Anti-Semitic graffiti appears almost daily at French campuses — student leader

Minister of higher education condemns recent incidents as ‘unacceptable,’ says she will ‘combat hate speech’

Illustrative: View of the Sorbonne University in Paris, Thursday Sept. 19, 2013 (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Illustrative: View of the Sorbonne University in Paris, Thursday Sept. 19, 2013 (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Anti-Semitic graffiti are becoming a regular occurrence in French institutions of higher learning, the head of the country’s Jewish student union said following a string of incidents.

Sacha Ghozlan, the president of the Union of Jewish Students of France, issued a statement Wednesday after the discovery of graffiti targeting the dean of a Paris-area medical school.

On Tuesday, French Minister of Higher Education Frederique Vidal condemned anti-Semitism in a statement that said “it is an issue that is unacceptable and concerns everyone.”

Vidal said she will “combat criminal expressions of hate speech” in the French education system.

French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Frederique Vidal leaves the Elysee Palace following the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris, on October 24, 2018. (Eric FEFERBERG / AFP)

But “while the minister of education undertook on 23 October to combat anti-Semitism in higher education, the graffiti are becoming an almost daily occurrence,” Ghozlan wrote in his statement.

The graffiti that prompted Vidal’s reaction called the acting dean of the Créteil Medical School a “thief,” with one of the letters shaped as a Star of David, Le Figaro reported. The acting dean’s name was not published in the French media.

Earlier this month, the word “Juden,” German for Jews, appeared along with swastikas on the walls inside the HEC business school in Paris.

Last month, Vidal also condemned what she termed “anti-Semitic graffiti” targeting Patrick Levy, the rector of the Grenoble-Alpes University in eastern Frances.

Those graffiti, which did not mention Jews and were cryptic, were discovered Monday. The university also condemned the incident but did not call it anti-Semitic, France TV Info reported.

Also last month, in the eastern town of Zoebersdorf, located 15 miles northwest of Strasbourg, unidentified individuals wrote “Marx dirty Jews, immigrants out” on the headquarters of the Town Council.

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