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'Not for Jews’ job ad whips up a storm in France

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-02-03

A French job advert aimed at “non-Jewish” candidates, and the clumsy attempts to explain how it was ever posted, have triggered a backlash on social media.

The job ad for a graphic designer at a Paris company appeared on a specialist website on Tuesday with the line “if possible, not Jewish” among the selection criteria for the position.

Social media were soon awash with screengrabs of the litigious ad (see below), along with outraged comments by internet users.

SOS Racisme, a leading anti-racism watchdog, announced it was launching legal proceedings. According to French law, it is illegal to refer in a job ad to candidates’ “faith, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic, national or racial background, political opinions etc.”

The Graphic Jobs website promptly removed the advert and apologised on Twitter for failing to spot the “scandalous” line.

But the muddled response from the agency behind the advert drew more controversy.

When contacted by French weekly Les Inrockuptibles, a representative of Paris-based NSL Studio appeared to justify the ad, saying they were looking for someone who could work flexible hours and was not restricted by “cultural or religious concerns”.

But NSL Studio managers later dismissed the employee’s comments, suggesting the controversial line had been added by someone “outside the company”.

In a statement, they added that “NSL Studio dissociates itself from all racist or anti-Semitic acts".

Their claim was challenged by Graphic-Jobs.com, which categorically denied it was “hacked” to add the comment about “non-Jewish” candidates.

The incident comes amid concern about a rise in racism and anti-Semitism in recent years. Last month, France’s main Jewish group said anti-Semitic acts had more than doubled in 2014 compared to the previous year.

While discrimination in recruitment is recognized as a serious problem in France, studies have shown that it generally targets people of immigrant origin from disadvantaged areas, particularly with Arabic-sounding names.

President François Hollande has promised to make anonymous CVs compulsory as part of efforts to tackle discrimination, but the government is yet to draft legislation on the issue.

Date created : 2015-02-03

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