French government presents new plan to fight antisemitism

In late January, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne presented the government’s new three-year plan to fight racism, antisemitism, and discrimination linked to origin.

The new 2023-2026 plan was presented on January 30 by French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. It provides for a series of measures that affect different sectors, from education to employment, including justice and sport, reports the RFI.

As part of the school curriculum, every student will participate in a „visit to a historical or memorial site linked to racism, antisemitism or anti-Gypsy expression.” „It is from childhood that stereotypes are formed,” explained the Prime Minister, adding that „It is in our youth that certain conspiracy theories abound. It is also on our young people that the hate messages on social networks have the most effect.” The president of the Council of Jewish organisations (CRIF), Yonathan Arfi, welcomed the initiation of memorial visits for students.

The penalties for hate crimes will be increased in the event of non-public racist or antisemitic expression of people holding public authority or responsible for a public service mission. „There will be no impunity for hatred,” she assured.

Borne also promised „total firmness in (the) criminal response”, allowing „the issue of arrest warrants” against people who „deviate freedom of expression for racist or antisemitic purposes”. According to the new government website about the plan, 1.2 million victims experience discrimination or racist or antisemitic attacks each year in France.

The plan should make it possible to measure different forms of discrimination, better educate and train, better punish the perpetrators and better support the victims, said Borne.

According to the Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, they are working on creating a „civil fine” which will „supply a fund intended to help the victims directly”.

The plan also aims to integrate employment discrimination tests in companies and „develop tools” with digital platforms and influencers, focusing on „highlighting good practices and denouncing bad ones.” A code of good conduct for video games and e-sports will also be implemented.

„It is by making it known that we prevent history from stuttering,” Borne said. Her Jewish father was deported and then ended his life when she was 11 years old.