The French government announced on December 4 the creation of a national anti-hate crime office after finding anti-Semitic graffiti at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France. Christophe Castaner, the interior minister made the announcement on Wednesday in the town of Westhoffen, where portraits of holocaust survivors were stained with swastikas and other anti-Semitic inscriptions marred 107 tombs the day before. Castaner condemned the graffiti as a sign that hate crime in the country. He said that they must respect the right to believe and anti-semitism is spreading like a poison.
A special investigation team has begun investigating the incident and he said that the new national office will curb and fight hate crimes. The graffiti marked the latest in a string of anti-Semitic acts in the Bas-Rhin region. The anti-semitic graffiti was also found on Tuesday in the eastern French village of Schaffhouse-sur-Zorn. According to the authorities, the number of anti-Semitism cases registered rose to 541 last year from 311 in 2017, an increase of 74%.
UK’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn declined to offer an apology to the Jewish community after Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, Ephraim Mirvis, accused him of ineffectively dealing with anti-Semitism claims. Rabbi Mirvis, in his article for a British daily, said that Corbyn allowed a “new poison sanctioned from the top” to take root in the party.
Rabbi Mirvis, the UK’s most senior Jewish spiritual leader, called Corbyn unfit for the high post saying the party leadership failed to see anti-Jewish racism as a human problem rather than a political one. The chief rabbi declined to take positions on election and voting for a particular party but posed a question regarding the moral compass of the country saying the very soul of the nation is at stake. He lambasted the party leadership since Labour members, accused of anti-Semitism, were not suspended and investigations have been going on for a long time.