The National Front has soared into the mainstream of French politics recently, winning first place in the 2014 elections and the first round of the 2015 regional elections in November. The party "rallies its supporters around animosity towards Muslims, Roma, foreigners, and migrants," the report stated, and although leaders have tried to cleanse it of anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying rhetoric, its platform "still contains positions on ritual animal slaughter and public subsidies that are discriminatory against Jews as well as Muslims."
Many members of its base still hold anti-Semitic views. In two French surveys – a 2014 report on tolerance submitted to the French government, and a report by a French think tank – over half of the respondents who supported the National Front espoused anti-Semitism.
Outside of the party, many immigrants and descendants of immigrants have been unable to assimilate into the societal mainstream and may harbor resentment toward Jews who they mistakenly see as controlling wealth and power.
"French Muslims, immigrants, and French citizens of Middle Eastern, North African, or Sub-Saharan African heritage, especially those living and attending school in marginalized areas, experience prejudice and suffer from hate crimes as well as official and private discrimination," the report noted.
Many young people in these communities suffer a lack of education and social mobility and are exposed to extremist views on the internet that "bombard" them with anti-Semitism.
Some of the most common anti-Semitic beliefs are that the Jews control too much power or too much wealth, the report noted, and some of the other less common attitudes are that the Jews "use the Holocaust to their advantage," and are more loyal to the state of Israel than France.
The discrimination is concentrated more among the elderly, poor, less educated, and more religious, the report added, and is more likely to occur during heightened Israeli-Palestinian conflict and right after terror attacks or well-publicized anti-Semitic hate crimes.
However, even some French "observant Catholics" have shown anti-Semitic attitudes, according to a 2014 survey by a French think tank FONDAPOL cited in the report. Twenty-two percent of practicing Catholics surveyed said there too many Jews in France, while 16 percent of all those surveyed answered that way.
According to the report, the U.S. must speak out against the rise of anti-Semitism but should also refrain from aggravating the marginalization that many groups currently experience in France. In part, "official statements should avoid fueling a 'clash of civilizations' narrative between Jewish and Muslim communities and instead urge tolerance and inclusion," the report recommended.