The Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (Crif) is holding its traditional "republican" dinner on Monday evening, in the presence of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, for "a demanding dialogue" on anti-Semitism and more broadly on "social cohesion". The Head of State is usually the central guest of this meeting which brings together politicians, ambassadors, religious, trade unionists, artists, media personalities... gathered at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.
But last year, Jean Castex, head of the previous government, replaced Emmanuel Macron, the latter having been retained by an extraordinary European Council, at the start of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.
This year, it is Elisabeth Borne, whose father, of Jewish faith, was deported, then ended his life when his daughter was 11 years old, who will represent the executive. She will give a speech there. And this, just two weeks after presenting a new plan to combat racism, anti-Semitism and origin-related discrimination for the years 2023-2026.
This plan provides in particular for "the organization of a history or memory visit linked to racism, anti-Semitism or anti-Gypsyism for each student during their schooling" and reinforcement of the training of civil servants, including teachers.
"Dinner is both a moment of celebration of Jewish roots in the history of France and a moment of demanding dialogue around issues related to anti-Semitism, the state of French society, social cohesion which is crumbling, ”says Yonathan Arfi, the new president of Crif, to Agence France-Presse.
He says he expects "the government to affirm the political will to fight anti-Semitism, in all its forms." After the presentation of the three-year plan, the Crif will thus be attentive "to the means" and "to the training efforts" which will be made, he adds.
A political showcase for the largest Jewish population in Europe (about 500,000 people), the Crif brings together some 70 associations, such as the Unified Jewish Social Fund or the Union of Jewish Students in France.
Anti-Semitic acts fell in 2022 compared to the previous year, from 589 to 436, according to a count made public in January by Crif, based on data from the Jewish Community Protection Service (SPCJ, a private organization that aims to protect Jewish life), which says it works in conjunction with the Ministry of the Interior.
This drop (by 26%), however, should be "put into perspective", argues Mr. Arfi, in particular because it is only "the figures recorded in the police station". According to him, it is necessary to take into account the fact that anti-Semitism "takes different faces", which are "Islamism, conspiracy and hatred of Israel".