Sunday, February 21, 2016

France’s increasingly hostile environment for its Jewish citizens

Manfred Gerstenfeld and Jamie Berk @ Arutz Sheva: 
A recently published poll sheds much light on France’s increasingly hostile environment for its Jewish citizens, the world’s third-largest Jewish community. The survey’s major findings are that anti-Semitic opinions and prejudices concerning Jews are wide-spread in French society and that the majority of Jews considers living in France difficult.

The poll was carried out by the IPSOS polling company on behalf of the Foundation for French Judaism.The questions deal with the relationship between French society and minorities. This survey, together with earlier polls, builds a grim picture of increasing anti-Semitism and Jewish insecurity in one of Europe’s major countries. [...]

One of the hardcore ideas promoted by anti-Semites is that the Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism. This can be traced back to heinous false Christian accusations against the Jews which began almost two millennia ago and continue till today. It is a typical case of extreme stereotyping where a Jew is not seen as an individual but as a member of a collective, and where the victim is accused instead of the anti-Semitic perpetrator. Seventeen percent of the French in general responded that the Jews are significantly responsible for anti-Semitism. The percentage among Muslims was much higher, 31%. Forty-two percent of both general and Muslim respondents answered that Jewish responsibility for anti-Semitism is minimal.  In France thus the majority of the population still adheres to this ancient false credo.

A 2014 survey released by the polling agency Fondapol together with CRIF -- the umbrella body of French Jewish organizations -- found other disturbing results. Thirty-seven percent of general respondents and 66% of French Muslims believed that Zionism is an ideology that serves Israel to justify its policy of occupation and colonization of the Palestinian territories. Furthermore 25% of general respondents believed that Zionism “is an international organization that aims to influence society for the benefit of the Jews.”  Fifty-seven percent of Muslim respondents agreed with this statement.

The Foundation for French Judaism pollsters also interviewed French Jewish respondents. One question concerned how Jews perceive the development of anti-Semitism in France. Ninety one percent of Jewish respondents thought that anti-Semitism has greatly increased among the Muslim population. Seventy-seven percent felt it has increased among the French population at large and 48% believed it has increased among Catholic populations.

Seventy-one percent of Jews polled had confronted or had experienced anti-Semitic remarks and insults among family or friends. Thirty-one percent had been confronted with anti-Semitic physical attacks among family and friends, of which 14% had experienced this more than once. [...]

Yet 73% of Jews surveyed in 2015 said “I am French, my life is in France.” And 44 percent said “my family lives in France.” Twenty-six percent of French Jews were considering the option of leaving for Israel or elsewhere. When the latter were asked why Jews would leave the country, 67% gave attacks and murders as their main reason, where a number of Jews had been harmed or killed. Fifty-six percent were motivated to leave by the rise of radical Islamism among segments of the French Muslim population.  Twenty-two percent believed they would be better able to practice their religion abroad than in France.

One major conclusion of the recent poll thus seems to be that while most Jews find the atmosphere in France increasingly difficult and unpleasant, only a quarter consider emigration to Israel or elsewhere. This percentage may increase when the situation deteriorates further. Yet there are many indications that those who have already left France and those who may leave are mainly among the more active members of the Jewish community. The impact of their departure on Jewish community life has already been felt, and will therefore be ultimately far greater than the percentages indicate.

The above findings are a damning indictment of the French authorities. They should first sort out the ugly reality of French society for Jews before they come up with new negative ‘solutions’ for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
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