France responds to swastikas, religious attacks

Swastikas, religious attacks and anti-Semitic behaviour is on the rise in France.

France’s political leaders called for French people to join protest marches after a video surfaced of one of a series of anti-Semitic rallies. In the video, the crowd turned on French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut who happens to be a Jew, calling him a “dirty Zionist” and saying “France belongs to us.”

People all over France responded to their political leaders’ call in large numbers. In Paris alone about 20,000 rallied against the anti-Semitic trend.

After the rallies President Emmanuel Macron announced new measures against extremism. These include a resolution to pass new legislation classifying anti-Zionism (the right of Israel as a state to exist) as a form of anti-Semitism, and therefore a crime.

The French bishops’ conference has also condemned the increase in anti-Semitism.

Last week conference president, Archbishop Georges Pontier, wrote to France’s chief rabbi, Haim Korsia, offering support and saying:

“Attacks from seemingly religious motives on our fellow citizens are unacceptable; we stand beside you in struggling against every manifestation of hatred.

“Our society cannot find peace unless it supports a constructive dialogue among all its members. May we never resign ourselves to the growth of intolerance and rejection.”

Msgr Olivier Dumas, the conference secretary-general, called on all political parties and faith groups to “show solidarity with Jews” and condemn attacks on religious targets.

“This climate of violence and hatred must end,” he told Vatican Radio. “We must wage a struggle against anti-Semitism with fierce determination, knowing where hatred of Jews led in our history, and do everything to ensure powerful impulses for such unimaginable violence never arise again.”

He said fighting anti-Semitism was a responsibility “not just for institutions and religious leaders, but for all French citizens “who should mobilize through education and a permanent re-reading of history.”


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