UN secretary-general worried about anti-Semitism in France

Ban Ki-moon meets with French president, says UN opposes all forms of hate and religious intolerance

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90/File)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90/File)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the issue of anti-Semitism in France during a meeting with French President François Hollande in Paris on Tuesday, Israel Radio reported.

At a press conference after the meeting, Ban reportedly said that he was concerned by the recent rise in attacks on the French Jewish community, stressing that the UN was opposed to any hatred or anti-religious intolerance.

Hollande reportedly said that anti-Semitism was a worldwide phenomenon and that France would continue to fight against it.

Ban also took the opportunity to thank Hollande for the 10 million euros that France had recently contributed to the Palestinian Authority, adding that a two-state solution was the only way to bring lasting peace to the region.

On Sunday, Hollande met with leaders of the country’s Jewish community amid renewed concerns about anti-Semitism, and pledged to fight extremism and anti-Semitism “with the greatest firmness.”

He said authorities “in the coming days, in the coming hours” will increase security at Jewish religious sites so they won’t be subject to the kind of attack that targeted a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil on Saturday night.

The French Jewish community says it has been the target of increasing anti-Semitic attacks over the last several months. Earlier this year a Muslim gunman targeted a Jewish school in the southern city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two children and another girl.

On September 19, a kosher grocery in the heavily Jewish Paris suburb of Sarcelles was firebombed, injuring one person. The attack came the same day a French satirical paper published crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Anti-western protests were also growing at the time against an anti-Islam film.

On Saturday, French police carried out raids around the country to dismantle the group responsible for the firebombing, arresting 11 members of a Jihadi cell of young Frenchmen recently converted to Islam.

AP contributed to this report.

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