France 'no longer lax on anti-Semitism'

7th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, May 6 (AFP) - A French minister assured American Jews Thursday that France was no longer lax on anti-Semitism, after vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in France last weekend provoked indignation.

WASHINGTON, May 6 (AFP) - A French minister assured American Jews Thursday that France was no longer lax on anti-Semitism, after vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in France last weekend provoked indignation.

"Some in France in recent years preferred to avoid speaking of anti-Semitic acts, as if denying a reality could help in fighting this persistent evil," government spokesman and deputy minister at the Interior Ministry Jean-Francois Cope told some 1,000 people at an American Jewish Committee dinner.

"I want to tell you, solemnly, that my government has resolutely chosen the opposite course over the past two years, showing that the days of laxity are well and truly over," he said.

Sixty-seven anti-Semitic incidents were reported in France during the first three months of 2004, compared to 42 in the previous quarter, according to Interior Ministry figures.

In the latest incidents, 127 graves were desecrated in a Jewish cemetery in the Alsacian city of Herrlisheim on the weekend, nazi symbols and slurs were daubed at across an outer wall of a Jewish synagogue in the northern city of Valenciennes.

Graves at Christian cemeteries in eastern and northern France were also defaced.

"The message is clear: never again," said Cope. "This is a top priority for us. We will never give in.

"Not a day goes by that we do not fight intransigently against anti-Semitism in all its forms," he said. "We are committed to a battle for respect, freedom and democracy without concession for all religious beliefs."


© AFP

Subject: French news

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