Beliefnet
WASHINGTON, June 22 (AFP) - The French ambassador to the United States assailed a spate of attacks on French Jews but had equally harsh words for US articles blaming such incidents on anti-semitism in France, in an article in the Washington Post on Saturday.

"The recent upsurge in acts of violence against my Jewish countrymen is a matter of great concern in France," French Ambassador Francois Bujon de l'Estang wrote in an article on the editorial page.

"The French authorities and people as a whole share the shock and distress of our Jewish community. Anti-Semitic acts in France have caused understandable emotion in the United States as well, but they have also elicited some offensive, even outrageous, remarks," he wrote.

He cited recent US newspaper articles, including a few that accused the French government of turning a blind eye to the anti-Jewish attacks, as "blatantly malicious."

"France is proud to be the home of the second-largest Jewish diaspora in the world after the United States -- one that is fully and thoroughly integrated.

"Such allegations misread history and grossly misrepresent the realities of today's France," the ambassador wrote.

In the same piece, the ambassador described the series of recent assaults on Jews across France as "inexcusable."

"Nearly all were perpetrated by poorly integrated youths of Muslim origin who would like to bring the Mideast conflict to France," he wrote.

"Such actions ... must be seen for what they are: a spillover from the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

"They don't make France any more anti-Semitic than the persistence of the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists makes the United States a racist country on the verge of restoring segregation or slavery," he said, praising what he called France's "long tradition of tolerance and respect for freedom of religion."

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