The rising number of anti-Jewish offences reported to police – up 74 percent in 2018 from the previous year – has caused alarm in the country that is home to both the biggest Jewish and the biggest Muslim communities in Europe.
Earlier this year, politicians from across the spectrum joined marches against anti-Semitism amid fears of a rise around the continent.
They denounced a surge in attacks that some commentators blamed on incitement by Islamist preachers, others on the rise of anti-Zionism – opposition to the existence of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people.
The graves were desecrated just hours before French MPs adopted a resolution equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
On Tuesday evening, French MPs approved a non-legally binding resolution modelled on the definition of anti-Semitism set by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The IHRA definition, which serves as an international guideline, does not reference “anti-Zionism” but does say denying Jews their right to self-determination is anti-Semitic.
The World Jewish Congress hailed France’s step.
“For too long too many have used the excuse that their obsessive criticism of Israel stands exclusive from their otherwise positive feelings for the Jewish people. Those days are now over,” it said.