France: Anti-Semitic attacks dropped 50 percent in 2010 (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL SHEFLER 03/02/11)
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The number of anti-Semitic attacks in France dropped by half in 2010,
French ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot announced on Wednesday.
According to official data presented by Bigot, a total of 466 anti-
Semitic incidents were recorded in France in 2010 in comparison to
832 in 2009.
Over coffee at the French embassy in Tel Aviv with the Mediterranean
Sea serving as a backdrop, the svelte diplomat offered Israeli press
with his analysis of the data.
“[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,” Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound boat which
left nine dead and dozens wounded in early 2010,” that could have
provoked more attacks, but still we’ve seen a decrease.”
French statistics from 2010 broke down the number of anti-Semitic
incidents to 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
perpetrators of anti-Semitic attacks in France or their motivations,
but he rejected suspicions that a disproportionate number of them
might be French Muslims.
“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 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.
Since 2004, the French government has allocated 15 million euros to
ratchet up security surrounding 349 synagogues and schools which
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 told Israeli media 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. Still, 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.” (© 1995 - 2011 The Jerusalem Post. 03/02/11)
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