The Representative Council of Jewish institutions in France (CRIF) reacted furiously to an announcement from the Paris public prosecutor’s office that no antisemitic motive had been established in the case of a man who sprayed a series of large red swastikas along the French capital’s landmark Rue de Rivoli.
In a post on Twitter, the CRIF declared its “total incomprehension” at the prosecutors’ decision.
How can you spray 20 swastikas without being prosecuted for antisemitism?” CRIF asked.
Incompréhension totale ! L'auteur des tags rue de #Rivoli est déféré au parquet de Paris sans retenue de la circonstance aggravante d'antisémitisme.
Comment peut-on faire une vingtaine de croix gammées sans être poursuivi pour antisémitisme ?
On marche sur la tête ! @E_DupondM
— CRIF (@Le_CRIF) October 14, 2020
The offender in the case — a 31-year-old man born in Georgia — will be remanded in police custody until his trial begins.
But while he faces charges of causing damage to property, the prosecutor’s office insisted that there was no legal basis for a crime aggravated by religious or racial hatred.
The prosecutor’s reasoning was based on the observation that the swastikas were daubed on the columns of a building with no historic Jewish associations, and therefore “the damage was committed without specifically targeting buildings identified as being linked to the Jewish community.”