Government minister warns anti-Semitism "spreading like a poison" in France

/ AP

French street artist Christian Guemy, known as C215, cleans the vandalized mailboxes with swastikas covering the face of the late Holocaust survivor and renowned French politician, Simone Veil, in Paris, Feb.12, 2019. AP

Paris — Portraits of a Holocaust survivor stained with swastikas. A memorial in honor of a Jewish man vandalized. A bagel shop with the German word "Juden" sprayed on its front window.

These are just a few of the hundreds of anti-Semitic acts that have been committed in recent months in France, home to the world's largest Jewish population outside Israel and the United States.

According to French authorities, registered incidents of anti-Semitism rose to 541 last year from 311 in 2017, an increase of 74 percent.

"These acts are revolting," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said at the French parliament on Tuesday. "Day after day I'm noticing scandalous degradation and inscriptions. Day after day, I'm noticing that symbols and venues our country cherishes are attacked."

A judicial official told The Associated Press that Paris prosecutors have opened four investigations following incidents in the French capital last weekend. The official was not authorized to be publicly named because the investigations are ongoing.

"Anti-Semitism is spreading like a poison, like a venom," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said while attending a ceremony at the memorial of a young Jewish man who was tortured to death in 2006. Two trees planted at the scene where Ilan Halimi was found dying in a Paris suburb have been vandalized.

The rise of anti-Semitism

"It's rotting minds, it's killing," Castaner said at the Monday event, vowing that the government would fight anti-Semitism.

Castaner did not link the rise of incidents to any specific groups. Some members of the yellow vest protest movement are known for extremist views, and several anti-Semitic incidents have occurred amid weekly anti-government protests that started in November.

Frederic Potier, a French government official in charge of fighting anti-Semitism, racism and anti-gay discrimination, said some far-right groups have managed to infiltrate yellow-vest demonstrations.

"Anti-Semitic tags up to nausea in the heart of Paris this weekend," Potier tweeted with a picture of a wall with a derogatory inscription, insinuating that French President Emmanuel Macron was just a tool of a supposed Jewish plot.

"When the hatred of the Jews overlaps with the hatred of democracy, the vocabulary of the fachosphere (the sphere of fascists) is found on the walls," Potier wrote.

In addition to the desecration of the Ilan Halimi memorial, portraits of the late Simone Veil drawn on mailboxes were daubed with swastikas. A survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who died in 2017, Veil also spearheaded abortion rights as one of France's most prominent female politicians.

In a separate incident, one of the founders of bagel chain Bagelstein said the word "Juden" was painted on the window of one of their restaurants in Paris. He said the graffiti was found before the yellow vest demonstrations that took place Saturday.

Concerns that anti-Semitism might be growing in France pre-dated the protests that were started in the fall to oppose fuel tax increases. In a speech to a leading Jewish group last year, Macron pledged to protect France's Jews.

In 2012, three children and a teacher from a Jewish school were killed by an Islamic extremist in the southwestern city of Toulouse. In 2015, four customers of a Paris kosher supermarket were slain by another extremist.

First published on February 12, 2019

© 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

France Anti-Semitism

Lottery winner claims prize in "Scream" mask to hide identity

Winning the lottery is something to scream about – the man said he fell ill after realizing he had the winning ticket

updated 16M ago

Bill and Melinda Gates on what surprised them in 2018

In their 11th annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates are reflecting on the things that they didn't see coming in 2018

updated 17M ago

Former White House aide Cliff Sims sues Trump

The author and former adviser to the president claims the Trump is using his campaign to silence him

updated 35M ago

Newborn girl found in middle of road in frigid temperatures

Aurelio Fuentes, who found the infant, said the umbilical cord was still attached

updated 14M ago

Wall Street jumps on optimism over U.S.-China trade talks

Investors are watching for progress in U.S.-China trade talks and in negotiations to avert a second government shutdown

1H ago

Former White House aide Cliff Sims sues Trump

The author and former adviser to the president claims the Trump is using his campaign to silence him

updated 35M ago

Astronaut Mark Kelly announces Senate bid

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" Kelly said as he announced his Senate run as an Arizona Democrat

updated 49M ago

Senators demand FAA probe after CBS News report on airline mechanics

Democrats Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal want answers after an eight-month-long CBS News investigation

3H ago

Biden, other dignitaries attending John Dingell's funeral in Michigan

The longest-serving member of Congress in history died last week at age 92

1H ago

The Takeout: A CBS News original political podcast

“The Takeout” is a weekly podcast about politics, policy and pop culture hosted by CBS News Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett

4H ago

Lottery winner claims prize in "Scream" mask to hide identity

Winning the lottery is something to scream about – the man said he fell ill after realizing he had the winning ticket

updated 16M ago

Anti-Semitism "spreading like a poison" in France, official warns

Government vows action after portraits of a Holocaust survivor, a memorial honouring a Jewish man and a bagel shop were targeted

updated 22M ago

Pentagon chief may get an earful in Iraq over ISIS battle plan

Acting Secretary of Defense's visit comes after President Trump angered the Iraqis by suggesting a different mission for U.S. troops in the country

1H ago

ISIS still fighting in Syria despite Trump's assurances

Ground forces backed by U.S. and coalition airstrikes launched an offensive over the weekend

16H ago

Venezuelan officials: Aid tests military's loyalty to Maduro

The U.S. government said it's prepared to dispatch more than $20 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela

22H ago

The 2019 Grammy Awards: Winners and highlights

Female performers dominated the 61st Annual Grammy Awards

15H ago

Alicia Keys shares story about John Mayer splitting his Grammy award with her 15 years ago

Mayer surprised Keys with the same award he split with her in 2004 — after he felt she deserved the trophy, too

16H ago

Grammys 2019: Complete list of winners

Kacey Musgraves took home album of the year; Cardi B made history as the first woman to win best rap album

22H ago

Trevor Noah weighs in on blackface controversies

The "Daily Show" host weighs in on blackface controversies surrounding Virginia leaders

22H ago

Michelle Obama makes surprise appearance at Grammys

The former first lady's comments were interrupted by roaring applause Sunday night

21H ago

Russian region declares emergency over polar bear "invasion"

It is illegal to hunt the species, already endangered thanks to climate change shrinking their habitat, but a cull has not been ruled out

Feb 11

Crew hunts for fabled U.S. carrier in a graveyard for WWII ships

The explorers who located the wreck of the USS Indianapolis are searching for an aircraft carrier sunk by the Japanese 77 years ago

Feb 11

Hurricanes are intensifying more rapidly and it may be our fault

Storms that quickly strengthen are often the most challenging to predict, and they can cause more damage

Feb 10

Wells Fargo outage: Customers say direct deposits aren't showing up

Banking customers complained about problems accessing their accounts, while the bank vowed to reverse fees

Feb 8

Global lawmakers try again to get Zuckerberg to testify

A Facebook vice president sat next to an empty chair reserved for CEO Mark Zuckerberg when the committee met in London last year

Feb 7

Teen defies mom, gets vaccinated after turning to strangers online

"I question her judgment, but not her care," says Ethan Lindenberger of his mother

3H ago

FDA announces crackdown on illegal dietary supplements

In one case, the FDA found a company claimed its product reduced "symptoms of cognitive decline"

16H ago

Medicare patients face surging costs for some life-saving drugs

Participants in the federal health program often struggle to afford treatments for cancer and other diseases

Feb 11

CBD fans want edibles, but some states are cracking down

States are cracking down on cannabidiol-infused food over safety concerns — some in the industry say it's warranted

19H ago

Feeling lonely? You're not alone

Nearly half of Americans say they sometimes or always feel alone, which can have health consequences: doctors say loneliness can lead to increased mortality equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day

Feb 11

Wall Street jumps on optimism over U.S.-China trade talks

Investors are watching for progress in U.S.-China trade talks and in negotiations to avert a second government shutdown

1H ago

Homebuying in 2019: Prices dipping, but other problems linger

While it may not be as strong of a seller's market, higher mortgage rates and lack of inventory could stymie buyers

2H ago

Reddit raises $300 million in finance round led by China's Tencent

The investment, which values the social media service at $3 billion, comes as Reddit is blocked in China

2H ago

These new Barbies come in a wheelchair and have a prosthetic leg

Mattel says it's making iconic toy line more diverse after adding two dolls with disabilities

16H ago

Toys R Us plots a 2nd act with new look, new name

The children's brand is planning to return as Tru Kids, with smaller stores and a stronger e-commerce presence

16H ago

Ruling may help unlock answers to notorious 1946 lynchings

Court upholds decision to unseal grand jury records on unsolved shooting of 2 black couples in rural Georgia that led to national outcry

5H ago

5 dead in shooting at rural Texas home

At least five people were killed Monday following an apparent shooting at a home in rural Texas

16H ago

Southern Baptist leaders and workers abused hundreds, report says

Southern Baptist church leaders and workers have been accused of sexual misconduct over the past 20 years

19H ago

Suicide texting trial: The case against Michelle Carter in the death of Conrad Roy

The groundbreaking trial of a crime of the digital age — should a young woman go to prison for sending texts to a friend who took his own life?

16H ago

Rare move in bid to lengthen sentence of Chicago cop who killed teen

The former Chicago officer was sentenced to six years and nine months in the 2014 death of black teen Laquan McDonald

21H ago

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here