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French prosecutors investigate anti-Semitic slurs on Paris metro

Amid a surge in anti-Semitism in France, prosecutors have opened an investigation into a video that appeared on social media showing a group of young people chanting anti-Jewish slurs in the Paris metro.

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France has logged a record number of anti-Semitic acts since the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel, and the launch of Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Gaza.

The video circulating on social media shows a group of young people in the metro chanting: “Fuck the Jews and fuck your mother; long live Palestine”, and “We are Nazis and proud of it”.

Filmed from the back, the faces of those chanting are not shown.

Paris police prefect Laurent Nunez said on X the words in the video were “shocking, unacceptable, unworthy comments”.

The Paris prosecutor is investigating the “glorification of terrorism”, “public insults based on the affiliation or non affiliation, real or suspected, with an ethnicity, nation, race or determined religion” and “public provocation to hatred, violence or racial discrimination”.

Transport Minister Clement Beaune said the government would be firm.

Stars of David stencils

Prosecutors are also looking into a series of blue stars of David stenciled on buildings in and around Paris and other cities.

The prosecutors office said the investigation was into property damage, and the fact that the stencils were done “on the grounds of origin, race, ethnicity or religion”.

However, prosecutors told the AFP news agency that it was unclear whether the tags were intended to insult the Jewish people or to claim Jewish membership.

The investigation was necessary “in view of the geopolitical context and its impact on the population”, the prosecutors office said.

Carine Petit, Mayor of Paris’s 14th arrondissement, where buildings were stenciled, called the stars anti-Semitic and racist acts.

“This act of marking is reminiscent of the methods used in the 1930s and the Second World War, which led to the extermination of millions of Jews,” she said in a statement

Similar marks were also found in the 18th arrondissement, where Mayor Éric Lejoindre has lodged a complaint.

Tags appeared in suburbs around Paris last weekend, with the stencils accompanied by inscriptions such as “From the sea to the Jordan, Palestine will overcome”.

Rising anti-Semitism

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said the tags were “despicable acts”, adding the government would “let nothing pass”.

French Interior Minister Gerarld Darmanin said Tuesday that 857 anti-Semitic acts had been recorded France since 7 October, nearly double the number of incidents reported in all of 2022.

He added that 425 people had been arrested and 27 others placed in administrative detention centres. 

The Interior Ministry also said that the Pharos reporting platform had received 6,000 reports of anti-Semitic acts.

(with newswires)

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