96 Jewish Graves Desecrated in France

Macron condemns anti-Semitic attack
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2019 6:39 PM CST
96 Jewish Graves Desecrated in France
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, looks at a vandalized grave during a visit at the Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim, eastern France, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2019.   (Frederick Florin, Pool via AP)

Dozens of graves at a Jewish cemetery were desecrated overnight in France, with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans spray-painted on them, the BBC reports. The vandalism was discovered Tuesday in the village of Quatzenheim, near the France-Germany border, hours before rallies and marches were planned in as many as 60 cities across France to protest an "unprecedented" surge in anti-Semitic attacks, the Telegraph reports. French President Emmanuel Macron inspected the damage to 96 graves at the cemetery, telling those gathered there, "We shall act, we shall pass laws, we shall punish."

Nearly all of France's political leaders were expected to attend the Paris march against anti-Semitism Tuesday. Anti-Semitic attacks were up 74% in France last year, increasing from 311 in 2017 to 541 in 2018; France has Europe's largest Jewish community. Other recent attacks have also made headlines, including swastikas painted on mailboxes, a Jewish bakery, another cemetery, and a monument to Holocaust victims, and a philosopher being subjected to anti-Jewish taunts by protesters. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the cemetery attack, calling it "shocking." (A pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic general was recently hailed in the streets.)

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