Twitter suspends account of far-right French weekly

Twitter account of French weekly Rivarol suspended after repeated denunciations by watchdogs.

Ben Ariel,

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The Twitter account of the French far-right weekly Rivarol was suspended on Monday after repeated denunciations by watchdogs, with an anti-racism group hailing an "important victory", AFP reported.

The French government's special representative on racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination, Frederic Potier, said the suspension was thanks to a "mobilization... against online hate speech."

The Rivarol Twitter account "uncontestably called for racial hatred and sympathized with crimes against humanity," a spokesman told AFP.

In a tweet on February 13 the weekly wrote: "When I was a child I didn't understand why Jews were detested by all people, all nations throughout history. Today I don't even ask the question anymore. Actually I do, I wonder why they aren't (detested) more."

Sacha Ghozlan, head of the French Union of Jewish Students, told AFP, "It's an important victory and a brake on this anti-Semitic rag that has been spreading hatred of Jews for years."

He said he suspected that Rivarol's editor Jerome Bourbon -- whose own Twitter account was already suspended -- was personally behind the magazine's tweets.

The incident comes amid increased anti-Semitism in France. Just last week, a memorial in Paris to Ilan Halimi, a French-born Moroccan Jewish man who was murdered in 2006, was desecrated.

Twice last week, swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti were found at multiple locations in Paris, including the window of a bagel shop and mailboxes which featured the portrait of French politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil.

In December, grave markers in a Jewish cemetery near Strasbourg in eastern France were vandalized with swastikas and other neo-Nazi tags.

Also that month, a 20-year-old Jewish woman was beaten and robbed by two teens hurling anti-Semitic epithets.

The French interior minister said last week that the number of anti-Jewish offences reported to police surged 74 percent last year, to 541 up from 311 in 2017, after two years of declines.

French President Emmanuel Macron last week condemned an "unacceptable increase" in anti-Semitic vandalism and hate speech.

"Anti-Semitism is a repudiation of the Republic, in the same way that attacking elected officials or institutions is a repudiation of the Republic," Macron told ministers at a cabinet meeting.




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