Monday, 30 Jan 2023 - 8 of Shevat, 5783

‘When we combat antisemitism, we will be able to combat any form of hatred in the world’

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

“The number of  antisemitic acts in 2021 grew in France in comparison with 2020. Especially growing in violence.  There is a rise of extremes in France, in Europe and the rest of the world. It is very worrying as this antisemitism is coming from both the extreme right and the extreme left –  but also from islamism,’’ said French Jewish leader Joel Mergui,

A new survey reveals that 68% of French Jews have already been insulted because of their religion and that 20% of them have been victims of physical aggression. A phenomenon rooted in school.

In France, 55% of Jewish parents advise their children against wearing a distinctive sign for fear that they will be the target of physical or verbal aggression.

 

‘’When we combat antisemitism, we will be able to combat any form of hatred in the world,’’ said Joel Mergui, president of the Jewish Consistoire of Paris and of the European Centre of Judaism, as addressed last week a symposium in Kiev, Ukraine, on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

His remarks at a gathering of parliamentarians from across Eueope organized by the European Jewish Association came as a new study reveals the extent of antisemitism in France, homr of the largest Jewish community in Europe.

“The number of  antisemitic acts in 2021 grew in France in comparison with 2020. Especially a growing in violence.  There is a rise of extremes in France, in Europe and the rest of the world. It is very worrying as this antisemitism is coming from both the extreme right and the extreme left –  but also from islamism,’’ said Mergui.

The survey carried out by Ifop reveals that 68% of French Jews have already been insulted because of their religion and that 20% of them have been victims of physical aggression. A phenomenon rooted in school.

In France, 55% of Jewish parents advise their children against wearing a distinctive sign for fear that they will be the target of physical or verbal aggression.

The survey by the Foundation for Political Innovation and the American Jewish Committee  reveals the ex weight of prejudice.

“Negative stereotypes towards Jews are still as present” in France, write the authors of the new “Radiographie de l’antisémitisme.’’

‘’Puns, insults, verbal and physical attacks, the year 2021 has been marked by the multiplication of anti-Semitic incidents,’’ the suvey says. 74% of French Jews  say “they have already experienced anti-Semitic behavior, from mockery to physical aggression, through insults or verbal threats.’’

Two thirds of the French people questioned believe that anti-Semitism is widespread (64%) and on the rise. Most French people of Jewish faith or culture (73%) believe that anti-Semitism has become more and more prevalent over the past ten years. This survey also reveals that 30% of those questioned agree with the idea that “Jews are richer than the average French person”.

Other clichés persist: “Jews have too much power in the field of economy and finance” resonates with 26% of respondents. 24% of respondents find that “Jews have too much power in the media”. These numbers are stable compared to the survey conducted in 2016.

53% of respondents have already been insulted

Thoughts about Jews remain entrenched, and bad taste jokes are still present. Two-thirds of the French people surveyed (68%) have already witnessed “derogatory mockery or vexatious remarks”. “These ‘derogatory mockery’ cannot be put on the same level as violent acts, but their magnitude testifies to the permanence within French society of old anti-Semitic prejudices, prejudices that Jews are frequently confronted with,” the study says.

Jews are not only victims of jokes, anti-Semitic acts persist. 53% of respondents say they have received insults (48% in 2019), “threats of assault (24% in 2021, for 22% in 2019), theft and damage (22% in 2021 and 2019) and physical assault (20% in 2021, 23% in 2019)” according to the survey.

Social networks have become one of the spaces where anti-Semitic speech is released the most according to the survey: “28% of French Jews say they have already been threatened on social networks, a proportion that even reaches 46% for those under 25 years old.” More and more young people say they are victims of anti-Semitism. In 2019, 53% of 18-24 claimed to have been insulted at least once, they are now 63%. Social networks are often cited, but school has become “the first place of exposure to anti-Semitic violence.”

60% of victims report having been assaulted at school, 42% of them on several occasions. “Jewish families have understood this and often ask their children not to wear recognizable signs of their Jewishness, and even to avoid revealing the fact that they are Jewish. This is why these families are increasingly sending their children to denominational schools, Catholic or Jewish,’’ the survey says.

This study also shows that a certain category of the population proves to be more receptive to anti-Semitic prejudices: men over 65 years old. “The spread of anti-Semitic prejudice is also more prevalent on the far left and far right,” the researchers noted.

The survey also indicates that nearly half of French Jews (46%) have already considered leaving France, which is six points less than in the 2019 study. What changes are the reasons for leaving. 13% of respondents want to leave France because of fears for their future, compared to 21% in 2019. On the other hand, cultural or religious reasons have increased in three years, from 6% to 12%.

In their conclusions, the researchers noted “that between a quarter and a third of our fellow citizens share these anti-Semitic prejudices. This new X-ray of anti-Semitism confirms the persistence of anti-Semitism at the heart of French society.’’

Joel Mergui Mergui has called for the nomination of a person responsible for the fight against antisemitism in each country in Europe. “Unfortunately often countries nominate a person responsible for all hatred. “Each hatred must be treated differently and Antisemitism must be treated specifically,’’ he said.

While these statistics are a reason for pessimism, Mergui said that ‘’our responsibility today is that Judaism continues to live.’’

‘’There is also a reason for optimism because today there is the State of Israel. Half of the Jewish population lives in its land of origin and another half living in the world go back to synagogues, traditions, claim their identity. Let us continue to proudly wear the kippah and make Judaism live,” he added.

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply