A group founded to protect France’s Jewish community says antisemitic acts in France soared 75 percent last year – many coming as Israel pressed an offensive against Hamas in the Middle East in January.
The Jewish Community Protection Service (SPCJ) tallied 832 antisemitic acts in 2009, up from 474 a year earlier. Most involved graffiti and threatening gestures; about 17 percent involved vandalism and violence.
The group said that 354 took place in January 2009 alone, when Israel ended a three-week offensive against Palestinian militant group Hamas in response to rocket attacks from Gaza.
France is home to Western Europe’s largest communities of Muslims and Jews. Flare-ups of antisemitic acts have often coincided with Mideast violence.