Antisemitism has ‘exploded’ in France since October 7, says French minister

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin reports 1,040 antisemitic incidents since Hamas assault on Israel, 486 suspects arrested; police chief says no typical profile for those detained

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin at the Sorbonne University in Paris on October 26, 2023. (Thomas SAMSON / POOL / AFP)
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin at the Sorbonne University in Paris on October 26, 2023. (Thomas SAMSON / POOL / AFP)

PARIS — France has recorded more than a thousand antisemitic acts since the massive October 7 assault by Hamas terrorists on Israel, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Sunday.

“The number of antisemitic acts has exploded,” he told France 2 television, adding that 486 people have been arrested for such offenses, including 102 foreigners.

Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said Sunday that there had been 257 antisemitic incidents in the Paris region alone, and 90 arrests.

There was no typical profile for those arrested, he added. They ranged from “young kids who say very serious things” to people involved in the pro-Palestinian cause who had gone too far.

Paris prosecutors are already investigating the daubing of dozens of Stars of David on buildings around the city and its suburbs last week, seen as threatening Jews. In another nearby town of Saint-Ouen, they were accompanied by inscriptions such as “Palestine will overcome.”

The Union of Jewish Students of France said the graffiti was designed to mirror the way Jews were forced by the Nazi regime to wear yellow stars.

A man walks next to a building the façade of which was covered with Stars of David painted during the night, in the Alesia district of Paris, on October 31, 2023. (VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

And in the city of Lyon, prosecutors said this weekend they suspected that antisemitism may have been behind an attack on a young Jewish woman, who was stabbed in her home there.

Police are treating the attack as attempted murder, they said, adding that the woman’s life was not in danger and no arrest had been made. French media reported that the assailant, who fled the scene, also defaced the door to the woman’s apartment with a swastika.

France’s Jewish population, estimated at over 500,000, is the largest in Europe and the third-biggest in the world, after Israel and the United States.

Since Hamas’s deadly October 7 attack on southern Israel, in which 1,400 people were slaughtered, most of them civilians, there have been pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel rallies held around the world, and a spike in antisemitic incidents and attacks.

Protesters chant slogans as they march on Paris during a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel demonstration, November 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

Last month, a global task force against antisemitism warned that already rising antisemitism due to the war was likely to spread.

The so-called J7, representing the six largest national Jewish communities outside of Israel along with the US-based Anti-Defamation League, called on governments to take a clear stance against antisemitism, while also working to protect and secure their Jewish communities.

In Berlin, Stars of David have also been found daubed on buildings where Jews live.

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