French President Emmanuel Macron says anti-Semitism is the worst its been since World War II.
Macron addressed Jewish community leaders Wednesday after thousands of people flooded the streets in protest of a recent scourge of attacks against Jews.
"Our country, and for that matter all of Europe and most Western democracies, seems to be facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism unseen since World War II," Macron said while speaking at the Representative of French Jewish Institutions annual dinner.
France is home to Europe's largest Jewish community and saw a 74 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks in 2018. Just this week, 80 Jewish graves were vandalized with swastikas.
The president said he has asked his interior minister to ban racist groups and vowed to introduce legislation that will criminalize "hate speech" online.
Macron also went as far to say France will recognize anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism.
President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter to Macron praising him for taking the attacks agains the Jewish community seriously.
"Mr. President, times like these demand clear and strong leadership. As I saw when we met on my recent visit to France, your actions, as well as your words, show how seriously you take the issue of anti-Semitism. This is an important message for the people of France and its Jewish community. It gives us all belief that we can and we must fight this scourge and that, together, we will overcome hatred of all kinds," the president said.
On Tuesday, French police arrested an anti-Semite who was seen on camera harassing Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut. The video depicts the man calling Finkielkraut a "dirty Zionist" and telling him "France is ours."
The incident sparked international outrage and Israel's Immigration Minister Yoav Gallant pleaded with French Jews to "come home" to Israel for their safety.
Last Monday, French authorities found swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs painted on mailboxes displaying the portraits of French politician and Holocaust survivor, Simone Veil.
Anti-Semites also cut down a tree planted in memory of a Jewish man who was tortured to death in 2006.
Last Sunday, vandals spray painted the word "Juden" (German for Jew) on a Bagelstein bagel shop.
The emboldened acts of anti-Semitism in France come just three months after a deadly attack on a Jewish community in the US.
The suspect in the Oct. 27 shooting massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh pled not guilty to 11 counts of hate crimes and murder.
"It's like a contagious disease that always under the surface and sometimes it spurs up into epidemic proportions and then sometimes it recedes," remarked the Moody Bible Institute’s Michael Rydelnik, whose parents survived the Holocaust.
"We thought after the Holocaust, most historians and analysts thought, ‘That's the end of it’ and we saw how evil it is and we thought it would be over,” he continued. “And yet in recent days, it's revived really strongly."
Rydelnik says this type of hatred knows no political party and exists in both extreme fringes.
Just recently, freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) apologized after tweeting criticisms of US support of Israel and tweeting in 2012 that "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel."
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 16, 2012
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League recently issued a report that shows anti-Semitic incidents rose nearly 60 percent in just one year – from 2016 to 2017.
"Well, I think it's really interesting that the new anti-Semitism, it used to just be on the right, right wing fascist kind of Nazi kind of ideology, extreme right,” Rydelnik noted. “I don't think all conservatives are like that, but the extreme Right.”
“Now the extreme Left has embraced it as well, and so you have two groups,” he continued. “And I think also the part of the liberal ideology today, the extreme Left, is extremely anti-Israel and because of that, there's a greater propensity to persecute Israel or argue against Israel because it's a Jewish state. It's the Jewish state of Israel that they're angry about."
CBN News has also reported on a spike in anti-Semitism on college campuses in the US.
And Ryldelnik says even in Asian countries where fewer people are Jewish, a growing tide of anti-Semitism is taking hold.