Anti-Semitic violence peaked last spring when the Iraq war began: 78 acts recorded for the months of March to May alone. And, reports Le Monde:
Anti-Semitism remains in the majority relative to other forms of racism. This trend, begun in 2000 with the flare-up of anti-Jewish violence during the start of the second Intifada, has continued in 2003 with 72% of violent threats recorded. "Anti-Semitism continues to be very much present in French society," observes the CNCDH. The data, which were also recorded by the Interior Ministry and the Representative Council of France's Jewish Institutions [Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France or CRIF], show that violence has been maintained at a "considerable level." Five hundred eighty-eight incidents are cited, including 125 violent acts (70 assaults, 49 desecrations of places belonging to the Jewish community and 6 arsons) and 463 threats (insults, graffiti or leaflets).The report also notes, however, that 81% of violent acts target the Maghreban population, which is "the highest percentage since 1993." There was also a "disturbing percentage" of acts with anti-Islamic intentions: 36 attacks or threats against Muslim places (mosque, place of prayer or burial plot). The report speaks of a "growing conflation" of anti-Arab racism and hostility to Muslims.
Worrisome sign: 32 assaults targeted children and minors and the number of victims (21 in 2003) has never been as high. "These statistics demonstrate that violence against the Jewish community is taking root and getting worse," the report states. "According to the police, the perpetrators come principally from among "the young delinquents of the so-called problem neighborhoods," who act as much out of xenophobic provocation as out of the rejection of all institutions, with members of the Jewish community joining the traditional targets (the police, firefighters, doctors...)
CNCDH also commissioned a poll of 1,052 people by BVA that indicated that opinions on immigration haven't really changed. Forty-one percent feel that the number of immigrants is too high (which, believe it or not, represents a ten-point drop since last year!!) Forty-six percent say the presence of foreigners is source of tension. Thirty-nine percent say there are too many Muslims and 23% say that Muslims are "not like other French people."