French pensioner gets jail term for anti-Semitic graffiti

France, where over 1,500 anti-Semitic acts and comments have been recorded since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, has slapped an 18-month jail term on a pensioner for anti-Jewish graffiti.

The 62-year-old man was found guilty Friday by a Strasbourg court of inciting racial hatred in the eastern city near the German border.

Strasbourg has one of France’s biggest Jewish communities.

“It’s an exemplary decision … (to punish) hate messages,” said lawyer Raphael Nisand, who represented the city’s tram company whose property was defaced.

The man was also fined 1,500 euros (about $1,100).

The graffiti, which also appeared elsewhere in Strasbourg’s working-class Hautepierre district, were often misspelt but said the same thing — “Death to Jews” and “US, Israel = Nazis”, according to Nisand.

The Alsace region where Strasbourg is located was effectively annexed from France by Nazi Germany during World War II, with several thousand of its Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Today, some 20,000 Jews live in Strasbourg or the surrounding Bas-Rhin department.

Over 180,000 people turned out across France on Sunday according to police figures, to join marches against anti-Semitism.