Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

Israel and French Jewish organizations issued harsh condemnations of the displays of anti-Semitism during a supposed anti-racism demonstration in Paris, France.

Demonstrators on Saturday carried anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posters and chanted racist, anti-Jewish slogans accusing Israel of all means of evil, including “dirty Jews” and “Israel, laboratory of police violence.”

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“Such public anti-Semitic manifestations breed anti-Semitic violence and must be strongly denounced and fought against!” Yuval Rotem, Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated Monday.

The Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), the umbrella organization of French Jews, stated that it “condemns these intolerable acts, which moreover come from demonstrators claiming to denounce racism.”

“There can be no fight against racism, which directly or indirectly tolerates anti-Semitism in its ranks,” the statement said.

CRIF noted its shock by the reaction of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a leader of the La France Insoumise extreme left party, who questioned the truth about reports on anti-Semitic incidents, although they were recorded and published on social media.

“Perhaps Jean-Luc Mélenchon is once again deaf and blind to anti-Semitism when he seems to come from his ranks,” the organization charged.

CRIF President Francis Kalifat called on “all democratic political parties to denounce these dangerous abuses and calls on the Public authorities to take exemplary actions and condemnations.”

France has been a hotbed of anti-Semitism for years.

In 2019, an online tool used to measure anti-Semitism on social-media in France documented 51,816 incidents classified by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition on Antisemitism as Jew-hatred.

In January, a survey by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) found that a staggering 70% of French Jews say they have been victims of anti-Semitism, 59% suffered physical abuse in school and 46% suffered verbal abuse at work.

Attempting to avoid anti-Semitic attacks, more than a third of French Jews refrain from wearing Jewish symbols in public, and a quarter avoids revealing their Jewish identity at work, and 40% avoid arriving at certain areas to circumvent attacks.

Some 52% of French Jews have considered leaving France while Israel has seen several large waves of Aliyah of French Jews in recent years.

Between the years 2000 and 2017, 10% of the French Jewish community, the largest in Europe, immigrated to Israel.

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