update deskAntisemitism

Poll: 52 percent of French public believe Zionism is a ‘racist ideology’

French survey finds 38 percent think the very existence of Israel nourishes anti-Semitism, 54 percent say Zionism is international plot • French parliamentarian: If the majority of the French public believe that Zionism is a global conspiracy, then “France is in big trouble.”

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a press conference at the United Nations on Sept. 19, 2017. Credit: U.N. Photo/Kim Haughton.
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a press conference at the United Nations on Sept. 19, 2017. Credit: U.N. Photo/Kim Haughton.

An online poll in France this month found that 52 percent of the French public believe that Zionism is a “racist ideology,” and 54 percent believe that Zionism is an “international organization that seeks to influence the world and societies in favor of Jewish interests.”

The poll of 1,007 people was carried out by the French Institute of Public Opinion for the Union of Jewish Students in France.

It also discovered that 38 percent believe that the very existence of Israel “nourishes anti-Semitism.”

More than a quarter, 26 percent, said international calls to boycott Israel (most notably, by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) were justified.

More than half, 57 percent, agreed with the statement “Israel is a threat to regional stability.”

A 51 percent majority also agreed with the statement that “Israel is a theocracy.”

The survey also revealed a significant level of ignorance on Israel. A little less than a quarter of respondents thought Israel was established after 1980, and did not know that Jewish holy sites are located in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

French parliamentarian Meyer Habib, who represents French citizens living abroad in Israel and other countries, issued a statement in response to the survey’s findings.

“There is a saying here that anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism in France. It’s not me saying it, but rather President Emmanuel Macron. Today, sadly, we are seeing data that underscores this saying,” he said. “Unfortunately, the atmosphere surrounding Israel, most recently in the coverage of the riots in Gaza, adds fuel to the flames every time. The unrelenting attacks by the radical left, compounded by the biased reporting in most French media outlets, are making an impact.”

Habib stressed that “these days, I am worried about France, but not about Israel. I have no doubt that the Zionist enterprise is one of the most moral, ethical endeavors of the 19th and 20th centuries. But if a majority of French people believe that it is a ‘global conspiracy,’ as the survey found, France is in deep trouble.”

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