Human Rights Group to Release Comprehensive Report on French Antisemitism
A detailed report on antisemitism and extremism in France will be launched in Washington, DC early next month, its authors announced on Wednesday.
Susan Corke, the director of the Antisemitism and Extremism department of the New York- and Washington, DC-based Human Rights First, noted that the release of the report comes as 51% of all reported hate crimes over the last year in France have been antisemitic in nature, although Jews comprise only 1% of the French population.
“Our research finds that French Jews confront multiple forms of antisemitic violence, including attacks by perpetrators who subscribe to the stereotype that Jews have a privileged association with the French political establishment,” she wrote. “Jews are ‘in the front line’ by proxy, and muted governmental efforts to combat discrimination against other marginalized groups in France fuels this hostile situation.”
Specifically, Corke argued that “Debates about ‘French identity,’ multiculturalism, and pluralism have fueled anti-Muslim sentiment and nurtured perceptions of discrimination within Muslim communities — which are diverse, including those who have a long history in France as well as recent immigrants.”
These marginalized populations are then subject to antisemitism, especially through social media, she wrote.
“One of the report’s core findings is that polarized interpretations of laïcité [secularism] are among the root causes of antisemitism and the perception of marginalization of immigrants and Muslims,” wrote Corke.
“Along with the rise of the National Front and other factors, the polarizing debate on laïcité exacerbates an environment in which antisemitic, racist, and xenophobic discourse is on the rise,” she said, referring to the far-right party that has been gaining traction in recent municipal and European elections in France.
Thousands of French Jews have been pursuing immigration to Israel over the past several years, and many have said this is partly because of rising antisemitism. French authorities have deployed thousands of police and security personnel to boost security at more than 700 Jewish sites throughout the country since violent attacks in Paris in January.