France's Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux walks next to a tombstone desecrated by vandals with a Nazi swastika and the Slogan "Jews Out", in the Jewish Cemetery of Cronenbourg near Strasbourg.
(photo credit: VINCENT KESSLER/ REUTERS)
Citing a “dangerous atmosphere” in France due to a rise in recent weeks in antisemitic attacks, the federation of the country’s Jewish communities demanded authorities take tough action to stop it.
CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, made the appeal Tuesday in a statement following threats to burn down a Jewish community center in the Paris suburb of Saint-Maur.
“In recent days, numerous serious incidents have begun occurring in the Paris region: The scrawling of swastikas and arson in Creteil, the slashing of a young girl’s face in Sarcelles, an anonymous letter and threats against the synagogue in Saint-Maur,” CRIF wrote.
In the Saint-Maur incident, the letter sent to the community center and synagogue on Tuesday read, “After Creteil, it is you, you bastards, who are going to burn in this neighborhood.”
It was a reference to the torching earlier this month of two kosher shops in Creteil, a Paris suburb adjacent to Saint-Maur. A week before what police suspect may have been arson, individuals painted swastikas on the facades of those kosher stores.
On January 10, a Jewish teenager had her face slashed by an unidentified assailant on a street in the suburb of Sarcelles while she was wearing the uniform of her Jewish school.
The events have left the Jewish community feeling “a real sense of disquiet,” CRIF wrote, urging “authorities to take every measure to deter those who attack French Jews in their neighborhoods.”
Only “a real and effective application of the principle of zero tolerance, coupled with dissuasive measures, could reverse the feeling of disquiet and concern,” the statement read.