France: 55 anti-Semitic acts since start of Cast Lead
Representatives of 20 organizations meet with French Secretary of State for Urban Policies in search of solution to rising tensions between groups. Jewish Students Union head says more incidents recorded since start of Gaza op than at start of second intifada
A total of 55 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in France since the start of Israel's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, said President of the French Jewish Students' Union Raphael Haddad on Monday.
"This is a higher number of incidents than that of 2001 after the second intifada started," Haddad said in a meeting with Secretary of State for Urban Policies Fadela Amara.
Representatives of 20 other organizations also took part in the meeting.
France has the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in all of Europe, with some 600,000 Jews and 4 - 5 million Muslims living in the country.
According to Haddad, a total of 271 anti-Semitic incidents were noted in 2007.
In the meeting, representatives of other organizations said tensions have been running high between Jews and Muslims in certain Parisian suburbs and condemned the wave of anti-Semitism that has been spreading over the internet.
In the last week alone three arson attempts were made on synagogues in France, despite religious and political leaders' pleas for restraint.
The last such incident occurred Sunday night, when Molotov cocktails were hurled at a synagogue in the Saint-Denis town north of Paris. The synagogue was not damaged, but a fire broke out in a nearby Jewish restaurant. No one was injured in the incident.
At Amara's request, organization representatives proposed various actions to bring the organizations closer together, starting with writing up a treaty about "coexistence".
Representatives suggested such a treaty be posted online, along with a proposal to hold a convention on racial discrimination and meetings between representatives of the two communities.