Anti-Jewish Activities in Europe Rise After Gaza Incursion | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 06.01.2009
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Anti-Jewish Activities in Europe Rise After Gaza Incursion

The hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas are having repercussions for European Muslims and Jews. Countries throughout the continent are reporting an increase of anti-Jewish acts.

Israeli and Palestinian flags

The Israeli incursion into Gaza has led to attacks on Jews across Europe

French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned on Tuesday, Jan. 6 that his country would not tolerate violence between Muslim and Jewish communities because of the ongoing conflict.

The admonition came after a burning car was rammed into the gates of a synagogue in Toulouse late Monday evening.

No one was hurt, but local Jewish leader Armand Partouche said that people were inside the building at the time and could have been injured or even killed.

He said his community was nervous.

"We really fear that anti-Semitism will spring up again and that the current conflict [in Gaza] will be transposed to our beautiful republic," Partouche told AP news agency.

French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie condemned the attack as "stupid and revolting."

"My concern is that the situation should not degenerate in our country, that the violence not be imported," she told AFP news agency.

France has the EU's largest Muslim and its largest Jewish communities, and tensions have risen since Israel's military reaction to Hamas-sponsored rocket attacks began late in December.

But it's not just in France that Middle East violence is threading to spill over onto European streets.

"All Antwerpers"

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest in front of the state opera in Vienna

European Muslims have also made their feelings known with peaceful protests

In Belgium, the government announced on Tuesday that it was taking extra precautions to prevent Gaza-related unrest, after police reported that a gang had tried to set fire to a door of a synagogue in Antwerp.

It was the latest in a series of incidents including street scuffles between Muslims and Jews in the city. Leaders from both communities have appealed for calm.

"The Jews and Muslims of Antwerp do not share the same views on what is happening in the Middle East, but that is no reason to bring the conflict here," community leaders said in a joint statement. "We are all Antwerpers, Flemish, Belgian and neighbors."

And the problem is making itself felt in Britain and Denmark as well.

"Over the last week, we've now seen over 20, perhaps 25, anti-Semitic incidents that appear to be related to the violence in Gaza and southern Israel," Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust, a Jewish advocacy in Britain, told AFP.

And in Denmark a 27-year-old man of Palestinian descent is being investigated for the shooting of two Israelis last week.

Danish authorities say the shooting could have been related to anger stemming from the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Anti-Jewish acts by European Muslims have spiked before in recent years, most notably during the Palestinian uprising in 2000 and in 2002 during the War in Afghanistan and US preparations for the Iraq War.

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