French Screen Star With Jewish-Sounding Name Says She Faces ‘Primary Antisemitism’
One of France’s most admired actors described herself as a victim of “primary antisemitism” in television interview this week, in which she explained that her Jewish-sounding last name had led to her experiencing hostility at castings that she had attended during her career.
“I’m not Jewish, but I’m still a target of primary antisemitism,” Catherine Jacob — an award-winning star of stage and screen in France — said during an interview with broadcaster Europe 1.
Jacob came to the topic of antisemitism while talking about her love of the HBO series “Outlander” — in which she doesn’t appear — set during the 1743 Jacobite uprisings in Scotland, when followers of the deposed Catholic monarch James II attempted to restore him to the throne. Many Jacobites later fled to France; Jacob is herself descended from the rebels, from whom she derives her family name.
Jacob explained that she had consistently encountered questions about her family name at movie castings, “asked with a grimace,” she emphasized.
“It’s insane,” the 62-year-old declared.
Jacob’s comments about antisemitism in Monday’s interview drew widespread media coverage in France, where government figures released in February showed a 74-percent increase in attacks on the country’s 460,000-strong Jewish community in 2018.