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Rising Antisemitism: Attack On Jewish Teen Highlights Disturbing Pattern

Antisemitic Assault on Jewish Boy in Lyon Reflects Alarming Trend in France

LYON, France — In the French city of Lyon near the Cours Émile-Zola intersection on July 24 at around 5:30 p.m., three individuals assaulted an unidentified Jewish 13-year-old boy, shoving and pushing him against a wall. The violence in a small alley stopped when a witness intervened.

After the attack, the still-unknown assailants reportedly told the adolescent, who was wearing traditional religious clothing, that they would kill him if he dared tell anyone of their crime.

LyonFrance
Émile-Zola Street in the second arrondissement of Lyon, France. “Unfortunately, this kind of antisemitic assault is not an exception,” says Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Paris branch. JEAN HOUSEN VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

The teen was not intimidated by the threat of retaliation, telling his parents upon reaching home and prompting a police visit to begin a hate-crime investigation. “No new updates have been filed regarding the case since last wee,” said Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Paris branch.

Sebban-Bécache told Zenger News that this act of violence fits with the broader trends of antisemitism throughout the country. “Antisemitic violence is particularly very much present in France,” she said. “The number of violent antisemitic attacks has increased by 8 percent. The case of this young man was covered because local media from Lyon decided to make a story out of it, but unfortunately, this kind of antisemitic assault is not an exception.”

LyonFrance
Émile-Zola Street in the second arrondissement of Lyon, France. “Unfortunately, this kind of antisemitic assault is not an exception,” says Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Paris branch. JEAN HOUSEN VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

She pointed to recent AJC research showing that 74% of French Jews have experienced antisemitism, while for young French Jews, that number reached as high as 82%. The risk increases for Jews donning visible signs of their religion, with 39% doing so experiencing a physical assault compared to 13% who rarely or never wear such items or clothing.

“The first lesson from this survey is that antisemitism appears to be a phenomenon of which the French are well-aware. Two-thirds of respondents believe it is widespread (64%) and increasing (64%),” said AJC research.

This finding is shared across all levels of French society, regardless of the age, gender, social category or religion of the respondents. The scale of the phenomenon is even more widely recognized by French people of Jewish faith or culture, almost all of whom believe that these attitudes are widespread (85%) and have been increasing over the past ten years (73%).

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager

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