Well, let’s see: Some 76,000 Jews were arrested in France during World War Two and taken to concentration camps such as Auschwitz, where most were murdered. So, are the French anti-Semitic? There’s an old French joke: “Why do the Jews have big noses? Because the air is free.” Perhaps that one has made the rounds of certain country clubs and other closed quarters in America, but it’s probably safe to say that there’s more ambient anti-Semitism in France than the United States. That should be no surprise considering official French complicity in the Holocaust and the French penchant for blaming all their ills on others (if Lacroix has a bad showing on the runway, trust us, the French press would find a way to blame the CIA).
Consider that most synagogues in France have government security guard protection. In America, they do not. Consider that during the military escalation in Gaza, at least one synagogue near Paris was attacked. Consider that, by and large, no one really cared. A long history of virulent anti-Semitism anesthetizes the soul to the outrage that occurs.
Most practicing Jews in France, given the chance, would leave France. It is important for American Jews traveling in France to be aware of the situation, and to consider whether a country that does so little to protect its Jewish community is altogether deserving of their tourist dollars. Moreover, if you go and have to be constantly on guard, why go?