The number of antisemitic acts recorded in France in 2022 has gone down by 26% compared to 2021, yet it remains the same average of the figures that have been recorded over the past 20 years - according to the Jewish Community Protection Service (SPCJ) and Interior Ministry, which published their annual report on the situation of antisemitic acts in 2022.
In 2022, the ministry and the SPCJ recorded 436 antisemitic incidents, but it is acknowledged that this is just a small portion of antisemitic incidents, "this figure only reflects part of reality since it is based solely on acts that were the subject of a complaint or a report to the police," the annual report suggested and added that this report "doesn't reflect the reality of antisemitism on the Internet."
61% of anti-religious acts in France directed at Jews
According to the report, 53% of the antisemitic acts in France in 2022 have "harmed" those who were attacked, even though only 10% of the antisemitic attacks were "violent" or "physical." In addition, the Interior Ministry shared that 61% of anti-religious acts that harm French civilians are directed at Jews.
Another disturbing issue is that of the physical antisemitic attacks that took place during 2015-2019, a shocking percentage of 63% of the cases of antisemitic attacks "were dismissed," according to the report. In only 24% of cases, the aggressors were convicted.
According to Yonathan Arfi, president of CRIF (the umbrella organization of French Jewry): “Although French Jews represent less than 1% of the population, they are the target of 61% of attacks on people of an anti-religious nature."
"In 2022, antisemitism continued to take on different faces, including those of Islamism, conspiracy and hatred of Israel," Arfi said. "We have a responsibility to identify and combat traditional forms of antisemitism as well as its contemporary forms."
Arfi concluded by saying that "antisemitism is not a threat only for French Jews. If antisemitism begins with the Jews, it never stops with the Jews: it is an advanced indicator of the state of [mental] health of French society."
History of antisemitism in France
France is the largest Jewish community in Europe and the third-largest Jewish community in the world. France is home to about 450,000 Jews and 750,000 people of Jewish descent that would be able to apply for Israeli citizenship according to the Law of Return.
France has seen some of the deadliest terrorist attacks against Jews, based on antisemitism, in the past two decades. In 2006, 23-year-old Ilan Halimi was kidnapped and murdered and in 2012, four Jews, three of them children, were killed outside of the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse. in 2015, a terrorist-held four Jews hostage in a Kosher supermarket in Paris on a Friday afternoon, while they were shopping for Shabbat. He later killed them. Since then, there have been brutal murders of Jewish women such as Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll and Sarah Halimi.