The 27-year-old who set fire to a kosher supermarket during a July 20 anti-Israel riot in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles was sentenced to four years in prison, JTA reports—a jail sentence nearly double what the prosecutor in the case was seeking. The suspect was also convicted of assaulting police officers and aggravated theft.
France’s Chief Rabbi, Haim Korsia, who was elected to the position in July at the height of anti-Israel—and often anti-Jewish—unrest throughout France, told JTA the lengthy sentence “reflects the determination of the judiciary to fight anti-Semitic crimes.”
Even if Korsia is right, French authorities have a long way to go. The French watchdog group SPCJ reported that anti-Semitic activity doubled in France this year, with more incidents reported through July 2014 than in the all of 2013. Much of that activity was sparked by Israel’s operation in Gaza this summer, which ignited anti-Israel rallies and demonstrations across Europe, many of which featured thinly disguised displays of anti-Semitism.
The situation in France got so severe that in July French Prime Minister Manuel Valls denounced anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism and the French government temporarily banned anti-Israel demonstrations. The supermarket incident occurred during one of those bans.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.