Leading French Jewish Actor and Advocate for Murdered Pensioner Sarah Halimi Targeted by BDS Activists
by Ben Cohen
One of France’s leading comic actors, Michel Boujenah, is facing a determined effort by BDS activists to bar him from appearing at the prestigious International Festival of Carthage in Tunisia, which opens on Thursday in the capital Tunis.
Boujenah — a Tunisian-born Jew and outspoken critic of antisemitism in France — has been on the receiving end of a two-week campaign by local BDS activists from the “International Campaign for Boycotting Zionism,” which cited his support for Israel as the reason for barring him from the festival.
But pro-democracy activists in the North African nation countered that Boujenah was a loyal Tunisian, dismissing the boycott call as an act of discrimination.
‘I am not here to defend a person who does not need defending…as if being non-Muslim requires one to prove [one’s patriotism]! ” said Yamina Thabet, president of the Tunisian Association for the Support of Minorities (TASM), in remarks translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“What I denounce is the cowardly behavior of those who do not have the guts to acknowledge their hatred and therefore hide the under guise of some general excuse,” Thabet declared. “Michel Boujenah is a Tunisian who always declared out loud his attachment to the homeland. And as such, he has the right to perform in Tunisia and meet his fans in our country, and there are many of them.”
The Tunisian Liberal Party also denounced the call to bar Boujenah, saying in an official statement that it was “deeply sorry that Tunisian artist Michel Boujenah should be the subject of media and political campaigns to prevent him from performing at the Carthage Theater.”
“Keep art and artists out of political controversies,” it added.
As The Algemeiner reported last month, Boujenah took center stage in a primetime French TV discussion about the brutal murder of Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Jewish pensioner who was tortured and beaten to death by an intruder who shouted Islamist and antisemitic slogans during the act.
Castgating the French authorities for casting the murderer as suffering with severe mental illness, Boujenah said, “They said it was a mentally unstable person. But it was a mentally unstable person who chose his victim, who tortured her, insulted her with every antisemitic slur, and threw her out of the window.”
As the discussion concluded, Boujenah observed, “The problem of antisemitism is not the problem of the Jews, it is the problem of the antisemites.”