January 25, 2009
A major kosher food warehouse in Paris was badly damaged in an arson attack.
Molotov cocktails were found after Friday night's attack near the warehouse, which provides kosher meat and other products for much of the Paris region.
A video camera showed one person firebombing a car parked in front of the shop in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil Sous Bois. Police said the flames from the vehicle could have spread to the warehouse.
While police say it is too early to conclude a motive for the attack, the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism said in a statement Sunday that it has "no doubt" the attack was anti-Semitic. The group noted that the store was clearly marked with religious symbols on its exterior.
A sharp rise in anti-Jewish crime has plagued France since the start of Israel's operation in Gaza. French government officials and Jewish institutions believe recent massive, flag-burning anti-Israel protests have incited some to attack Jewish individuals and institutions. During several marches, police have stopped some protesters who tried heading toward the nearest synagogue.
Despite the Israel-Hamas cease-fire, French pro-Palestinian organizations are still calling for sanctions against Israel and marching to demand Israel be tried for war crimes. Nearly 10,000 people, including leaders of the far-left Communist and Green political parties, participated Saturday in such a march in Paris, according to police and the French press agency AFP. The march did not end in riots, as has happened in recent weeks.
In another incident, the the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism reported that a father and son were spit on and threatened Saturday as they left a synagogue that was firebombed Jan. 11 in the northern Paris suburb Saint-Denis.
According to the bureau, the Chabad-Lubavitch father and son were called "dirty Jews," were told they would be killed and had beer bottles thrown at them by four men of North and sub-Sahara African origin.