Anti-semitism on the rise in France...
Well, these numbers are a surprise, no?
Violent acts or threats against French Jews in the first half of this year outnumbered all similar incidents in 2008, a Jewish community group said Saturday, pointing to a wave of anti-Semitism following Israel's attack on Gaza.
In the period from January to June, 631 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded, the Paris-based Protection Service for the Jewish Community (SCPJ) said, compared to 474 for the whole of 2008.
Some 360 of those took place in January -- the month when Israel launched its military offensive on the Gaza Strip.
From this year's numbers, 113 were violent attacks and 518 were threats of violence.
The data was based on records from the French interior ministry and the SCPJ's own figures.
The SCPJ said anger over Israel's offensive on Gaza was one of the main reasons for the rise in attacks on or threats of violence against Jews.
"The pro-Palestinian movement of January 2009 paved the way for numerous anti-Semitic attacks," the group said in a statement.
"This trend continued over the following months," the SPCJ said.
Jacques Attali, a leading French Jewish intellectual and former adviser to the late French president Francois Mitterrand, sparked controversy earlier this week when he told an Israeli newspaper there "was no problem of anti-Semitism in France."
Richard Prasquier, the head of the CRIF, an umbrella group of secular Jewish organisations, responded to Attali's comments by saying "there is a climate of hatred against Jews (in France) that manifests itself through insults and often physical attacks."