The number of anti-Semitic attacks in France dropped by half in 2010, French
Ambassador Christophe Bigot announced on Wednesday.RELATED:Galliano apologizes for anti-Semitic insultsStudy finds 1/4 of Australians hold anti-Semitic prejudice
According to official
data presented by Bigot, 466 anti- Semitic incidents were recorded in France in
2010, in comparison to 832 in 2009.
“[The cause for the decrease is] the
police, the work of justice, the work of high-school education and the vigilance
of the media,” Bigot said.
“It’s not only due to the relative calm in the
region. There was the flotilla incident that could have provoked more attacks,
but still we’ve seen a decrease,” said Bigot referring to Israel’s raid on a
Gazabound ship that left nine activists dead and dozens wounded in May last
According to French statistics from 2010, the number of
anti-Semitic incidents included one attempted murder of a Jewish individual, 56
violent attacks, eight arson attempts, 66 cases of sabotage or vandalism and 366
threats made against Jewish institutions or individuals.
Bigot said no
official data exists on the personal backgrounds of the people behind
anti-Semitic attacks in France or their motivations, but he rejected suspicions
that a disproportionate number of perpetrators might be French
“I am not sure there are more anti-Semitic attacks from this
community,” he said, referring to French Muslims.
Attacks on Jewish
institutions and individuals in France peaked in 2009 in a large part due to the
war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The 2010 numbers represent a return to the
figures from 2008 when 474 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded.
2004, the French government has allocated 15 million euros to increase security
surrounding 349 synagogues and schools that serve the country’s estimated
600,000 Jews, the world’s second largest Jewish community outside of Israel. In
addition, since December 2009, a specially appointed French government official
has been coordinating efforts to battle anti-Semitism.
Bigot said at the
press conference that France’s policy on fighting anti-Semitism has won praise
from many Jewish leaders, including Anti- Defamation League head Abraham Foxman.
He said his government would not tolerate any hate crimes and continue to try
and reduce the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2011.
“There is still
a high-level of anti-Semitism in Europe,” Bigot said, “and not only should we
not deny this, but we need to recognize it so we can fight it.”