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By P.W. van der Horst, J.H. Newman

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Moreover, Jewish organisations tend to exert constant pressure for the acts which they consider to be anti-Semitic to be systematically recognised and dealt with as such by the police and the legal system. This is sometimes excessive because, as we have said, not all actions against Jews are necessarily of an anti-Semitic nature. This combination of public action and community mobilisation of Jews in France reinforces an image which can in itself nurture anti-Semitism: even as victims, do they not get better treatment than any other group?

Are such remarks the outcome of a difference of opinion which began with criteria other than racial ones, or were they based on racial hatred from the outset? A Jewish child is the victim of an extortion racket: does this have anything to do with his Jewish identity? Another child is bullied to such an extent that it is a real ordeal of insults and violence about which he says nothing for fear and shame: none of this will appear in any document. Once the head of the establishment has been informed he remains silent and does nothing: the information is no longer made public.

He put my wife in prison; I’m going to get him. Thus, as a crime punishable by law, anti-Semitic violence is an undeniable phenomenon today, though not, as yet, fatal. Its rise dates from the second intifada, but it was already at work long before. The majority of those mobilised are young people of immigrant origin, people without roots who do not depend—or in any event not directly—on organised networks or communities for ideology or structure. It is not therefore an active expression of radical Islam and there are cases, especially in Alsace, where it seems rather to come from the extreme right.

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