July 17, 2023

Jewish People Take the Blame for Violent Protests in France

After police fatally shot a 17-year-old in a Paris suburb, France erupted in violent protests — and Jewish people took the blame for orchestrating the chaos and destruction.

After police killed a young Frenchman of Algerian origin in a Paris suburb, protests broke out in France as well as Switzerland, Belgium, and Canada. From June 27 to July 4, hundreds were arrested as nightly protests left stores looted and vehicles burned. Protesters even vandalized the Holocaust Memorial in Paris.

As with other major events, including the protests in France last March, Jewish people once again were scapegoated and accused of sewing discord and orchestrating the latest rash of violent protests. In this blog we break down a number of conspiracy theories, each blaming the Jewish people for the France riots, through a variety of coded and overt language. 

Notice #TheNoticing

This antisemitic hashtag continues to be a spreader of a hateful ideology calling for the public to “wake up” to the “truth”. This “truth” entails a number of conspiracy theories about Jewish people infiltrating key global leadership positions in an effort for world domination, a classic antisemitic conspiracy with a modern take. CyberWell regularly monitors #TheNoticing, and over the last two weeks detected a number of tropes and antisemitic conspiracy theories using this hashtag swirling around online regarding the recent France riots. Several examples are included below.

Blaming Jews for Non-White Immigration

The fear of the end of a “White Europe” due to immigration drives a number of conspiracy theorists to action – namely, blaming Jews. This takes several odd forms, from claiming that Jews support immigration to deliberately destroy “White Society”, to claiming that Jews drive diversity so that they won’t be the only minority outsider, to going one step further and linking multiculturalism to Jewish plans for world domination.

Two similar conspiracy theories, the Great Replacement and the Kalergi Plan, claim that Jews are involved in plans to mix white Europeans with other races through promoting immigration, thus bringing about the destruction of Europe. While these antisemitic and racist conspiracy theories have been promoted by neo-Nazis and white nationalists for years, they gained traction during the recent riots.

Antisemitic screenshot referencing the Kalergi Plain, which claims that Jews encourage immigration to Europe

Views: 2,856 and counting

In the post below, the author links to a YouTube video titled, “The Jew Barbara Lerner Spencer on the Jewish plan to make Europeans Multicultural.” (Barbara Lerner Specter is the founding director of the Paideia, the European Center for Jewish Studies in Sweden.) The video’s description reads, “Jews want to make all non-Jewish countries multicultural so that they can blend in, and not be the “other,” they justify this by saying it avoids Jewish persecution, they want to destroy the identity and strength of the host people, then they can take over.” The post includes a number of hashtags, several linking the Jews to the riots in France: #thegreatreplacement, #thekalergiplan, #Eurabia, #thenoticing, #RefugeesWelcome, #RefugeeWeek, and #FranceRiots.

Screenshot of an antisemitic social media post

In the post below, the author links to a video titled, “the great replacement is a conspiracy theory: whites are being replaced.” The video claims that Jewish people work to bring refugees to the West as part of a larger Jewish conspiracy to dilute the white population, and that this plan led to immigration which led to the riots.

Screenshot of an antisemitic Facebook post about the Great Replacement conspiracy theory

Blaming Jews and Israel Overtly for France Riots

Some posts nixed code words altogether and directly accused the Jews, and Israel in particular, of instigating the recent France riots.

In the Tweet below, a meme claims a double standard between Israel and European Jews on accepting immigrants and refugees. While Israel discourages immigration through strict policies and border fencing, Jews in Europe appear to promote migration. Therefore, the theory claims, the Jewish people are deliberately pushing refugees to immigrate to western countries while keeping them out of Israel, and are therefore responsible for the riots in France.

Screenshot of an antisemitic Tweet about Jewish people or Israelis encouraging migration to Europe

The Tweet below includes a meme claiming that Jewish people have promoted “mass immigration” and a retweet saying, “Plenty of Israeli accounts [are] laughing at the situation in France.” In response, the author claims that the Jews are “laughing” now because they succeeded in their supposed plan to create the conditions for the violence.

The Tweet below refers to the “Zionist Occupied Government” with the hashtag #ZOG. This antisemitic conspiracy theory alleges that Western governments are puppets controlled by the Israeli government, Jews, or both.

Screenshot of an antisemitic Tweet referring to the Zionist Occupied Government (ZOG), an antisemitic slur.

Blaming the Rothschilds for France Riots

A top antisemitic trope across social media is that the Rothschild family promotes their interests within France through President Emmanuel Macron. The theory rests on Macron’s previous role as a banker at the Rothschild Bank before entering politics. This antisemitic trope resurfaced once again in regard to the recent riots.

Screenshot of an antisemitic Facebook post claiming that Emanuel Macron is controlled by the Rothschild family

In the Tweet below, three images allege that the Rothschilds influenced the France protests through their relationships with Cleon Peterson and President Emmanuel Macron. Peterson is an artist known for his paintings expressing social commentary. The image on the left shows Peterson’s paintings depicting people in physical conflict. The second image is a screenshot of a post from Peterson’s Instagram account allegedly showing a connection between Peterson and the Rothschilds. The third image shows a search result for a 2017 article titled, “Emanuel’s Macron’s Rothschild years make him an easy election.”

Screenshot of an antisemitic Tweet.

Blaming George Soros for France Riots

George Soros, a Hungarian-American Jew and Holocaust survivor, is a donor to left-wing political organizations. In antisemitic content, Soros often serves as a symbol of Jewish control, wealth, and power. Social media posts about the recent France protests specifically accuse Soros of working to destroy Western society.

Freedom of Speech is not Freedom from Consequences

Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of democracy. Like any other right, it is not absolute, especially when it conflicts with other rights or even threatens the very existence of the democratic regime. As former President of the Israeli Supreme Court Aharon Barak said, “A constitution is not a prescription for suicide, and civil rights are not a stage for national extinction”[1].

The France riots broke out just days before Bastille Day – France’s National Day. 234 years prior, the storming of the Bastille served as a defining moment in the French Revolution, ultimately leading to the transition of France from a monarchy to a democracy. The same France that once ratified freedom of speech in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is also a major player in the European Union today. The E.U. recently enacted The Digital Services Act (DSA), the first and most comprehensive piece of legislation regulating online companies and platforms in order to create a safer digital space.

Social media platforms must act in the spirit of this legislation and protect minority communities from online harm. Today, with the ability of a single post to reach millions through social media, antisemitism is more dangerous than ever. Social media platforms must enforce their hate speech policies and act decisively against antisemitic content.


[1] EA 2/84 Neiman v. Chairman of the Elections Committee, at 97 (05.15.1985).


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