Anti-Semitism in France drops 16.5% in 2011, study shows

The year 2011 saw a 16.5% drop in anti-Semitism in France, according to a study released by the French service for the protection of the Jewish community (SPCJ) together with the French Interior Ministry.

The study, released late January in light of International Holocaust Remembrance Day and is now in its sixth year running, recorded 389 incidents of anti-Semitism in 2011, compared to 466 in 2010, making it the lowest number in ten years.

However, the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents remained the same as those recorded in 2010, and there was even a rise in the severity of the violence.

The main source of the drop in recorded anti-Semitic incidents was owing to the decline in malicious graffiti and slanderous letters. The number of recorded attacks stood at 127, which mainly included damage to property, vandalism and direct violent attacks. The report also recorded 144 cases of malicious threats, threatening actions and curses, and 46 anti-Semitic publications. About 50% of the total number of anti-Semitic incidents occurred in greater Paris.

Christophe Bigot, the French ambassador to Israel, said in a press conference Monday that the French government has made a great effort to defeat the phenomenon, and has taken action via the police and educators. He added that there is still work to be done.

Bigot also said the French government has been waging a merciless campaign against anti-Semitism for the last few years. In 2003, France passed a law that imposes harsh penalties on people who commit racist or anti-Semitic attacks and in 2004 approved a plan to upgrade security for Jewish religious and cultural institutions. Thorough work is also being conducted in France’s education industry, with an emphasis on Holocaust awareness, in cooperation with the Holocaust museum in Paris.
(Tags: Anti-Semitism, France, Violent Attacks)