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October 15, 2020 2:54 pm

Disbelief, Fury Among French Jews as Paris Swastika Vandal Escapes Charge of Antisemitism

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avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A municipal worker in Paris removes one of 20 large swastikas sprayed along Rue de Rivoli. Photo: Screenshot.

French Jews continued to react furiously on Thursday to the announcement from the Paris public prosecutor’s office that antisemitic provocation was not among the charges facing a man who allegedly sprayed series of large red swastikas along the French capital’s landmark Rue de Rivoli last weekend.

In a post on Twitter, CRIF — the representative body of French Jews — declared its “total incomprehension” at the prosecutors’ decision.

“How can you spray 20 swastikas without being prosecuted for antisemitism?” CRIF asked.

The offender in the case — 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 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.”

Meanwhile, a lawyer in the case representing LICRA — a leading civic organization combating antisemitism and racism in France — declared herself “stupefied” by the decision.

The decision not to include antisemitism among the charges was also a “great moment of indignation and anger,” lawyer Dorothée Bissacia-Bernstein tweeted, adding: “To be continued.”

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