Attitudinal change towards Jews and Muslims in France , in a comparative perspective

Attitudinal change towards Jews and Muslims in France in a comparative perspective

Sciences Po Paris, 18-20 April 2013

Coordination scientifique : Nonna Mayer, Vincent Tiberj, Tommaso Vitale


This seminar is about the evolution and reconfiguration of prejudice towards minorities, more particularly Jews, Arabs and Muslims in contemporary France, including intergroups prejudice. France appears as

a particularly interesting case study because it hosts both the largest Jewish community in Europe (some 600 000 people self defining as

Jews) and the largest Muslim community (estimated between 2 and 3 millions). The electoral rise of the National Front since the mid 80s has polarised the political debate around the issues of immigration and national identity. The questioning of the compatibility between Islam and Western values since 9/11 have also changed for long the way political elites frame integration and multiculturalism and brought about a reconfiguration of prejudice in the French population. The international context, with the stalemate of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Arab revolutions, the terrorist attacks linked to islamic networks, also feeds tensions as well between the host society and its minorities as between minorities. Anti Semitic acts have been on the rise after the Merah massacre in Toulouse (March 2012) and anti-Arab racism is spreading (the shooting of Aigues Mortes, last August).

The conference is part of an international comparative and pluridisciplinary programme, launched in 2011 at the University of Haïfa

(Israël) by two historians, Arieh Kochavi and Yael Granot-Bein, on the topic “Muslims and Jews: Citizenship, Identity and Prejudice in Europe, U.S. and Israel.”.

This programme presently brings together 5 Research Centres, which are, besides the French partner, the Centre d’études européennes de Sciences Po , Paris (Nonna Mayer) : the Herzl Institute for the Research and Study of Zionism, University of Haifa ( Arieh Kochavi and Yael Granot-Bein), the Comper Center for the Research of Anti-Semitism and Racism (Eli Avraham), the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London(David Feldman), the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism, Technical University of Berlin (ZFA) (Stefanie

Schüler-Springorum) and two historians from Spain, involved in a Euroepan project on Secularity and religious Freedom, have recently loinded the network, Rosa Maria Martinez de Codes (Complutense University of Madrid ) and Jaime Contreras (Alcala University).


The launching meeting took place in Haifa in May 2011. The first seminar took place in London: focussed on « Muslims and Jews: Citizenship, Identity and Prejudice in the British context »(February 2012). Centered on the perceptions of multiculturalism, the evolution of racism, antisemitism and islamophobia and their relations with perceptions of Israël and the isralo palestinian conflict it gathered during two days some sixty participants and was the occasion for a vibrant dialogue between academics from different backgrounds and civil society organizations.

Now it’s the turn for France to host the seminar, outline what makes it similar and yet different from other European countries as far as prejudice is concerned, owing to its colonial history, the memories of World War Two and the Vichy government, the specific features of French Jews and Muslims, and also because of its institutions, with the weight of the universalist and secular republican model.

This international and pluridisicplinary seminar, the working language of which will be english, will be the occasion to present French studies and surveys on prejudice towards minorities and intergroups relations (for instance the CNCDH –Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme-Barometer of tolerance, unique of its kind in Europe by its time span, and the TEO (Trajectories and Origins) large scale survey (N=22

000) launched by INED in 2009, focused on the impact of origins on current living conditions and social trajectories.

These seminars should eventually give birth to a collective publication in english, and set the base for a common research project. It will also be the occasion to stimulate research on the topic of prejudice among junior researchers at doctoral and post doctoral level.

Besides it will provide the opportunity to work together to academics from different disciplines, mostly political science, sociology, psychology and history. It will help promoting a dialogue between researchers working on Muslims, Islam and urban ghettos with those studying judaism and anti semitism, who seldom exchange. The seminar will also take into account the influence on prejudice of the international context and conflicts, the way the image of Jews and Muslims in the world is projected on those living in a specific country.

This is not done enough in a systematic way.

Last this seminar should allow to bring together different visions, confronting the perspective of the academic community with the perspective of the various actors mobilised in the fight against prejudice and the representation of minorities. As done in London thanks to David Feldman, a session will be devoted to a dialogue between civil society and academics, with a visit of the Goutte d’Or neighbourhood, in partnership with local associations and with two junior scholars who have been doing research on the neighbourhood, Jasper Cooper and Samuel Everett.

Provisional programme


Presentation of the « Haifa Network »

►Session 1. 18 Avril 14h-18h : Jews and Arabs in France: history and present situation -Opening with Pierre Birnbaum, professeur émérite, Paris 1 (Les deux maisons. Essai sur la citoyenneté des juifs en France et aux Etats-Unis, Gallimard, 2012), and Gilles Kepel, Sciences Po Paris (Banlieue de la

République: Société, politique et religion à Clichy-sous-Bois et Montfermeil, Gallimard, 2012) -Update on the situation and profile of Jewish and Muslim minorities in French Society today: new data from the TEO survey (Trajectories and origins), with Patrick Simon and Vincent Tiberj

â–ºSession 2. 19 Avril 9h-13h : Evolution and reconfiguration of prejudice towards Jews and Muslims :new judeophobia, new islamophobia ?

This session will explore the “new” clothes of prejudice. Pierre André Taguieff coined the concept of a « new judeophobia” (La nouvelle judéophobie, 2002, Rising from the Muck. The new antisemitism in Europe, 2004). He sees it as different from old antisemitism, specifically focused against jews (not « semites »), no more based on race and biology but anti Zionism, presenting itself as an anti racism, and supported no more by the extreme right but the extreme left. Vincent Geisser responded with the concept of a “new islamophobia” (La nouvelle islamophobie, 2003), which he sees as different from old prejudice against immigrants, with a religious base, a specific rejection of Islam presented as not compatible with French culture, in the name of republican values (secularization, feminism) and claiming to be « non racist ». This session will try to assess the existence and scope of these new forms of prejudice, in a round table bringing together scholars who have been working on prejudice from various perspectives and with different types of data : Jean –Yves Camus (IRIS), Bruno Cousin (Lille 1), Abdellali Hajjat (université Paris-Ouest / ISP)Nonna Mayer (CEE-Sciences Po, CNRS), Marwan Mohammed (CMH-ERIS, CNRS), Guy Michelat (Cevipof-Sciences Po, CNRS), Vincent Tiberj (CEE-Sciences Po, FNSP),

Tommaso Vitale (CEE-Sciences Po, FNSP).

â–ºLunchtime : posters session, doctoral and post doctoral students

â–ºSession 3. 19 avril 14h30-18h30 :Perceptions and intergroups relations This session will bring together scholars working more specifically on intergroup relations -Serge Guimond (Université Blaise Pascal de Clermont-Ferrand-LAPSCO) will present his experimental survey on French perceptions of multiculturalism (projet ANR IMERCII) -Francoise Lorcerie (CNRS-DREM) will draw from her surveys on the impact of ethnicity among high school pupils in Marseille( « Les Marseillais musulmans ») -Camille Hamidi (Lyon 2) will present her survey on ethnic categorizations study of immigrnt born youth in Vaulx en Vélin (La société civile dans les cités, 2010) Clément Rivière (OSC-Sciences Po) will draw from his PhD on spatial segregation and Jews and Maghrebins relations in the 19th arrondissement of Paris parents -Didier Lapeyronnie (Université Paris-Sorbonne – Paris IV, CADIS ) will

present his work on the ordinary antisemitism of immigrant born youth in the suburbs ( Ghetto urbain, Ségrégation, violence, pauvreté en France aujourd’hui, Robert Laffont, 2008).

Evening : Presentation of the Goutte d’Or (Paris, 18th) preparing next day’s exploration of the neighbourhood ►Session 4. 20 avril 9h-11h : free visit of la Goutte d’or with two junior scholars who have worked on the neighbourhood: Jasper Cooper (CEE-Sciences Po) and Samuel Everett 12-14h :Lunch debate: debriefing of the visit and debate with voluntary associations representaing and defending th rights of Jews, maghrebians, Muslims in France about the ways to improve the fight against prejudice, find the « good practices », deflate inter groups tensions Possible organisations: ACLEFEU, Observatoire de l’islamophobie, UEJF, l’Eveil and local orgnaisztionsnsuch as Les enfants de la Goutte d’Or, Ayem Zamen?