Watchdog: Anti-Semitic incidents doubled in France to new high
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Watchdog: Anti-Semitic incidents doubled in France to new high

(JTA) — Last year saw a doubling of anti-Semitic incidents in France to a record high and a 60 percent increase in Belgium.

In France, the Jewish community’s watchdog on anti-Semitism, SPCJ, recorded 851 incidents in 2014 compared to 423 the previous year, the group reported Tuesday — International Holocaust Memorial Day — on its Facebook page. The total was slightly above the previous record year of 2009, which saw 832 incidents.

In Belgium, the number of incidents recorded last year rose to 200, a 60 percent increase over 2013, according to a report published Friday by the Le Soir daily. The number was based on data collected by the online platform antisemitisme.be, which works with Jewish and government institutions.

Belgium has approximately 40,000 Jews, while France has approximately half a million.

In both countries, the increase was attributed to Israel’s actions during its war in Gaza last summer.

According to SPCJ, about half of all racist attacks in France last year were committed against Jews, who constitute 1 percent of the population. SPCJ released similar figures in 2012, but France’s National Consultative Commission on Human Rights said anti-Semitic attacks accounted for only 39 percent of the overall figure of 1,539 that year.

Anti-Semitic incidents in France that involved violence increased by 130 percent in 2014 over the previous year, according to SPCJ, to 241 from 105. According to the report, the figure for 2014 was the third highest since 1998. The record was 974 incidents in 2002.

Along with major cities such as Paris and Marseille, anti-Semitism was prevalent in heavily Jewish suburbs of the French capital such as Creteil and Sarcelles, SPCJ reported.