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December 2, 2014 6:40 pm

Critics of French Vote on Palestinian Recognition Slam ‘Betrayal,’ Warn of Negative Repercussions for Jewish Community

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The French National Assembly's vote in favor of a Palestinian state was dismissed by one activist as a "betrayal." Photo: Twitter

The French parliament’s decision to vote for the recognition of a Palestinian state earlier today generated a variety of reactions, with many observers deeming the decision essentially meaningless while others protested what one activist called a “betrayal.”

Serge Cwajgenbaum, the secretary general of the European Jewish Congress (EJC,) said the vote was largely “toothless,” but expressed concern that “such votes can have negative consequences for the Middle East peace process because it can radicalize people, while pushing Palestinians to abandon the negotiating table in favor of seeking recognitions.”

Cwajgenbaum told the New York Times: “I can’t exclude the possibility that there can be repercussions of the vote on the Jewish community, as criticism of Israel can be construed by some extremists as an excuse for incitement against Jews.”

The Israeli Embassy in Paris condemned the vote. It said Israel considered it “an error that sent the wrong message to leaders and people in the region.” It noted that French policy remained unchanged, namely, that only a negotiated solution would bring an end to the conflict.

The American Jewish Committee sounded a similar note, asserting: “This action by France’s National Assembly undermines the peace process by so clearly telling the Palestinians they can skip the negotiating table with Israel, while telling Israelis that some European countries can’t be trusted as honest brokers.”

Other opponents of the vote expressed even sharper criticism.

“The French National Assembly voted today in solidarity with Hamas and Fatah so that they can continue their effort to destroy Israel,” Ron Agam, a leading French-Israeli artist and political activist, told The Algemeiner. “This is a historical continuation of a betrayal that started a long time ago – thank God this was not a unanimous vote, and that some French parliamentarians opposed this disgrace.”

“The government is importing the conflict to France,” charged Meyer Habib, a French Jewish lawmaker who represents French citizens in eight Mediterranean countries, including Israel. “We’ll have embraced terrorism and lost our soul with a decision like this.”

Daniel Shek, a former Israeli Ambassador in Paris, was more conciliatory. “I support any move which strengthens the concept of two states,” Sheck told The Algemeiner. While emphasizing his preference for a negotiated solution, Sheck said that “other initiatives” were needed to “fill the void” left by the frozen peace process. The wording of the resolution which the French parliamentarians voted in favor of was, Sheck said, “quite harmless and balanced.”

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