“A sticker virus spreads hate across the city.”
Paris, 8 May 2020
In a letter to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, drew attention to “a growing pandemic of antisemitic stickers in and around the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est area – the principal Paris train stations, in 10th arrondissement.”
The letter stressed that, “many of the stickers call for ‘Separation between the French State and CRIF’ (the French Jewish Leadership Council). Others, equating the State of Israel with Nazi Germany, cover lamp posts.”
Samuels noted that “calls for ‘BDS’ (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel are stuck on banks – particularly HSBC and LCL – and insurance agencies front windows,” continuing, “local residents in the area claimed that waves of these stickers date back to July 2019, and are even visible on Google Street View.”
The Centre emphasized that, “no steps have been taken to remove these ugly expressions of hate, that tarnish the beauty of Paris, nor to penalize the perpetrators,” adding, “calls to the Police or LICRA (the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism) and other associations elicited responses such as:
- “Call the City cleaning services DansMaRue (in my street).”
Yet this simply results in a call centre promising they will “report the complaint to the competent service, with no follow up.” Or...
- “These are merely anti-Israel, not antisemitic!” Or...
- “Engage a lawyer, as calls for boycott are illegal in France.”
“Madam Mayor, the same blight 'infects' the lamp posts along the Champs Elysées... Yet there, radical political stickers attacking banks and political parties appear and quickly disappear, while banks show little interest in washing away antisemitica.”
The Centre argued: “Responses so far, regarding the Jews and the Jewish State, display ignorance or deny the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism, that includes BDS and the equation of Nazism with Israel as, indeed, antisemitic and thus actionable under French law,” continuing, “Madam, surely there is, at least, a municipal fine for stickers placed without a permit?”
“We urge you, Madam Mayor, to take necessary and early action to clean up this sticker virus that spreads hate across the city,” concluded Samuels.