How bad is anti-Semitism in France?

A French Nazi hunter says it’s so bad, the best way to keep up the fight is to leave the country.

Six decades after the end of the Holocaust, the prominent French Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld told the Jerusalem Post that French Jews should pack their bags and get out.

“One of the lessons of the Holocaust is that even if you want to fight against a wave of anti-Semitism, the best [thing] is to leave if you can,” Klarsfeld said during a visit to Israel.

At the same time, Klarsfeld, who lives in Paris, said that he does not expect there be a great wave of Jewish emigration from France to either Israel or the U.S. because most French Jews are well off.

Klarsfeld said history has proven it would have been best “had the Jews of Poland and the Jews of Austria left Europe when they could have.”

Serge Klarsfeld

Klarsfeld’s remarks came on the heels of reports that the Jewish Agency was planning to launch a campaign to persuade French Jews to immigrate to Israel to escape a wave of anti-Semitism.

The French government reported earlier this month that it had recorded 180 incidents of attacks or threats against Jews or Jewish-owned property since the start of this year, according to the Post. Most of those incidents were attributed to an increasingly violent second- and third-generation Muslim population.

With 6 million Muslims and 600,000 Jews, France has both the largest Muslim and Jews populations in Europe.

Although the numbers fell last year, over 2,500 French Jews immigrated to Israel in 2002, double the number a year earlier and the most since 1967.

Klarsfeld, 68, escaped deportation to the death camps by hiding in a closet; he spent the decades following the war in Paris as the leading Nazi hunter in France.

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