Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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French Assailant Shouts “Dirty Jew” While Attacking Jewish Man Outside Synagogue

UPDATE March 6, 2024: An arrest has been made by French police in relation to this incident; more here.

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A man wearing a kippah was attacked on Friday night as he left a synagogue in Paris, according to French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

“According to initial information, a new antisemitic attack took place in Paris yesterday evening,” Darmanin said on Saturday evening.

The assailant shouted “dirty Jew” during the attack, said French Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities Minister Aurore Berge, who pledged to protect all French people in the face of antisemitism.

French outlet BFM TV reported that during the 20th arrondissement incident, the victim was punched and kicked to the ground, after which the assailant fled on foot. The victim was reportedly taken to a hospital.

Darmanin assured that everything was being done to find the perpetrator.

“On my instructions, since yesterday, the prefects have reinforced surveillance of places frequented by our Jewish compatriots who must not be victims of the tragedies taking place in the Middle East,” said Darmanin.

The incident comes as Darmanin has increased security in France to prevent such incidents, telling the heads of French police forces to “please proceed with an immediate strengthening of security measures for Jewish community sites,” with a particular emphasis on schools, according to an internal communication reported by the Figaro newspaper.

Darmanin told the officers to ensure the “systematic presence of internal security forces around schools during students’ entries and exits” and at places of worship during arrival and departure times. Darmanin called on “the intelligence services to assess threats to public order” and to pay “particular attention to possible future demonstrations.”

The internal communication cited “the high level of the terrorist threat which continues to weigh on our country and the tensions in the Middle East which have experienced a sudden increase in recent days.”

That article connected Darmanin’s order to the fallout from the aid convoy disaster in Gaza, which left at least dozens of Palestinians dead. Palestinians have alleged that the IDF conducted a massacre during the incident. The IDF said that a stampede and general chaotic environment caused much of the loss of life.

Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) president Yonathan Arfi said in response to the Friday attack that the situation in the Middle East was being used as a pretext for attacks on Jews, and that since the October 7 massacre “antisemitism has changed in scale.” Arfi said that

“A few dozen antisemitic acts per year were recorded by the Interior Ministry in the 1990s,” Arfi wrote on X. “A few hundred per year from 2000 to 2022. And in 2023, for the first time, anti-Semitic acts were counted in the thousands (1676). It is time to react because if anti-Semitism begins with the Jews, it never stops with the Jews.”