World Report

PARIS (JTA) — Foreign Minister Shimon Peres' denial of anti-Semitism in France Tuesday shocked and disturbed officials at the Paris office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which documented 320 anti-Semitic incidents there last year.

Peres told French President Jacques Chirac he is confident France is protecting its Jewish citizens.

"I am certain that France is not anti-Semitic, neither historically nor currently," Peres told reporters after meeting Chirac. "I am convinced the French leadership is staging a serious and determined battle against anti-Semitism in France."

Dr. Shimon Samuels, director of the Wiesenthal Center's Paris office, said he couldn't understand how Peres could make such statements.