Disbelief, Fury Among French Jews as Paris Swastika Vandal Escapes Charge of Antisemitism
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.”
Incompréhension totale ! L'auteur des tags rue de #Rivoli est déféré au parquet de Paris sans retenue de la circonstance aggravante d'antisémitisme.
Comment peut-on faire une vingtaine de croix gammées sans être poursuivi pour antisémitisme ?
On marche sur la tête ! @E_DupondM
— CRIF (@Le_CRIF) October 14, 2020
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.”
Grand moment d’indignation et de colère oui. Stupéfaction. Audience en cours. 23eme chambre. A suivre…
— D Bisaccia-Bernstein (@DoBisacciaBerns) October 14, 2020