French Jewish politicians put under police protection

French police are guarding the homes of leading MPs as fears grow of antisemitic violence triggered by Israel’s war with Hamas.

Police have said they are protecting National Assembly President Yaël Braun-Pivet and MP Meyer Habib.

France’s interior minister said 100 antisemitic acts had been recorded since Saturday.

In a separate move, Germany’s chancellor declared “zero tolerance” for antisemitism.

He told parliament a pro-Palestinian group that had celebrated the murders of Israeli civilians on Saturday would be banned.

French President Emmanuel Macron was due to meet political leaders and give a TV address in a bid to prevent the war from escalating tensions.

France has a Jewish community of almost 500,000, the biggest in Europe.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told France Inter radio on Thursday that “more than 100” anti-Jewish incidents had been recorded since hostilities broke out.

Most involved graffiti showing “swastikas, ‘death to Jews,’ calls to intifadas against Israel”. However, some incidents included people being arrested attempting to carry knives into schools and synagogues, he added.

It has also emerged that Assembly President Yaël Braun-Pivet has received death threats.

A member of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party, she had parliament lit this week in the colours of the Israeli flag in response to the Hamas attack on Israel and called a minute’s silence before an Assembly session on Tuesday.

Ms Braun-Pivet also announced that Maryam Abu Daqqa, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), would be banned from attending a documentary screening in parliament next month. The militant organisation is recognised as a terrorist organisation by the EU.

Meyer Habib has also been given protection. He represents a constituency for overseas French citizens which includes Israel and the Palestinian Territories and is a vocal supporter of Israel. After the Hamas attack he said “we are witnessing the return of pogroms”.

French politics has been riven by the Hamas attack and its aftermath.

While most parties have condemned Saturday’s “terrorist attack” and expressed support for Israel’s right to respond, the initial response from Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party was more equivocal.

A statement by the party referred to the Hamas attack as “an armed offensive of Palestinian forces”, prompting fierce criticism from other parties, including left-wing allies such as the Socialist and Communist parties.

In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz told MPs in the Bundestag that Israel’s security was German state policy.

He announced that Samidoun, a pro-Palestinian group pictured handing out sweets in the Neukölln area of Berlin to celebrate the Hamas attack, would be banned. “We do not tolerate antisemitism,” he added.

According to German authorities, in several towns across the country including Mainz, Braunschweig and Heilbronn, Israeli flags raised in solidarity with the country were torn down and destroyed, sometimes in just a few hours.

“The act disrespects and mocks the victims” of Hamas’s attack, Braunschweig’s mayor, Thorsten Kornblum, said.

Mr Scholz added that “without Iranian support, Hamas would not have been able to carry out these unprecedented attacks”.