French President Emmanuel Macron has told Jewish leaders that France will adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism as part of a strategy to counter antisemitism. He said that adopting the Definition will help guide police forces, magistrates and teachers in their work.
Campaign Against Antisemitism welcomes this decision to adopt a clearer and firmer approach to fighting antisemitism at this worrying time for Jews in France. The President also announced that he would ask Parliament to vote on a new law to combat online abuse.
In a speech at the annual dinner of CRIF, the representative body of French Jewish institutions, Mr Macron said: “For the first time in many years, antisemitism is killing people again in France.” He lamented that it was a “failure” that French authorities “did not know how to react effectively.” He will also urge his Education Minister to address the fact that Jewish children are “too often” forced to leave public schools for private Jewish schools due to antisemitism.
The move was announced just a day after thousands of demonstrators gathered in cities across France to condemn antisemitism. An estimated 20,000 people rallied in Paris, led by Edouard Philippe, the Prime Minister and former French Presidents and politicians. This followed several antisemitic incidents, including the desecration of nearly 100 graves with swastikas at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France.
France has been shaken by terrorist attacks targeting Jews in recent years, including the shooting of Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket in Paris and of schoolchildren and their teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse.
Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Lord Eric Pickles and others worked hard for over many meetings with officials at Downing Street. France will join a growing list of countries to use the definition, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia which recently adopted it.