Paris Swastika Vandal Faces Criminal Charges — but Antisemitism Not Among Them
France’s Jewish student union reacted with outrage on Wednesday after the Paris public prosecutor’s office failed to include a charge of antisemitism in the upcoming trial of a man who sprayed giant red swastikas along columns in the center of the city last weekend.
“As is often the case, there were many words of indignation and no real act of condemnation,” the UEJF — which represents Jewish students in France — declared on Twitter.
“When will there be an end to impunity and a time for sanctions against antisemitism?” the student union asked pointedly.
Le caractère antisémite n’est pas retenu contre l’auteur présumé des croix gammées rue de Rivoli.
Comme souvent, beaucoup de paroles d’indignation et aucun véritable acte de condamnation.
A quand la fin de l’impunité et le temps des sanctions contre l’antisémitisme? pic.twitter.com/6GYvmZifQc
— UEJF (@uejf) October 14, 2020
The offender — a 31-year-old man from the Republic of Georgia — will be remanded in police custody until his trial begins. But while he faces charges of causing damage to property, the prosecutor’s office insisted that there was no legal basis for a crime aggravated by religious or racial hatred.
The prosecutor’s reasoning was based on the observation that the 20 swastikas were daubed on the columns of a building with no historic Jewish associations, and therefore “the damage was committed without specifically targeting buildings identified as being linked to the Jewish community,” Le Figaro reported.