NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has joined its French affiliate Crif in calling for targeted and specific action to combat antisemitism in the country following Interior Minister Christophe Castaner’s disclosure that antisemitic acts rose by 74% in 2018 according to Government figures.
The minister reported the statistic in response to the revelation that a tree planted in memory of Ilan Halimi, a Jewish man who was tortured before being murdered in 2006, was found to have been chopped down when municipal workers visited the site in preparation for an annual remembrance ceremony. Other antisemitic incidents in the past two days included swastikas appearing on Paris postboxes containing portraits of late Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, and separately, the word ‘Juden’ sprayed on the window of a bagel bakery.
WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said: “I strongly support CRIF President Francis Kalifat’s calls for a national effort to be taken against antisemitism. The numbers speak for themselves, and a 74% rise in antisemitic incidents is alarming and unacceptable. Enough is enough, and we hope that the French Government will not only condemn these atrocious acts, but go after the perpetrators, for the sake not only of the country’s Jewish community, but for the health of French society as a whole. We cannot afford to relive our past, and the only way we will stop this hate is to educate the next generation about the crimes that took place over the last 74 years.”