Survey Results: French Anti-Semitism Sparks Jewish Interest in Emigrating?

Nearly three-quarters of surveyed French Jews last month stated that they are leaning towards emigration.

29.9 percent of this 74.2 percent mentioned a desire to escape anti-Semitism, while another 24.4 percent cited a wish to “preserve their Judaism.” Seven and a half percent cited “economic considerations,” while another 12.4 percent simply felt drawn to other countries.

In addition, a total of 95.2 percent of all respondents — a larger group than those who wish to emigrate — agreed that anti-Semitism was “worrisome” or “very worrisome.”

57.5 percent of those polled believed that “Jews have no future in France,” while 30.6 percent were more optimistic. 14.5 percent of respondents stated that they had experienced personal instances of anti-Semitism in the past two years, although only 21.2 percent of these instances were reported to the police. Out of this 21.2 percent, a meager 27.6 percent stated that their complaint had led to positive results.

This March, the French Service de protection de la communauté juive (Service for the Protection of the Jewish Community or SPCJ), noted an astounding 423 reports of anti-Semitic occurrences throughout the nation in 2013. This constitutes a 31 percent decrease from 2012 but an eight percent increase from the total reported in 2011.

The same month, several thousand French Jews attended a Paris information fair regarding migration to Israel. The interest in moving to the Holy Land echoes a global increase in immigration there this past year, potentially to flee a reported recent surge of anti-Semitism in France and Europe. The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israel Ministry of Immigration and Absorption report 3,280 French immigrants moving to Israel in 2013, an upward spike from the 1,917 immigrants who arrived in 2012.

Approximately three-fourths of respondents believe that French Jewish institutions — beyond providing emigration assistance — can do little to halt anti-Semitism at home. 93.4 of those surveyed agreed that the French media is at least somewhat responsible for anti-Semitism in France.

“The results give cause for concern,” Siona reflected in the official accompanying statement.

The Jewish population of France, however, are also concerned regarding difficulties posed by the French Islamic community. Interestingly, 93 percent of those surveyed stated that the French media has no real methods for combating “Islamic exclusionist and pro-Palestinian propaganda” — despite the same proportion of respondents believing that the media is at least partially accountable for the pervading French anti-Semitism.

The survey polled a total of 3,833 respondents through the Paris Siona organization of Sephardic Jews.

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