France saw an increase of 58 percent in anti-Semitic incidents in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to a report released Tuesday by the SPCJ, the security unit of France’s Jewish communities.
The report showed that 614 anti-Semitic acts were documented in the country last year compared to 389 in 2011.
Incidents in which the victims were accosted physically or verbally on the street increased 82 percent, to 315 last year from 177 cases in 2011, SPCJ said. A fourth of the 96 physical anti-Semitic assaults involved a weapon.
The head of France’s CRIF Jewish representative group, Richard Prasquier, said the increase in incidents “damages the image of France.”
“In the last 13 years the number of anti-Semitic acts has exploded. French citizens, because they are Jewish, must be protected when they study, gather or pray,” he said in a statement.
SPCJ notes two peaks in anti-Semitic attacks in 2012: following the Toulouse shooting, when 90 acts were recorded within 10 days, and after the Oct. 6 bombing of a kosher supermarket in Sarcelles in which two people were lightly wounded, when 28 acts were recorded in the next eight days.
“Far from raising awareness, the attacks in Toulouse and Sarcelles were followed by a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic attacks,” the report stated.