Spate of anti-Semitic vandalism hits Paris amid 74% rise in anti-Semitic acts

Portraits of French politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil were defaced with swastikas in Paris.

(CNN)The French interior minister has announced a 74% rise in anti-Semitic acts across the country over the past year amid a series of incidents in Paris in recent days, including the desecration of a memorial to a murdered Jewish man.

On Monday, municipal workers discovered that a tree planted in memory of Ilan Halimi in a Paris suburb was chopped down, while another was cut into. Halimi, 23, was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in an anti-Semitic attack in 2006.
The attack on Halimi's memorial is one of at least four widely reported acts of anti-Semitism in Paris since Sunday. On Monday, portraits of the late politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, painted on postboxes in the city, were found to have been defaced with swastikas.
    Artist Christian Guemy, who created the portraits to commemorate Veil's burial at the Pantheon in 2018, tweeted a photo of the vandalized postboxes. "Shame on he who heinously disfigured my homage to Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, painted on the letterboxes of the town hall in the 13th district of Paris at the time of her pantheonization, with a swastika," Guemy wrote. "What cowardice... very shocking."
    The same day, Frédéric Potier of the Interministerial Delegation to Combat Racism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-LGBT Hate (DILCRAH) tweeted a photo of anti-Semitic graffiti on a Paris garage. "When the hatred of Jews combines with the hatred of democracy, the language of the #fascistsphere appears on the walls!" Potier wrote.
    On Sunday, Gilles Abecassis, co-founder of French bagel chain Bagelstein, said one of the stores had been graffitied with the word "Juden." The German word for "Jews" was sprayed in yellow paint on the window of a store on the Ile Saint-Louis, an island in the Seine.