'Anti-Semitism has no place in our societies'

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Protesters clashed with riot police in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on Sunday during a demo to denounce Israel's military campaign in Gaza. Photo: Omar Beyacoub/AFP
07:43 CEST+02:00
The foreign ministers of Italy, Germany and France on Tuesday condemned anti-Semitic slurs and violence at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Europe and pledged to take firm action.

Italy's Federica Mogherini, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and France's Laurent Fabius issued a joint statement in Brussels warning of a rise in anti-Jewish incidents in Europe during the bloody conflict in Gaza.

"Whipping up anti-Semitism (and) attacking Jewish people and synagogues have no place in our societies," they said, according to a German statement.

"We condemn the ugly anti-Semitic remarks, demonstrations and attacks in recent days in the strongest terms."

The ministers added: "Nothing, not even the dramatic military confrontation in Gaza, justifies such actions in Europe."

They said their countries would "use all the instruments available to states founded on the rule of law against acts and remarks that cross the line into anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia".

And they added they would work together and in their own countries to ensure that "our fellow citizens can continue to live in peace without anti-Semitic hatred".

France has been rocked in recent days by violent pro-Palestinian protests in and near Paris as Israel has mounted an offensive in the Gaza Strip in response to militants' rocket attacks.

A demonstration in the gritty northern Paris suburb of Sarcelles degenerated into violence Sunday with Jewish shops being looted and police using tear gas and rubber bullets against the crowd.

That rally, and another held a day earlier in Paris, went forward despite being banned. At Saturday's rally, dozens of protesters were arrested after clashes with police.

Meanwhile Germany's Jewish community on Monday condemned an "explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews" at a recent string of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the country.

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Protesters waving Palestinian flags and signs of late leader Yasser Arafat in recent days shouted anti-Semitic slogans at rallies against Israel's Gaza offensive, according to German media.

Earlier this year boxes containing pigs heads were sent to Rome’s Israeli embassy and synagogue ahead of the memorial day for victims of the holocaust.

READ MORE HERE: 'We're very worried by rise of Nazis in Europe'

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