Poll: 84% of young French Jews have been victims of anti-Semitism

84% of young French Jews are have been victims of anti-Semitism at least once, new poll finds, including large number of physical attacks.

David Rosenberg,

Thousands gather in Paris to protest anti-Semitism (February 19 2019)
Thousands gather in Paris to protest anti-Semitism (February 19 2019)
REUTERS

There is a “high level” of anti-Semitism in France, say French Jews and non-Jews, and things appear to be getting worse, a new poll shows.

According to a survey conducted by the Institut français d'opinion publique (IFOP) on behalf of the American Jewish Committee, a majority of both French Jews and non-Jews believe anti-Semitism has been getting worse in France in recent years, with a majority of Jews and a plurality of non-Jews saying France has a “high level” of anti-Semitism.

The poll, which was conducted from October 14th to November 19th and surveyed 505 French Jews ant 1,027 French non-Jews, found that 67% of Jews say France is suffering from a high level of anti-Semitism, compared to just 22% who say the country has a low level of anti-Semitism.

Among non-Jews, slightly more respondents said France has a low level of anti-Semitism, 27%, while a plurality (47%) said the country had a high level of anti-Semitism, with 26% giving no response.

Majorities of both Jews and non-Jewish respondents said anti-Semitism has been getting worse, with 53% of non-Jews sharing that sentiment, versus 18% who say anti-Semitism has been in decline. Seventy-seven percent of Jews said anti-Semitism has gotten worse in France in recent years, compared to just 12% who say it has gotten better.

Just over half of non-Jews (52%) said they had witnessed anti-Semitic remarks in their immediate circle, compared to 48% who said they never have. Of the 52% who said they have heard anti-Semitic remarks, 3% said they often heard such remarks, compared to 19% who said they heard them occasionally, with 30% saying they had heard such remarks but only on rare occasions.

Nine percent of French non-Jews said they had witnessed physical attacks on Jews which were clearly anti-Semitic in nature, while 12% said they had witnessed anti-Semitic vandalism or property damage, 16% say they had observed Jews being verbally abused, and 40% said they had observed anti-Jewish jokes, discussions which perpetuate anti-Jewish prejudices, or comments calling the veracity of the Holocaust into question.

Among French Jews, 63% said they had experienced “mockery or upsetting remarks” regarding their Jewishness; 48% said they had been on the receiving end of anti-Jewish insults or slurs; 23% had been the victims of physical violence because of their Jewishness; and 22% had suffered property damage or theft.

A total of 70% of French Jews said they had been the victim of at least one anti-Semitic act, including 23% who had been the victim of physical abuse.

Outwardly observant or practicing Jews were more likely to be victims, the poll found, with 81% of practicing Jews saying they have been victims of anti-Semitism at least once, and 26% saying they have been the victims of physical violence.

French Jewish respondents who had been victimized in the past said the locations where they were most frequently targeted were in the street, where 55% of French Jews who had been victims say they have encountered some form of anti-Semitism; a school or university, where 54% said they had encountered anti-Semitism; the workplace, where 46% of respondents said they had experienced anti-Semitism; on public transportation, where 36% said they had experienced anti-Semitism; in public spaces like parks or gardens, where 35% said they had been targeted; and bars, restaurants, or night clubs, where 27% said they had been targeted.

Physical acts of violence targeting Jews were most frequently experienced on the street, where 59% of Jews who had been beaten or suffered other violent attacks said they were targeted; followed schools or universities, where 26% of Jewish victims of anti-Semitic violence said they were attacked; with a similar number (26%) saying public transportation.

Younger French Jews were more likely to be targeted in anti-Semitic incidents, the poll found, with 84% of Jews ages 18 to 24 saying they have been victims of at least one anti-Semitic act, compared to 70% among French Jews generally.

Jews ages 18 to 24 are also 70% more likely to have been physically assaulted, with 39% saying they had faced “physical aggression”, compared to 23% of the full Jewish sample.

Just over half of French Jews (52%) said they have considered leaving France, compared to 45% who have never thought of leaving.

Twenty-one-percent cited their fears for the future of Jews in France, compared to 12% who said they had considered leaving for economic reasons, 13% who said they considered leaving because of their fears for the future of France, and 6% who cited “cultural or religious reasons”.




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