French Official Promises to Act with ‘extreme Severity’ Against Resurgence of Anti-semitism

French Interior Minister Raymond Marcellin promised here this week to “act with extreme severity” against the resurgence of racism and anti-Semitism in France. The Minister made the statement following a meeting with Jean Pierre-Bloch, president of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICA). Pierre-Bloch, who requested the meeting, also represented the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIJ).

The LICA president discussed in particular the anti-Semitic incidents which occurred last month in the French Riviera towns of Antibes and Juan-les-Pins. At that time, Jewish vacationers were attacked by assailants armed with bicycle chains, sticks, and iron bars. Police did not intervene. A few days earlier, 30 French mayors told the LICA they had received mimeographed letters expressing violent anti-Semitism.

The town of Antibes has a permanent Jewish community of 450 families. In the summer, the town has some 3000 Jewish vacationers, most of whom are of Tunisian origin and who have resettled in the underprivileged neighborhoods of Paris. They have been criticized for speaking Arabic, living in crowded quarters and for “not knowing how to act” on the street.

Anti-Arab feeling has been growing in France during the past two weeks following the killing of a French bus driver in Marseilles by a crazed Algerian immigrant worker. Seven Algerians have since been murdered in what strongly appears to be racial reprisals.

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