Government says antisemitic acts in France show a downward trend

According to the French government’s announcement, France saw a 25 per cent drop in antisemitic acts in the first half of 2022, compared to the same period last year.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin made an announcement last week when he attended the inauguration of a new synagogue in Levallois-Perret, a western suburb of Paris. He declared that compared to the previous year, antisemitic acts have declined in France in the first half of 2022, the MTI reports.

According to the ministry, 227 antisemitic acts occurred between January and June, which means a 25 per cent decrease compared to the 298 recorded incidents in the first half of 2021. Half of these were physical attacks of an antisemitic nature.

“There is no difference between antisemitic acts and hatred of Israel. This must be said again and again,” the interior minister stressed. His words were met with loud applause from the audience.

“The same people who condemn Israel and the same people who condemn – and I put this in quotes – “the mistakes of the Jews”, condemn the police. Sometimes the extremists join them,” said Darmanin. The minister, who is also in charge of religions, stressed that “French secularisation does not mean the denial of religions and does not demand neutrality in public spaces.”

“In France, it is always possible to wear a yoke on the street,” he added, promising that it would never be forbidden by law.

“Secularisation does not exist without religious freedom, and religious freedom does not exist without religious places,” he said. However, he also pointed out that “even if religious freedom is an almost absolute (value), it is not so absolute that it destroys the religion of others.”

Ahead of the inauguration of the Levallois synagogue, the Paris prefecture indicated that it would step up its vigil around Jewish religious sites as religious holidays approach.

According to the French Interior Ministry, in 2021, there were 1,659 anti-religious incidents in the country, of which 857 were anti-Christian, 589 were antisemitic and 213 were against Muslims.