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December 20, 2020 10:53 am

Jewish Groups, Local Politicians Voice Fury Over Vicious Antisemitic Social Media Attacks on French Beauty Queen

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

April Benayoum, first runner-up in the Miss France competition. Photo: Twitter.

Leading French-Jewish groups, the Israeli Embassy in France, and numerous local politicians on Sunday condemned a storm of antisemitic attacks on social media against April Benayoum, a top contestant in the Miss France contest.

Benayoum, who revealed during the competition that she has an Israeli father, was competing as Miss Provence and came in first runner-up in the contest on Saturday night. Her Israeli connection, however, prompted a vicious outbreak of antisemitism, with tweets calling for her exclusion because of her Jewish heritage and others such as “Hitler forgot to exterminate you, Miss Provence.”

The Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (Crif), the umbrella organization of France’s Jewish community, called the attacks on Benayoum “vile and unacceptable!”

“All occasions appear to be good for spreading hatred of Jews and Israel,” the group added sarcastically, and demanded that Twitter take responsibility for what had happened.

The Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme (Licra), demanded that the social media assailants face legal consequences for turning Twitter “into an antisemitic cesspool” and urged users to report antisemitic tweets.

The Israeli Embassy in France also weighed in, saying, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the surge of antisemitic and anti-Zionist hatred on social networks last night” and pledged “full support” for Benayoum.

Local politicians also expressed anger at the incident, with the country’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeting, “I am deeply shocked by the rain of antisemitic insults against Miss Provence. We must not let anything go. Shame on their authors.”

He added, “The police and gendarmerie services are mobilized.”

The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, described the antisemitic hate speech as “despicable.” He added, “All my support to April, magnificent first runner-up last night.”

The President of the Région Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Renaud Muselier, said Benayoum “perfectly represents our region and our country” and called the antisemitism against her “an abomination.”

Clémentine Autain, a National Assembly Deputy for Seine-Saint-Denis, called the antisemitic attacks “appalling,” and added, “In this matrix of violence, the Jewish people are hated for the sole reason that they are Jewish. My full support for April and all victims of anti-Semitism.”

The winner of the competition, Normandy’s Amandine Petit, was quick to offer support for her colleague.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” she said on Sunday morning in an interview with French broadcaster BFM TV.

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