(JNS.org) Anti-Semitic attacks in France rose to “unprecedented” levels in 2012, according to a report released by the French-Jewish security organization, Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive (SPCJ).
According to the report, “614 anti-Semitic acts were recorded in 2012 against 389 in 2011, which constitutes a 58-percent increase of anti-Semitic acts in France in 2012.”
The report attributed the rise in anti-Semitism on the terrorist attack by Mohamed Merah on a Jewish school in Toulouse in March 2012, which left a rabbi and three Jewish children dead.
“After the Toulouse attack, numerous anti-Semitic acts were committed and included support or identification to Merah and his act,” the report said.
The SPCJ recorded 90 anti-Semitic incidents in the 10 days following the Toulouse attack.
While 2012 saw a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic attacks, overall anti-Semitism has been increasing over the past decade in France.
“In the last 13 years the number of anti-Semitic acts has exploded. French citizens, because they are Jewish, must be protected when they study, gather or pray,” said Richard Prasquier, head of France’s leading Jewish group, Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France (CRIF), in a press release.
American Jewish leaders called on the French government to do more to stop rising anti-Semitism.
“The SPCJ report is a sobering reminder that major institutions, both governmental and civil society, must further step up their efforts against those who would act in the name of such venomous and violent hatred—hate that threatens not only the country’s Jewish community, but, no less, French society, and its core values structure, as a whole,” said American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris in a press release.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations recently led a mission of U.S. Jewish leaders to France to highlight the problem of rising French anti-Semitism, including a visit to the Otzar Hatorah school in Toulouse, the site of Merah’s attack.