In French poll, majority say Zionism is a ‘racist’ nationalist movement

In French discourse, the term “Zionism” has negative connotations for more than half of the polled French population. 

By: World Israel News Staff

Zionism is an ideology used to “justify Israel’s policy of occupation and colonization of Palestinian territories,” according to a French poll made public last week.

There were 1,007 respondents, of which half agreed with the statement  “Zionism is an international organization that seeks to influence the world and societies to the Jews’ benefit.” The survey was conducted by Ifop, a French pollster employed by the Union of Jewish Students in France.

When asked whether “Zionism is a racist ideology” about half answered in the affirmative.

Fifty-four percent said they agreed, however, that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-semitism. Fifty-nine percent, when asked whether Zionism was the “movement of liberation and emancipation for the Jewish people,” agreed.

A quarter of respondents said they thought that to boycott Israel was justified. Thirty-eight percent said that the statement Israel’s existence “feeds antisemitism” was true.

The poll uncovered widespread lack of knowledge about Israel.

“Israel declared its independence after 1980” was a statement to which a quarter agreed. About a third answered correctly that Israel was established in 1948.

A “threat to regional stability” was a description of Israel that 57 percent of respondents buyed into. And “theocracy” was the name which 51 percent said defined Israel. “Israel is a democracy” and is a “normal country like all other” were statements to which 46 and 48 percent agreed respectively.

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Stanley Greenberg, an American pollster and political strategist, recommended that French Jewry representatives avoid mentioning Zionism when speaking to gentiles.

Zionist ideology and the Zionist movement are “seen as extremist and a force mainly in Israel, rather than Europe. Use of the term links your spokespeople to what is seen as an external conflict,” Greenberg advised Robert Ejnes, the executive director of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities.