Antisemitism from yellow vests 'is spreading like poison' across France

Bagel shop owner Alexandre Jankowiak center which shop was sprayed with the German word Juden on its front window last week talks with a member of the Jewish community in Paris on Feb.12 2019. According to French authorities the total of registered

Mr Philippe told parliament: "These acts are repulsive".

Frederic Potier, a French government official in charge of fighting anti-Semitism, racism and anti-gay discrimination, said some far-right groups have managed to infiltrate yellow-vest demonstrations.

Of that figure, 183 involved assaults and at least one death - that of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who was killed in a brutal attack at her home last March, believed to be motivated at least partly because she was Jewish.

"But those who are committing violent acts, openly anti-Semitic or racist acts, they must be charged and severely punished".

President Emmanuel Macron was also targeted by graffiti discovered on Monday at the headquarters of French daily Le Monde, using anti-Semitic language to refer to his former job as a Rothschild investment banker.

France's prime minister on Tuesday described a wave of anti-Semitic acts across the country as disgusting and promised a tough response after government statistics showed a sharp rise in incidents targeting Jews over the a year ago.

But Gilles Abecassis, co-founder of Bagelstein, said he did not believe that anti-government demonstrators, some of whom have shown support for a comedian convicted of anti-Semitism, were responsible.

The French government says acts of antisemitism in French increased by 74 percent a year ago, from 311 in 2017 to 541 in 2018.

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"To imagine that this old, disgusting hate will abate once the social tensions ease is just wishful thinking".

"Shame on the despicable person that disfigured my tribute to Simeon Veil, Holocaust survivor", Guemy tweeted Monday along with pictures of the boxes.

The other 358 offences involved anti-Semitic threats or insults.

The Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) called it a "revolting" act that "recalls the darkest hours of history". Some members of the yellow vest movement are known for extremist views, and several anti-Semitic incidents have occurred amid weekly anti-government protests that started in November.

"Conspiracy theorists are very present among their ranks", he said, before referring to a survey released on Monday.

It is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic acts and attacks that have raised fears of a new wave of anti-Jewish violence in a country that is home to Europe's biggest Jewish population.

A rabbi and three children were killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 by an Islamist gunman and in 2015 four Jews at a Kosher supermarket in Paris were among 17 people killed in the city by Islamist militants.

Writing on Twitter on Tuesday, far-right leader Marine Le Pen denounced "a surge in anti-Semitic acts and the desecration of Christian places of worship".

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