Chirac urgess harsh punishmentfor anti-Semitism

17th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac called Wednesday for France to mete out harsh punishment to perpetrators of anti-Semitic crimes after meeting several top representatives of the country's big Jewish community.

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac called Wednesday for France to mete out harsh punishment to perpetrators of anti-Semitic crimes after meeting several top representatives of the country's big Jewish community.

Chirac expressed a wish "for justice to be done with severity, for sentences to be exemplary and that they be widely publicised," said the president's spokeswoman Catherine Colonna.

She was speaking after Chirac received Jewish leaders including the head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, Roger Cukierman and the country's senior rabbi, Joseph Struck.

France has recorded a surge in anti-Jewish acts since the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict started in September 2000.

The country is home to Europe's biggest communities of Muslims and Jews: five million and 600,000 respectively.

French authorities said earlier this month that 180 anti-Jewish acts have been reported so far this year, ranging from insults in the street to vandalism, arson and assaults, but that 80 percent had gone unpunished because their perpetrators were not identified.

Cukierman said after the meeting that "we expressed our concern with the continuing wave of anti-Semtism and our worry to see courts annouce acquittals in anti-Semitic cases."

Struck welcomed Chirac's assurance, saying it underlined "that anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem but rather a national scourge that concerns all our fellow citizens".

Israel's Jewish Agency tasked with attracting Jews to immigrate has sought to use the situation in France by targeting Jews in the country through a specialised campaign.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

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