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February 18, 2019 12:32 pm

‘Anti-Zionism Is Antisemitism:’ French Parliamentarians Announce New Resolution Amid Rising Antagonism Toward Jewish Community

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avatar by Ben Cohen

‘Yellow Vest’ protesters scream antisemitic abuse at French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut in Paris. Photo: Screenshot.

A group of parliamentarians in France will this week propose new legislation that will classify anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism, and therefore a crime, several French news outlets reported on Monday.

Sylvain Maillard — a deputy for France’s ruling center-right LREM party who heads the Antisemitism Study Group in the country’s National Assembly — told France Info on Monday that he and his colleagues had been examining the common roots of anti-Zionism and antisemitism “for several weeks.”

The group had concluded that “hatred of Israel is the new way of hating Jews,” Maillard said.

He continued: “We can criticize the government of Israel, but not question the very existence of this state. Nobody questions the existence of the French state or the German state.”

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Maillard explained that the group would meet on Tuesday night to decide whether to put the resolution to a symbolic vote of the National Assembly, which would likely pass quickly, or whether to draft a bill that would would become law, a longer process.

News of the proposed bill came two days after a handful of demonstrators associated with the “Yellow Vest” social protest movement verbally assailed one of France’s leading Jewish philosophers in the heart of Paris.

Alain Finkielkraut — a writer and essayist who was elected to the prestigious Académie Française in 2014 — was confronted by protesters in the Montparnasse district of the capital. Video of the incident showed Finkielkraut calming walking away from furious demonstrators screaming anti-Zionist and antisemitic abuse at close quarters. Insults hurled at the philosopher included, “Get out, you Zionist sh*t,” “Dirty Zionist, f*** your mother,” and “France is ours.”

The Paris public prosecutor on Sunday announced an investigation into the racist nature of the incident. According to a report in Le Parisien on Monday, one of the demonstrators caught on video screaming at Finkielkraut has been known to police since 2014 for his associations with radical Islamist circles. The demonstrator in question was heard shouting at Finkielkraut, “You are a hater and you are going to die, you are going to hell.”

French President Emmanuel Macron led the condemnation of the verbal assault on Finkielkraut —  the latest in a series of recent outrages targeting Jews that led 14 French political parties to issue a united call for a national rally against antisemitism in Paris on Tuesday night.

Government statistics published last week showed a shocking rise of 74 percent in antisemitic hate crimes in France during 2018, with attacks on Jews rapidly becoming a daily occurrence.

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