PARIS, Jan. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC welcomed French President François Hollande's renewed call for a government action plan to combat anti-Semitism in France. Speaking at Paris's Holocaust Memorial, Hollande said the rise of anti-Semitic acts in France was "an unbearable reality," and that new laws would be implemented soon, including measures to penalize websites containing anti-Semitic content.
Hollande's speech, on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, came as the Jewish Community Protection Service (SPCJ), in cooperation with the French Interior Ministry, issued a new report showing that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in France had increased by 101 percent during 2014.
"The SPCJ report is another wake-up call to the severity of anti-Semitism in France," said AJC Paris Director Simone Rodan-Benzaquen. "The urgent need for concrete measures to eradicate this cancer is clearer and more pressing than ever before."
There were 851 reported anti-Semitic incidents in 2014, compared to 423 in 2013, according to Interior Ministry statistics included in the SPCJ report. Violent incidents were up by 130 percent, with 241 reported in 2014, compared to 105 in 2013.
"Anti-Semitic acts represent 51 percent of racist acts committed in France while Jews make up only one percent of the French population," the SPCJ stated.
"The jihadist terrorist attack and murder of four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris was only the latest, violent act of anti-Semitism in France, where we have seen a steady trail of rising anti-Semitism for years," said Rodan-Benzaquen.
AJC Paris praised President Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls for their continuing commitment to fight anti-Semitism. "Recognition at the highest levels of government that this cancer threatens not only Jews, but endangers France, is vital for developing and implementing effective measures," said Rodan-Benzaquen. "President Hollande's proposal to stipulate in the French penal code that anti-Semitic and racist content on the Internet and social media are criminal acts will be essential to this campaign."
The Paris office of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, works closely with authorities, Jewish community and civil society organizations on combatting anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred and racism. "Government alone cannot tackle this evil. All French citizens of goodwill must further step up their efforts against those who are consumed by hatred of Jews," said Rodan-Benzaquen.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee