Swastika, anti-Semitic slogans spray-painted on Toulouse building

French city was the site of March 2012 attack that killed Jewish teacher and three school-children

Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic graffiti (CC BY-zeeweez, Flickr)
Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic graffiti (CC BY-zeeweez, Flickr)

French police early Thursday discovered anti-Semitic slogans spray-painted on a building in Toulouse, a city that in March 2012 was the site of a deadly terror attack against Jewish school-children.

The local chapter of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society was graffitied with a swastika alongside the words “SS” and “get the fuck out,” the French daily Le Figaro reported.

Police said that the building had already been targeted by anti-Semitic vandals in October, including with the words “I’ll kill you, dirty Jew.”

On March 19, Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin, shot dead four Jews, three of them children, in front of the Otzar Hatorah school in Toulouse.

Four months later, a 17-year-old Jewish student was verbally accosted and then beaten on a train en route to the school. The teen was wearing what the French Interior Ministry called “a distinctive religious symbol,” the French news service AFP reported.

Amid a rising tide of hate crimes, Israel’s chief rabbis on Wednesday called on the European Union to establish a committee to investigate anti-Semitism in Europe.

“Since [the March 2011] Toulouse massacre we often hear of violent attacks against Jews. They are testament to an underlying problem that requires examination and a solution,” chief rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar wrote in a letter to EU President Herman van Rompuy.

In September, in a Rosh Hashanah greeting, the president of the European Commission warned of a rise in racism in EU countries.

“At a very difficult time, both economically and socially, when some people, even within Europe, are tempted to reconnect with old demons — populism, racism and anti-Semitism — we need more than ever to uphold, to protect and to promote together our common ideals of peace, tolerance, reconciliation and respect for human dignity,” Jose Manuel Barroso wrote in a message sent to the European Jewish Congress.

According to statistics released by SPCJ, the security unit of France’s Jewish communities, France saw a 45-percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks reported through August 2012 from the corresponding period a year ago.

SPCJ counted 386 of what it called “anti-Semitic acts” from January 1 to August 31, as opposed to 266 such incidents in the first eight months of 2011. SPCJ said the figures correlated to official data by French authorities.

Of the incidents in 2012, 101 were “violent actions,” SPCJ said, noting that the Toulouse attack had triggered “an explosion” of anti-Semitic attacks.

JTA contributed to this report.

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