Macron condemns antisemitism after Jewish girl is raped

Macron condemns antisemitism after Jewish girl is raped

2 hours agoBy Laura Gozzi, BBC NewsGetty ImagesPresident Macron asked his education minister to ensure schools hold conversations on the topics of racism and antisemitism

French President Emmanuel Macron said that French schools are being threatened by the “scourge of antisemitism” after a 12-year-old Jewish girl was raped.

According to French media, the girl told police she had been in a park in Courbevoie, north-west of Paris, with a friend last Saturday when three boys – two aged 13 and one aged 12 – approached her. At least one was known to her.

The victim said the boys dragged her away to an isolated location before hurling antisemitic abuse at her and raping her.

The incident has been described by French police as a hate crime.

The boys were arrested on Monday and two of them were charged with gang rape, antisemitic insults and violence, and issuing death threats.

French media also reported that one of the attackers threatened to kill the girl if she went to the police.

Mr Macron talked about the Courbevoie attack during a Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday, where he meets with the members of his government.

He asked the Minister of Education, Nicole Belloubet, to ensure that over the next few days schools hold a dialogue on the topics of racism and hatred of Jews to prevent “hateful speech with serious consequences” from “infiltrating” classrooms.

Ms Belloubet later wrote on X: “There is no limit to horror… Rape, antisemitism: every part of this crime is revolting.”

Chief Rabbi of France Haim Korsia said he was “horrified”.

“Justice must firmly punish the perpetrators of this despicable act. No one can be excused from this unprecedented antisemitic surge,” Mr Korsia wrote on X.

A January 2024 report by the Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) said there had been a 284% increase of antisemitic acts in France between 2022 and 2023.

It also said that nearly 13% of such acts last year took place in schools. A significant spike was reported in the wake of the 7 October Hamas attacks against communities in Israel.

France is in the middle of a heated election campaign after President Macron called a snap parliamentary election two weeks ago, and politicians from all sides were quick to weigh in.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed (LFI) party, denounced “anti-Semitic racism”.

Marine Le Pen, the president of the far-right National Rally (RN), urged voters to keep in mind the “stigmatisation of Jews by the far left” when they go to the polls later this month.

Her protegee, Jordan Bardella, said if elected he would “fight the antisemitism that has been plaguing France since 7 October”.

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