New York, NY, March 25, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), disturbed by recent reports indicating that number of anti-Semitic incidents in France increased dramatically in 2004, today called on the French Justice Minister to take immediate steps to further ensure the safety of the Jewish community. The National Consultative Commission on Human Rights reported 970 incidents of violence, threats and intimidation against Jews in 2004, a dramatic increase from the 601 incidents reported in 2003.
The following is the text of a letter to the French Minister of Justice, Dominique Perben, from Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director:
The recent report of the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights indicating that anti-Semitic incidents increased dramatically in 2004, not only in number but in severity, is extremely disturbing.
The Anti-Defamation League has not hesitated to commend France for the positive steps the country has taken in the last few years to combat anti-Semitism. First by acknowledging the problem and then by the system of Ministerial responsibility for monthly reporting on actions taken to fight this hatred, France has indeed moved forward.
Unfortunately, these statistics for 2004 demonstrate that what has been done is not nearly enough. More systematic educational programs are needed. Addressing the problem of bias against Israel in the media cannot be ignored.
Of great significance is the need for more expeditious and harsher prosecutions of those who commit these crimes. The rapid rise of anti-Semitic violence shows that the justice system has failed. It is only when perpetrators know that the government is serious about making those who engage in anti-Semitic acts pay the price will there be deterrence to such behavior.
It is good that France is addressing the problem of anti-Semitism. It is now critical that sufficient action is taken to make a difference on the ground to ensure that the Jews of France will feel completely secure in their country.