France hits new record for antisemitism, with over 1,500 incidents since Oct. 7th

According to France’s interior minister Gérald Darmanin, 571 arrests of alleged offenders have been made.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

France’s interior minister confirmed on Wednesday that there had been no let up in the wave of antisemitism that has engulfed the country since the Hamas pogrom in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Interviewed by broadcaster Europe 1, Gérald Darmanin announced that 1,518 acts of antisemitism had been recorded since the atrocities — a national record, and more than three times the 436 acts reported during the entirety of 2022.

Approximately 50 percent of the incidents involved offensive banners and placards, with a further 22 percent involving insults and threats, 10 percent involving apologies for terrorism, eight percent involving vandalism, and two percent involving physical assault. According to Darmanin, 571 arrests of alleged offenders have been made.

The new data was revealed amid a row over remarks made by the imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris during a television discussion that appeared to challenge the claim that antisemitism in France is becoming worse.

During an appearance on BFMTV on Tuesday night, the imam, Abdelali Mamoun, expressed surprise when he was informed that more than 1,200 antisemitic acts had been recorded since Oct. 7.

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When presented with the figures by one of the show’s anchors, Olivier Truchot, Mamoun seemed visibly confused, asking whether the number incorporated all the antisemitic acts during 2023. Truchot replied that the number was a record only of the last five weeks, leading Mamoun to respond that he had not been aware of the figures until that moment, despite the fact that data on antisemitism has been widely reported in the French media. “You are making yourself look like an idiot,” another studio guest, Alain Marschall, interjected.

Mamoun later apologized for his comments, insisting that he had not intended to undermine the Jewish community’s fear of rising antisemitism.

“I was simply saying that this morning, upon learning this figure which shocked and stunned me, I asked for more details,” he said. “The vast majority of the Muslim component aspires to live in peace both with the rest of the national community but in particular with the Jewish component.” However, in common with the majority of Muslim leaders in France, Mamoun elected not to attend Sunday’s rally against antisemitism in Paris that drew nearly 200,000 participants.

Among those criticizing Mamoun was Darmanin himself, who condemned the imam’s “shocking insinuations” as he revealed the updated figure of 1,518 antisemitic acts.

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Jewish leaders also voiced their displeasure. “When you don’t want to see the problem of antisemitism, that’s when you are part of the problem,” Yonathan Arfi — president of the Jewish representative organization Crif — told the AFP news agency.