Antisemitism from yellow vests 'is spreading like poison' across France

“Juden” the German word for Jews was scrawled in yellow paint on the window of a Bagelstein café in an apparent reference to the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of France

“Juden” the German word for Jews was scrawled in yellow paint on the window of a Bagelstein café in an apparent reference to the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of France

It is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic acts and attacks that have raised fears of a new wave of anti-Jewish violence in a country that is home to Europe's biggest Jewish population. The store window had been graffitied with the German word meaning "Jews" in yellow paint overnight.

Mr Castaner and other ministers voiced alarm over the resurgence of French antisemitism, with a 74 per cent rise in incidents recorded across France past year. "Day after day I'm noticing scandalous degradation and inscriptions".

A judicial official told The Associated Press that Paris prosecutors have opened four investigations following incidents in the French capital last weekend. The person was not authorized to be publicly named because the investigations are ongoing.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Monday the number of anti-Jewish offences reported to the police surged 74 percent a year ago, to 541 from 311 in 2017. Two trees planted at the scene where he was found dying in a Paris suburb have been vandalized.

But the rise in anti-Semitic acts in France predates the "yellow vest" demonstrations and there was no evidence on Tuesday tying the latest incidents to the movement.

But Gilles Abecassis, co-founder of Bagelstein, said he did not believe that anti-government demonstrators, some of whom have shown support for a comedian convicted of anti-Semitism, were responsible.

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The police are investigating the incident, which the French government's special representative on racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination, Frederic Potier, described as "ignominious".

"When the hatred of the Jews overlaps with the hatred of democracy, the vocabulary of the fachosphere (the sphere of fascists) is found on the walls", Potier wrote.

He was speaking at a memorial last night to Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man who was tortured to death by Muslim men in 2006. A survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who died in 2017, Veil also spearheaded abortion rights as one of France's most prominent female politicians.

The Ifop poll said almost half of "yellow vests" believed in a worldwide "Zionist plot", as well as the "Great Replacement" theory, which posits that immigration is being organised deliberately "to replace Europe's native populations".

Concerns that anti-Semitism might be growing in France pre-dated the protests that were started in the fall to oppose fuel tax increases.

The incident involving the postboxes was reported by artist Christian Guemy, who painted the portraits of Veil on the boxes in the city's 13th district to mark her burial a year ago at the Pantheon, final resting place of France's most illustrious figures.

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