Anti-Semitism in France

Throughout the world, and specifically France, anti-Semitism poses a major problem for the Jewish people. According to a recent Anti-Defamation League survey, one in four adults around the world harbors anti-Semitic sentiments. In Europe, France has the second highest percentage of anti-Semites, with 37 percent, which correlates to the frequent attacks against French Jews. Alarmingly, there were 851,251 anti-Semitic attacks in France during 2014, attacks that have taken various forms of violence. For instance, in a social experiment, reporter Zvika Klein was harassed in the streets of Paris for wearing a kippah. This video shows his chilling experience as ordinary people spat and cursed at him simply because of his Jewish identity. Following attacks on the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Amedy Coulibaly assaulted a kosher supermarket, killing four people before holding numerous hostages at gunpoint for hours. In this graphic French video, police siege the building with rifles and shields, showing the force needed to save the Jews left inside. During another anti-Semitic attack, a mob of 400 pro-Palestine supporters attacked the Jewish Synagogue Rue de la Roquette. It was not until riot police and members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) clashed with the mob that it dissipated. This attack was caught on camera in this violent video. While these are only some of many horrific anti-Semitic attacks in France, they display the life-threatening dangers of being a Jew in France.

What is causing the rise of anti-Semitism in France?  Anti-Semitic attacks in France have largely been perpetuated by radical Islamists, a group that has the ability to thrive among a slow French economy and many jobless Muslim refugees. French authorities believe that only a small number of radicalized Muslims are responsible for a majority of recent anti-Semitic incidents in France. But, even protests by non-radicalized Muslims against the State of Israel or the Jewish people often evolve into violent anti-Semitic riots in France.

Information for this post is from:

The Times

UPI Top News


Jews Being Forced Out of France

“The France born with the French Revolution was supposed to be the place where no one could ever scream in the streets ‘Death to the Jews.’ At the beginning of the 21st century, it is not that place.  That place is the state of Israel.”  Alain El-Mouchon, The Twilight of French Jewry, the Twilight of France, as published in Mosaic, October 7, 2015.

As a result of the rise of anti-Semitism in France, many French Jews feel increasing pressure to leave their homes and immigrate to Israel. Within France, French Jews have no safe haven, and the French government’s need to station soldiers outside of Jewish schools and synagogues emphasizes this dismal truth. After the 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, French Jews live in fear and terror, leading experts to predict a mass exodus of Jews from France. This graph shows the drastic rise in Jews fleeing France each year since 1995; unsurprisingly, the increased anti-Semitism of 2014 was accompanied by the highest number of French Jews leaving for Israel. Unfortunately, French Jews now face the difficult choice of leaving their lives in  France behind for the promise of a better future in Israel. Fortunately, Israel welcomes French Jews to the Promised Land; in fact, many French Jews take up Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s invitation to immigrate because they would rather face missile attacks in Israel than live in a state of constant fear in France. Missile attacks may seem more dangerous than domestic violence in France, but the Israeli government protects its population from these attacks unlike the French government which fails to provide adequate protection for its Jews.

Information for this post was taken from:


Mosaic Magazine


Effects on France of Jews Leaving

“If 100,000 Frenchmen of Spanish origin were to leave,  I would never say that France is no longer France.  But if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France.  The French Republic will be judged a failure.” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to the National Assembly in January 2015, after the attacks at Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher supermarket.

While French anti-Semites want to expel all Jews from France, they do not consider the far-reaching negative effects this has on their country. Similar to how the exodus of Jewish scientists from Nazi Germany contributed to the success of the Manhattan Project at the expense of the Axis powers, so too will a “brain drain” from France be detrimental to the French economy and culture. As a class, Jews have always been a highly educated and highly assimilated part of French society, holding many important positions in the French economy. But, with the insecurity caused by the rise in anti-Semitism, many of these Jews are leaving for Israel; in 2015, France saw a net loss of around 10,000 millionaires, 25% of whom were Jewish. 

Similar to the 16th and 17th century exodus of French Huguenots to the United States, Canada, and other European countries, which boosted the economies of those countries, the influx of French Jews into Israel has bolstered the strength of Israel’s economy. In factFrance’s Jews are on track to be the biggest infusion of human capital” in Israel. For example, Michael Nadjar is one French Jew who emigrated to Israel and launched a technology startup. Likewise, emigrant Michael Golan of Golan Telecom Ltd. has reinvigorated Israel’s mobile phone market, while Julien Assous has come to lead a top financial services company in Israel, and investor Jeremie Berrebi has already funded 28 Israeli startups. As a group, French Jews emigrating to France are highly educated and highly motivated to contribute to Israel’s economy. France’s loss is Israel’s gain.

While forcing French Jews to emigrate to Israel damages the French economy, it also threatens the idea of the French Republic. France is supposed to be a haven for all religions, embracing the ideals of liberalism, secularism, and tolerance; importantly, Jews have often come to symbolize the success of France’s republican model. As French Prime Minister Manuel Valls perfectly stated in this chilling comment, “France without Jews is no longer France.” See this editorial from the New York Times for more information.

Information for this post was taken from:


Jewish Business News

The Wall Street Journal



How to Solve this Problem

Notwithstanding that Jews comprise less than one percent of the French population, they are victims of 51 percent of hate crimes in France. Despite the correlation between incoming Muslim immigrants and the rise of anti-Semitism, building a “wall” to keep Muslims out of France and confining French Muslims in ghettos is not a viable option, even if it seems like an easy solution to French anti-Semitism. So, how do we solve the problem of anti-Semitism in France without ignoring the ideals of the French republic?

First, France, together with its European counterparts, must unite and bring a peaceful solution to the Middle Eastern conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors.  Most anti-Semitic crimes in France are perpetuated by Muslims or Palestinian sympathizers. By working with the world community to subdue volatility in the Middle East, France may stem the rise of anti-Semitism within its own borders and beyond.

Second, the French government must increase its efforts to assimilate Muslim immigrants into French society because of today’s clear correlation between the number of jobless immigrants and anti-Semitism. Just as Germany’s dire economic circumstances after World War I gave rise to Hitler, a slow economy and lack of employment opportunities for Muslim immigrants in France act as tinders that spark anti-Semitism, and the French government must actively work to squelch these sparks.

Third, the French government must condemn all acts of anti-Semitism in order to send a clear and unequivocal message that violence against Jews will not be tolerated. To this end, the French government must enforce its hate crime laws and support grassroot movements that protect Jews by providing money and personnel. For instance, Sammy Gholzan, a retired French police commissioner, uses his police pension, small donations, and an army of 19 volunteers to operate France’s National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA). This group tracks and publicizes attacks against Jews and pressures the French police to take action. Supporting organizations like the BNVCA must become a priority of the French government.

Fourth, ordinary French citizens must confront anti-Semitism head-on. One must only look to the lessons of the Holocaust to learn what happens when ordinary people turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism against their neighbors and fellow citizens. United, French society must stand against ant-Semitism; this is the only way to truly delegitimize those who espouse hatred against the Jews.

However, if the French government and people do not take action to support the Jews, in any of these ways, then French Jews should continue to emigrate to Israel. Notwithstanding that anti-Semitism is rampant in France, the Israeli government takes a firm stance against anti-Semitic groups as it protects its Jews from violence. Rather than live in fear in France, French Jews can make a safer home in Israel, a nation that welcomes any Jew with open arms.

The information for this post was found from these sources:

Vanity Fair