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July 1, 2019 11:05 am

Political Courage Is Needed to Fight Antisemitism in France

avatar by Francis Kalifat

Opinion

Mireille Knoll, the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who was murdered in her Paris apartment. Photo: Knoll family.

Jew-hatred through demonization of Israel is flourishing in France with total impunity.

On February 20, 2019, at the annual dinner held by the Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, French President Emmanuel Macron described anti-Zionism as one of the modern forms of antisemitism.

He added, “That is why I confirm that France, which endorsed it in December with its European partners, will implement the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) … to allow law enforcement, magistrates, and teachers to better fight those who hide their hatred of the Jews behind the rejection of Israel and the denial of the existence of Israel.”

On the strength of this statement, the trans-partisan “study group on antisemitism” at the National Assembly submitted a motion on May 20 for a resolution to this effect.

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Unfortunately, the examination of this motion, signed by 167 deputies, which had been placed on the agenda on May 29, was postponed for the foreseeable future.

Worse, we learned that this resolution could be examined next October — provided that it is rewritten, i.e. emptied of its substance.

The president of the National Assembly, and the presidential majority, have yielded to the pressures of the anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli lobby, which knowingly confuse de-legitimization and political criticism of Israel with acceptable examination of Israeli policies. Thus, the demonization of Israel continues in France with impunity.

To effectively fight the new antisemitism, France must take action. We cannot afford words. The compassion and solidarity expressed after each attack against French Jews can no longer be a sufficient response.

The fight against antisemitism and anti-Zionism cannot be dependent our country’s foreign policy or electoral patronage. It’s about the security of French Jews and their future in France. It’s about the honor of the Republic. It’s about France and its values.

Twelve French Jews have been murdered in our country since the early 2000s, the only reason being that they were Jewish.

How many more deaths will it take to address the root of this evil, and to finally tackle antisemitism in all its forms — and in particular, its most pernicious aspect: the anti-Zionism described as the “reinvented form” of antisemitism by president Macron.

Francis Kalifat has been president of CRIF, the Councel Representative of Jewish Institutions of France, since 2016. CRIF is the umbrella organization of French Jewish organizations.

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