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Head of Anti-Semitism Watchdog Group Targeted in France

Vandals torched the car of Sammy Ghozlan, head of a French anti-Semitism watchdog group, outside his Paris home.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/31/2010, 4:05 PM / Last Update: 5/31/2010, 6:56 PM

Flash 90
The head of a French anti-Semitism watchdog group was targeted early Monday in an arson attack when attackers torched Sammy Ghozlan's car outside his home in the Paris suburb of Blanc-Mesnil.

Ghozlan has filed a complaint with police, who are investigating.

The arson was “an anti-Semitic attack and intimidation,” Ghozlan said. He told the European Jewish Press that he had not received any threats prior to the attack, and that no individual or organization has claimed responsibility.

Ghozlan, a retired French police captain, heads the Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l'Antisémitisme (National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism). He aims to protect Jews in neighborhoods known for anti-Semitic violence by ensuring that attacks are reported.

He has also pushed police to look into anti-Semitism as a motive for attacks on Jews, and has drawn attention to anti-Semitic incitement.

Anti-Semitic attacks nearly doubled in France in 2009, with Jewish organizations counting 832 attacks on Jews compared with 474 in 2008. The increase was apparently linked to Israel's counterterrorism offensive in Gaza in early 2009; by summer, the number of attacks had dropped to previous levels.