Marches against anti-Semitism have been taking place throughout France after 80 Jewish grave were desecrated in the French city of Alsace earlier this month. The demonstrations are part of a growing wider awareness in France about the rise of anti-Semitism in a country with one of the world’s largest Jewish populations.
The most recent act of vandalism took place in the village of Quatzenheim, close to the border with Germany. The headstones were painted with Nazi symbols and references to the Elsassisches Schwarzen Wolfe (Black Alsacian Wolves), a notorious neo-Nazi separatist group that operated in the Alsace region in the 1970s.
One of the marches against anti-Semitism that took place in Paris was attended by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and two former Presidents, François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, along with a few members from the controversial Yellow Vest movement.
The Yellow Vest movement has been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism ever since the group led violent protests in the streets on central Paris late last autumn. Most recently, a video from tied to the Yellow Vest movement featured a character who referred to himself as a “dirty Zionist” went viral on social media.
Yellow Vest protesters also launched anti-Semitic abuse at Ingrid Levavasseur, who tried to lead a list of the protest movement in the coming European Parliament elections.
Recently the headquarters of daily Le Monde was sprayed with graffiti that used anti-Semitic slogans in reference to President Emmanuel Macron‘s former job as a Rothschild investment banker. Other graffiti across Paris called Macron a “Jews’ Bitch” and a “Jewish pig.”
Last year, French police recorded a 74% surge in anti-Semitic crimes.