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February 28, 2003

Anti-Semitism in French schools

What I find the most disturbing in this is that teachers say they are having trouble teaching the Holocaust because of Arab and Muslim students anger. And, of course, for this to work it would involve the same educators, afraid to teach the Holocaust, enforcing rules against the same intimidation.
Anti-Semitism has become a ``true danger'' in French schools, the education minister said Thursday, announcing new measures to stop acts of hostility toward Jewish students.

Education Minister Luc Ferry said the government was setting up committees to monitor and respond to racist activity among students.

Teachers and principals will no longer be allowed to turn their heads when it comes to harassment of Jewish students, Ferry said.

``There is a trivialization of anti-Semitism that worries us, a new wave of anti-Semitism that is being tolerated by certain adults,'' Ferry said at a news conference.

Education leaders will meet later this month to toughen sanctions against students engaging in such behavior, Ferry said.

Some 455 racist and anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in the first trimester of the year in French public schools. Most were non-violent, involving verbal insults and offensive graffiti, school officials say.

Ferry said the anti-Semitic sentiment in schools can be traced to France's large Muslim and Arab population.

Last September, a group of teachers published a book entitled ``The Lost Territories of the Republic,'' in which they claim the teaching of the Holocaust has become impossible in some classrooms because of hostility toward the subject by students of Arab origin.

Cross posted at Voice from the Commonwealth