French tax expert and leading Advocate Itay Bracha has expressed his dismay over new French tax measures designed to subject French Jews, both those residing domestically and those emigrating to Israel, to a disproportionate level of scrutiny. Bracha has stated he knows of no similar regime anywhere else in the world.
The new department already employs 20 Hebrew-speaking staff and is in the process of hiring more.
Ostensibly US tax authorities have a similar department, but whilst the purpose of the US department is to regulate movements of capital between the US and Israel, the French department has been established with the primary aim of subjecting Jews to a greater level of scrutiny for tax offences than non-Jews.
Bracha described the department as constituting “extreme discrimination”, commenting:
“I know of no similar department to the one founded in France, and certainly not with that number of employees. There is a special department in the US because of the need for direct communication with the authorities in Israel, and taking into account the volume of trade between Israel and the US, but the main purpose is absolutely not to catch tax evaders.” Bracha added, “Such a department, which constitutes extreme discrimination against Jews in France, does violence to equality between different citizens. Establishing such a department is an unacceptable statement by the authorities in France, and puts the Jewish community in a very unflattering spotlight”.
A European nation subjecting Jews to extra legal scrutiny comes with worrying connotations, not only being eerily evocative of the centuries of legal persecution of Jews in Europe, but in that it seems to evoke antisemitic canards about Jews being conniving and miserly with money. The tacit expression of these sentiments is bad enough, but their writing into national tax policy in breach of the basic principles upon which western nations are founded is unconscionable. This comes at a time when French Jews are perpetually failed by their government by its impotence against rising antisemitism, which has been driving French Jews out of the country at an alarming rate. This visits upon French Jews the double indignity of being gradually pushed from their homes by escalating antisemitism whilst they are subjected to disproportionate scrutiny from their government.