Increasing awareness and fighting bias
The French Jewish community has been living in a state of anxiety due to a resurgence of anti-Semitic attitudes and incidents.
AJC conducted ground-breaking research that has shined a light on the complex sources of anti-Semitism in France, enabling us to make policy recommendations and develop a plan to fight anti-Semitic attitudes. Our work has raised awareness of the stereotypes and cultural misunderstandings that contribute to negative perceptions. We magnify our impact by fostering interreligious dialogue and promoting pluralism.
The rise of anti-Semitism and the threat it poses to France are of great concern to the country’s leadership. We encourage government officials to publicly denounce manifestations of anti-Semitism. And we hold them accountable for protecting local Jewish communities.
Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism
In July 2015, AJC announced the launch of the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism campaign, which invited U.S. mayors and other municipal leaders to sign on to a statement denouncing anti-Semitism and pledging to combat it in their communities. In 2016, AJC expanded the initiative to Europe. In joining the campaign, European leaders pledged to pursue a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Semitism, ensure that anti-Semitic incidents are thoroughly investigated, raise public awareness of the problem, and make the physical security of Jewish communities a priority. Since mayors oversee local police forces and are charged with ensuring the safety of their citizenry, these local leaders are the key interlocutors with whom to pursue these efforts.
In France, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo became a champion of the campaign. She was the first European mayor to sign on, and wrote a recommendation letter to her counterparts across the continent urging that they sign as well.
AJC Paris obtained signatures from mayors of many of the most important French cities, including Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nancy, Nice, Sarcelles, Strasbourg, and Toulouse.
Research and Surveys
AJC Paris, together with Fondapol, conducted two important studies about anti-Semitism in France.
The first, “Anti-Semitic Attitudes in France – New Insights,” includes two opinion surveys conducted by the polling firm FIFG: one administered online, based on a sample of 1,005 individuals representative of the adult French population; the other was done through face-to-face interviews of 575 adults of Muslim faith, French or not, living in France. These unprecedented surveys gauged opinions about Jews, the Holocaust, Zionism, and related issues, and traced a correlation between anti-Semitism and heavy reliance on the Internet for information and news. Both surveys received considerable attention in the press.
These surveys identified three major sources of anti-Semitism: the far-right, who supported Marine Le Pen (a candidate in the 2017 French presidential election) and her party, the National Front; the far-left, who backed Jean-Luc Mélenchon (also a candidate in the 2017 French presidential election); and an element within France’s Muslim community, where the proportion of people harboring prejudice against Jews was two to three times higher than the national average.