Survey: 45% of Jewish parents in France tell children to conceal religion over fear of antisemitic incidents 

By Robert
4 Min Read

Close to half of Jewish parents living in France instruct their children to hide their religion so they can avoid being the victims of antisemitic abuse like insults or physical attacks, a poll released late last month has shown.

According to a report from Radio Classique, the poll, carried out by the American Jewish Committee in collaboration with the Foundation for Policy Innovation, found that 45 percent of French Jewish parents said they recommended their children stay silent about their religious beliefs due to concerns that they could face antisemitic insults or violence.

Perhaps even more shocking, the survey revealed that six in 10 French Jewish parents stated that their children had been subjected to some kind of antisemitic behavior while at school. Additionally, the survey delved into the prevalence of antisemitism in France, revealing that 30 percent of the population think Jews are richer than the average French person and that Jews have used their status as victims during World War II to gain advantages.

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In recent years, especially in the aftermath of Europe’s 2015-2016 migration crisis, antisemitism has become a significant problem, with the year 2018 witnessing a 73 percent increase in antisemitic incidents, according to the French Interior Ministry.

As a result, the Parisian suburbs, which for many years have had large Jewish communities, have witnessed a sharp decline in the number of Jews living there.

Jerome Fourquet, director of the French polling firm Institut français d’opinion publique (IFOP), has also attributed antisemitism to the Jewish exodus.

“Over 15 years, numbers of Jewish populations or families have collapsed in a series of municipalities from Seine-Saint-Denis,” Fourquet said in 2019.

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“In Aulnay-sous-Bois, the number of families of the Jewish faith has thus decreased from 600 to 100, at Blanc-Mesnil from 300 to 100, in Clichy-sous-Bois from 400 to at 80 and at La Courneuve from 300 to 80,” he added.

François Pupponi, a lawmaker for the Socialist Party, has mentioned that the profile of those carrying out antisemitic attacks has changed as well in recent years, noting: 

“Today, it is mostly 14 to 15-year-olds, bathed in fantasies about the Israeli-Palestinian issue who commit the attacks.”

France is not the only Western European country to witness this disturbing trend in recent years. Germany, in 2019, saw violent acts against members of the Jewish community increase by more than 60 percent, according to a government answer to a request by the Die Linke party.  

Germany’s Central Council of Jews Vice President Abraham Lehrer told the German press that he thinks antisemitism among newly arrived immigrants will become more problematic as increasing numbers arrive in the country.

 “The problem of immigrant Arab-Islamic antisemitism still lies ahead of us. Many of these people were influenced by regimes in which antisemitism is part of the rationale of the state and the Jewish state is denied the right to existence,” Mr. Lehrer said.

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