If the current tide of anti-Semitism continues unabated, soon there will be even fewer places to run to.
NOTE: Catholic France has always had it in for the Jews, with a 10 % Muslim population, they’re now getting a taste on what it’s like to be persecuted.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, reads Lady Liberty’s welcome. Every year since New York City’s founding, tens of thousands have crossed over the Atlantic to trade in their European chapeaux for American caps. This year, New York has increasingly become home to one particular population seeking American status: Jewish Frenchmen.
Marlen Kruzhkov, an attorney at New York’s Gusrae Kaplan, specializes in helping Jews make the move from France to the States. Mr. Kruzhkov explained to the Observer in a phone interview that this migration has increased massively since the beginning of 2014, spurred by a spate of anti-semitic incidents, which only worsened with the war between Israel and Hamas. While last year he helped a handful of families with legal arrangements, today he is handling the arrangements of several dozen families—parents with children—looking to make the move. The families Mr. Kruzhkov works with are predominantly well-off investors, with an average net worth of $50 to $70 million. These dollars come along for the all-American ride.
As any good lawyer does, Mr. Kruzhkov begins his conversations with the families he represents by asking, “Why this, why now? Why do you want to be here and invest here?” Unanimously, the answer is French anti-Semitism.
“The truth is, there has always been a large [amount of] anti-Semitism in Europe, and particularly in France,” explains Mr. Kruzhkov. “France is a weird country because it has a large Jewish and large Muslim population, so there is a real tension, a real undercurrent of hostility and a threat. Now, it has become a lot easier for people to become a lot more open about their anti-Semitism and hate. Even a year ago, they were shocked.” Jewish people account for one percent of France’s population, whereas Muslims make up five to ten percent. The vast majority of Frenchmen are Roman Catholics.
For this Jewish population, there are two main options when it comes to moving: the United States or Israel. While Israel feels more familiar to many of those seeking to migrate – it’s nearby and many already have Israeli passports — Mr. Kruzhkov notes that their businesses are often the key to determining a location.
“Israel is a small place, business opportunities are less, there is much more red tape.
The US is easier; it’s a great place to do business, less red tape.” Nonetheless, it is anti-Semitism, not business opportunities, that is driving the Jewish population out of France. “It’s no question, the driving force is the anti-Semitism, but the reason they are choosing the US is due to sound business reasons.”
For some who are looking to move, their funds go first, and then the discussion of relocating the family begins. While their wealth often ends up in the United States, not all families choose to immigrate, at least not immediately. Almost all of Mr. Kruzhkov’s clients aim to move their wealth from France; 75 percent of them consider immigration. Fifty percent end up going through with the move. In some cases, investments head to the States while the family moves to Israel. From the roughly two-dozen families he has represented thus far this year, an estimated $1.44 billion in wealth has moved from France to New York as a result of the rising anti-Semitism in France.