period everyone would want that human scandal to remain covered for good. Though the last few years it seems there are again seeds of weed sawn. Now, the pressure is such that several Jews are led to consider their country inhospitable.
In a tweet last week, Olivier Faure, first secretary of the Socialist Party, first called on people to gather in Paris for a protest on Tuesday. The event was later organised with the endorsement of more than 50 political parties, unions and associations.
No official number has been reported, but similar demonstrations were reported in 60 cities including Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes.
Thousands of people rallied across what should be “the Land of equality” (France) after a surge of anti-Semitic attacks in recent weeks that culminated on Tuesday with vandals daubing swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans on dozens of graves in a Jewish cemetery.
Political leaders from all parties, including former Presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, gathered in Paris filling the Place de la Republique, a symbol of the nation, to decry anti-Semitic acts with one common slogan:
“ça Suffit” = “It is Enough!”
French President Emmanuel Macron, after he had visited the vandalized Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim, a small town in the northeastern Alsace region, said he felt shame at the sight of the defaced grave markers. He clearly was very much impressed and the grieve and disgust for what had happened was on his face. Macron observed several moments of silence in front of the vandalized graves while local Jewish community representatives stood by.
“We will take action,”
Afterwards he went to the Shoah Memorial, a Holocaust museum in Paris, to observe a moment of silence with parliament leaders, and said
“Every time a French person, because he or she is Jewish, is insulted, threatened — or worse, injured or killed — the whole Republic” is attacked.”