Three-Quarters of French Jews Have Been Victim of Antisemitic Act, Study Finds

A poster memorializing murdered French Jewish woman Sarah Halimi.

February 8, 2022

A new study highlights the disturbing scope of France’s antisemitism problem, finding that 74% of the country’s Jews have been a victim an antisemitic act in their lifetimes.

The French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) poll — commissioned by the American Jewish Committee AJC), in partnership with the Foundation for Political Innovation (Fondapol), a French think tank — revealed that 85% of French Jews viewed antisemitism as a widespread phenomenon in their country, with 73% believing it had increased over the past decade.

Some 35% of respondents said they had avoided wearing items that publicly identify them as Jews, and 41% had refrained from displaying mezuzahs and other religious symbols.

Among the three-quarters of French Jews who had been victimized in antisemitic acts, 68% had derogatory remarks directed at them, 28% had received threats on social media, 24% had been verbally threatened, and 20% had been physically assaulted.

The study also identified a lack of confidence that perpetrators of antisemitic crimes would be brought to justice, with 80% of antisemitism victims not filing a complaint with French authorities and 76% not reporting them to a community association, such as the Jewish Community Protection Service (SPCJ).

“Fearing for one’s own safety and for children’s security has tragically become the new normal for most French Jews, leading many of them to choose to hide their Jewish identity and to tell their children to do so as well,” Simone Rodan-Benzaquen — Director of AJC Europe — stated. “This is simply unacceptable in any democracy that is supposed to protect all of its citizens.”

Meanwhile, fresh SPCJ data showed that reports of antisemitic incidents in France rose by 75% in 2021.


The SPCJ recorded 589 hate crimes against Jews last year — with a 36% jump in physical assaults.

This included an average of five antisemitic incidents per day during the flare-up of Israel-Gaza violence in May.

Speaking ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day last month, Joel Mergui — President of the Jewish Consistoire of Paris and the European Center of Judaism — said, “There is a rise of extremes in France, in Europe, and the rest of the world. It is very worrying as this antisemitism is coming from both the extreme right and the extreme left — but also from Islamism.”

France is home today to the largest Jewish community in Europe, consisting of more than half a million people.

In recent years, the community was shaken by the murders of two elderly French Jewish women — Sarah Halimi in 2017 and Mireille Knoll in 2018 — in their Paris homes by antisemitic assailants.