Most French Say Jews Closer to Israel: Poll

Many Question Holocaust Memorials and Call Judaism a Sect

Old Hatred, New Danger: Many French hold disturbing views about Jews, a study shows.
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Old Hatred, New Danger: Many French hold disturbing views about Jews, a study shows.

By JTA

Published June 03, 2013.
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Half of all respondents to a survey on attitudes toward Jews in France said French Jews are closer to Israel than to their own republic.

Performed online last month by the polling company OpinionWay among 1,001 adult French males and females of various ages and political convictions, 46 percent of respondents in the poll said Jews are “closer to France than Israel” and four percent said they did not know.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said Jews are “a unified group characterized by solidarity” while only 20 percent said Jews are a “diverse and divided” group.

The assertion that “Jews exercise an over-sized level of influence” got a 28-percent approval rate. An identical number of respondents said “too much is being done” to combat anti-Semitism, compared to 41 percent who said “what is being done is just right.” Thirty percent said “not enough is being done.”

One in five respondents said “too much was being done” to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, while 57 percent said Holocaust preservation efforts are “sufficient as they are.” Twenty-two percent said “not enough” is being done.

The Holocaust was described as “a specific and unique massacre in world history” by 36 percent of respondents whereas 63 percent said it was “a massacre which fits in a sequence of other terrible events that have happened throughout history.”

The slaying on March 19, 2012 of three Jewish children and a rabbi in Toulouse by a Muslim extremist was described as “an isolated act which does not illustrate any general trend” by 59 percent of respondents, whereas 40 percent said it was “a sign of the growth in anti-Semitism in France.”

Twenty-one percent of respondents said Judaism is “sectarian” compared to 38 percent who said it is “tolerant.” Protestant Christianity received a 42-percent endorsement as “tolerant” and 15 percent of respondents called it “sectarian.”

Forty percent of respondents said they are “sympathetic” toward Catholics as opposed to three percent who indicated they feel “antipathy.” For Jews the figure was 23 percent sympathetic and seven percent antipathy, and for Muslims it was 12 percent sympathy and 28 percent antipathy. Seven percent of respondents said Islam is tolerant and 60 percent said it is “sectarian.”


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