Increasing awareness and fighting bias
The French Jewish community has been living in a state of anxiety due to a resurgence of antisemitic attitudes and incidents.
AJC conducted ground-breaking research that has shined a light on the complex sources of antisemitism in France, enabling us to make policy recommendations and develop a plan to fight antisemitic 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 antisemitism 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 antisemitism. And we hold them accountable for protecting local Jewish communities.
Mayors United Against Antisemitism
In July 2015, AJC announced the launch of the Mayors United Against Antisemitism campaign, which invited U.S. mayors and other municipal leaders to sign on to a statement denouncing antisemitism 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 antisemitism, ensure that antisemitic 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 antisemitism in France.
The first, “Antisemitic 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 antisemitism 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 antisemitism: 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.