Non-Jewish French actress Catherine Jacob faces antisemitism

“I’m not Jewish, but I’m still a target of primary antisemitism,” said Jacob, who is best known for her roles in Tatie Danielle and Life is a Long Quiet River.

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August 8, 2019 15:11
1 minute read.
Non-Jewish French actress Catherine Jacob faces antisemitism

Catherine Jacob. (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)

French actress Catherine Jacob said during an interview with the Europe 1 network Monday that she faces antisemitism because of her name.


“I’m not Jewish, but I’m still a target of primary antisemitism,” said Jacob, who is best known for her roles in Tatie Danielle and Life is a Long Quiet River.
The 62-year-old star said she was often questioned about her Jewish-sounding name and that the query was always, “asked with a grimace... It’s insane.”


She said that her name derives from the 17th century Jacobites, from whom she is descended.


The comments by Jacob, who played a Jewish mother in Lorraine Levy’s 2004 film, The First Time I Turned 20, drew a wide response in France, where the government released a report in February that antisemitic incidents were up 74% in 2018. France has a Jewish community of nearly half a million.


Israeli-born French actor Yvan Attal made a hit 2016 comedy, The Jews (the French title translates to They Are Everywhere), examining antisemitic stereotypes. The actor said he made the film in response to the killings at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012.


French-Jewish actress Melanie Laurent, who starred as a Jewish woman who fights the Nazis and eventually helps kill Hitler in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, portrayed a nurse in the 2010 film La Rafle, about the roundup by police of Parisian Jews who were deported to concentration camps during World War II. “In the school books, there are, I don’t know, two lines about it,” Laurent said in an interview with the website Jewcy. “That’s why it was so important to make a film like this for French people.”


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