90% of French students have suffered antisemitism at university, survey finds

France is home to the world’s second largest diaspora Jewish community


Group of college students in the university amphitheatre, they are sitting and doing an exam. Two professors are monitoring the students.

Ninety per cent of Jewish students have suffered antisemitism whilst attending French universities or elite colleges, a survey has found.

Students said they have been subjected to antisemitic stereotyping, “schoolboy” jokes about the Holocaust and, in some instances, physical assault, according to a report published by the French Institute of Public Opinion.

The polling company surveyed more than 800 students, of which 237 were Jewish, in two separate surveys. Among the Jewish students who reported that they had suffered antisemitism, 12 per cent said a professor had been responsible.

One in five of all the students polled said they had witnessed a physical attack of an antisemitic nature at least once at their university or college, the survey, commissioned by the Union of Jewish students in France, found.

Speaking to French newspaper Le Parisien, one former student at the prestigious Institute of Political Studies claimed that fellow students had repeatedly harassed him, chanting Nazi slogans. “One said he wished my grandparents had died in the camps,” he told the newspaper.

France is home to the world’s second largest diaspora Jewish community after the United States, with approximately 550,000 French people having at least one Jewish parent, according to the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

Three quarters of the Jewish repsondent said that they felt that they had to justify Israeli policies because they were Jewish. More than four fifths (83 per cent) said they feared antisemitism at the hands of the far left, while 63 per cent said they feared the far right.

Philippe Schmidt, vice president of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, said: “Hostility towards Jews doesn’t come from any one community or especially from Muslims. Far-left propaganda is a bigger issue.”

The study also reflected on other reports of rising incidents of antisemitism in Germany and the UK.

In a separate report published earlier this month, non-profit organisation the Jewish People Policy Institute noted that incidents of antisemitism remains high despite the absence of apparent “stress factors”.

It said: “Jewish communities must acknowledge that the hostility will not disappear on its own. In coordination with local authorities, they need to take proactive measures to enhance the security of Jews.”

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