France is fully mobilized on the fight against antisemitism

The fight against Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism is an existential fight for all of us. The determination of the French government in this regard is unwavering.


On February 11th , the Consul General of France in New York, Anne-Claire Legendre, attended the Jewish Community Relations Council congressional breakfast. One of the points under discussion was the fight against antisemitism.

The fight against Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism is an existential fight for all of us. The determination of the French government in this regard is unwavering.

On July 16, 2017, addressing the French Jewish community, Holocaust survivors, French Righteous among the Nations, and French WWII veterans at a ceremony in Paris with the Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv’ roundup of French Jews during World War II, the French President Emmanuel Macron declared “[we] will cede no ground to messages of hate and we will cede no ground to anti-Zionism, for it is a mere reinvention of anti-Semitism. And [we] will cede no ground to all those who, on all continents, seek to make us give up freedom, seek to recreate division, seek to make us abandon our humanity, our democracy and our Republic. We must combat all these hatreds based on who we are, where we come from and what we believe.”

On January 30, 2018, after an attack against an 8-year- old boy in Sarcelles for wearing a kippa on January 30, President Emmanuel Macron echoed prosecutors' sentiments that he was attacked because of that religious symbol, posting on twitter: “Every time a citizen is attacked because of his age, his appearance or his faith, the whole Republic is attacked”. Emmanuel Macron vowed to stand alongside the French Jewish community: “it's the whole country that must rise up today alongside French Jews to fight with them against these disgusting attacks”. “To fight against racism and antisemitism, it is obvious to have the courage to name these things. The courage to affirm, to recognize that, yes, a new form of brutal and violent antisemitism is expressing itself more and more openly on our territory”

The French State’s actions against anti-Semitism
The comparative study between 2017 and 2016 reveals a decrease in the number of anti Semitic offenses (-7.2%; 311 compared with 335 in 2016) according to the Interior Ministry’s statistics.

One anti-Semitic act is one too many. That is why t he French legal arsenal in this area is one of the strongest in the world, and our policy is simple: zero tolerance.

In 1990, France passed one of the world’s harshest laws criminalizing “négationnisme,” the act of Holocaust denial.

Laws have been strengthened in recent years and now include tougher penalties. In 2004, we strengthened our criminal code to more severely punish crimes or offenses committed because of religion or race.

The Interministerial Delegation for the Fight against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Dilcra) was established in 2012 and placed under the Prime Minister’s authority in 2014. It coordinated the development of an action plan against racism and anti-Semitism for 2015-2017 and launched in 2016 an annual Week of education and actions against Racism and Anti-Semitism and an annual call for local projects to fight against Racism and Anti-Semitism. It focuses on four priorities:

  • To mobilize the nation, particularly through communication campaigns
  • To punish every racist or anti-Semitic act and protect the victims
  • To protect Internet users from the spread of hate
  • To raise citizen awareness through the transmission of information, education and culture.

Beyond penalties and security enforcement, special attention is paid to education: a thorough study of the Holocaust is part of the curriculum in both secondary schools and high schools. The “Mémorial de la Shoah”, opened to the public in 2005, naturally plays a special role in this educational endeavor, and trips to memorial sites are organized in many schools across the country.

The fight against anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia is also one of France’s foreign policy priorities in terms of human rights. France leads actions to fight racism in all international organizations: the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and of course the European Union.

The government will announce in the coming weeks a new “Interministerial plan” for the Education Ministry’s week dedicated to fight antisemitism and racism. This operation will take place from March 19th to March 25th, 2018, and aims at implementing educational actions to prevent racism and anti-Semitism, defend and promote human rights and the fundamental principles of the Republic.

Last modified on 23/08/2019

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