Are Jews to be blamed for anti-Semitism? According to a recent poll by the Ipsos market research firm, at least 60 percent of French citizens believe so.
Sponsored by the Fondation du Judaïsme Français, the survey took 18 months to complete and the results are quite disturbing. Of those polled, 56 percent believe Jews have “a lot of power” while more than 40 percent see Jews as being “a little too present in the media”. Furthermore, 13 percent think “there are a few too many Jews in France”.
These results come merely days after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced his threat to recognize a Palestinian state should talks between Israel and the Palestinians fail, a move considered to be anti-Israel as it would essentially reward the Palestinian Authority for not reaching a deal.
France itself has seen an alarming increase in anti-Semitism over the past 12 months. In June of last year, Israeli students touring the country were denied entry to one of France’s most popular attractions: the Louvre Museum. Most recently, a rabbi in Marseille was attacked in January by a Muslim teenager who was brandishing a machete with intention to murder on behalf of the Islamic State.
Last February, one journalist was determined to reveal the rampant anti-Semitism in Paris and even went so far as to record the reactions of the public as he walked by. Two people spat on him and he was called names, including racial slurs, all meant as intimidation tactics.
As a response to these security threats, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu stated he welcomes European Jews to Israel with open arms. This statement was met with disagreement by religious political leader Tzipi Livni, who believes that the decision to move to Israel should be motivated by Zionist reasons, not to find a safe haven.
Whether for nationalist reasons or for personal security, it should come as no surprise that nearly half of France’s Jews are planning to emigrate to Israel in the coming years in a movement now referred to as “Operation French Kiss”. In a revealing survey conducted in September 2015, Institut français d’opinion publique (IFOP) published in JSS News, a French webzine produced in Israel, that of France’s 700,000 Jewish citizens, roughly 300,000 people, or 43 percent of French Jews, are planning on making aliyah.