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#################### Geoff Seidner
Friday, 25 July 2014
THE OZ - 25/7 Europe’s anti-Semitism ‘worst since Hitler’
A French riot police officer looks at burning barricades in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on July 20, 2014, after clashes over Gaza.Source: AFP
CONFLICT in the Middle East is fuelling anti-Semitism in Europe on a scale not seen since the time of Hitler, Jewish groups said yesterday.
Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, the Israeli ambassador to Germany, said Jews were again being targeted in an ominous fashion. “They pursue the Jews in the streets of Berlin as if we were in 1938,” he said. In France, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions said eight synagogues were attacked in the past week.
The warnings came as more than a thousand officers were drafted on to the streets of Paris to police a pro-Palestinian protest march yesterday. Earlier in the week, protesters, largely Muslim, firebombed Jewish shops when their attempt to march on a synagogue in Sarcelles, north of Paris, was blocked by riot police.
France’s Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, said tensions linked to the Middle East were being fuelled by a combination of Islamic radicals and ultra-right fanatics bent on “destabilising” his country. France has Europe’s biggest Jewish community — 500,000 — and largest Muslim population, about five million.
A German government spokesman denounced the outbreak of hate speech as an “attack on liberty and tolerance”. The protests have prompted claims in the Israeli media that Jerusalem is losing the battle for public opinion around the world. Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the US, said Israel was being portrayed on social media as a well-armed giant killing innocent Palestinian civilians.
President Francois Hollande’s decision to authorise yesterday’s pro-Palestinian protest, after banning similar demonstrations at the weekend, was condemned in some quarters. Luc Chatel, secretary-general of the Union for a Popular Movement, said: “You can’t be firm one day and not the next.” Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, said protesters who employed hate speech would be “neutralised”.