By David I. Klein
The French government updated its plan for fighting antisemitism and racism, which will require teachers to receive training on the topic and all French schoolchildren to visit the site of an antisemitic or racist incident.
Those visits could include Holocaust sites, and roving exhibitions about antisemitism and racism will also be set up in schools, France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced Monday.
The plan was first adopted in 2015 but is required to be updated every three years. In addition to the educational additions, French law will also be adapted to make charges of serious antisemitic or racist offenses enough to stop the accused from fleeing the country.
The plan was put together by the Interministerial Delegation for the Fight Against Racism and Antisemitism, or DILCRAH, as it is known by its French initials, with advisory input from the American Jewish Committee.
“DILCRAH has long recognized that antisemitism endangers all of French society, not only Jews. It is essential for the government to have a robust strategy dedicated to confronting antisemitism in all its forms,” said Anne Sophie-Sebban, director of AJC Paris. “Significantly, for the first time, the plan includes an AJC recommendation to create indicators to measure how each component of the government’s strategy plan is working.”
Overall, the plan contains 80 different action points across five different categories, which include measuring the reality of racism, antisemitism and discrimination; improving education and training; sanctioning perpetrators and supporting victims.
Government data found that some 1.2 million people in France suffer from some sort of racism or discrimination. Among them are France’s nearly 500,000 Jews, who have reported increasingly high rates of antisemitism in recent years.
In 2021, the trial of a man accused of murdering an elderly Jewish woman in Paris sparked nationwide debate over the government’s handling of antisemitic crimes. Last year, the death of a young Jewish man became a last-minute issue in France’s national election campaign.