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July 22, 2022 11:39 am
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Anger as Resolution Denouncing Israeli ‘Apartheid’ Is Proposed by Far-Left Deputies in French National Assembly

avatar by Ben Cohen

Adrien Quatennens — a far-left parliamentarian who endorsed a resolution accusing Israel of practicing “apartheid” — is seen in the French National Assembly chamber. Photo: Reuters/Xose Bouzas

Far-left deputies in the French parliament have proposed a viscerally anti-Zionist resolution targeting Israel, accusing the Jewish state of practicing apartheid and committing war crimes against Palestinians under occupation.

Titled “Condemn Israel’s Institutionalization of an Apartheid Regime Against the Palestinian People,” the motion was signed by 38 members of the National Assembly who represent the newly formed far-left NUPES coalition. NUPES enjoyed a strong showing in June’s legislative elections, winning 131 of the chamber’s 577 seats.

Submitted on July 13, the 24-page motion became a subject of public debate only on Friday morning, after a dissenting NUPES parliamentarian, Jérôme Guedj, denounced its contents in a thread on Twitter.

Guedj said that he had first learned of the resolution’s existence on Thursday. “If it is always legitimate to challenge the policy of a government, I do not understand how the abolition of a state advances peace by a millimeter,” he wrote, referring to the resolution’s presentation of Israel as a colonial entity lacking in legal and moral legitimacy.

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“The resolution maintains that Israel is an apartheid regime, calls for the legalization of the boycott of Israeli products and pleads for the official recognition of Palestine,” Guedj added. “If I can defend this last point, the first two are unacceptable. I condemn them.”

The resolution argues that “since its creation in 1948, Israel has pursued a policy aimed at establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony and expanding its control over the territory for the benefit of Israeli Jews.”

It asserted that following Israel’s victory against a combined force of Arab armies in Six Day War of June 1967, “Israel extended this policy to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Currently, all territories under Israeli control remain administered with the aim of favoring Israeli Jews at the expense of the Palestinian population, while successive Israeli governments have continued to deny the right of return to Palestinian refugees for more than seven decades.”

Among the actions against Israel urged by the resolution are the “imposition of a strict arms embargo” and a French-sponsored resolution to the UN Security Council that would impose “targeted sanctions, such as the freezing of assets, on the Israeli officials most implicated in the crime of apartheid.” The resolution also offers a vocal defense of the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) campaign singling out Israel, insisting that measures to suppress BDS activism on the grounds of antisemitism and discrimination amount to an attack on the freedom of speech.

The resolution quotes several international human rights organizations in support of its contention that Israel practices apartheid, among them Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israel-based B’tselem. Kenneth Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch, was cited approvingly for having reached the conclusion “that the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution are committed by the Israeli government against part of the Palestinian population.”

Among the NUPES deputies who endorsed the resolution was its main author, Jean-Paul Lecoq; Mathilde Panot, who was accused of antisemitic rhetoric on a separate occasion earlier this month; Idir Boumertit, known as a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause; and Adrien Quatennens, who participated in last May’s angry pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris as hostilities resumed between Israel and the Hamas terror organization in Gaza.

Guedj, who hails from a Sephardic Jewish family, appealed to his NUPES parliamentary colleagues to reconsider their positions. “This is the worst way to approach this question,” he stated. He warned of the risk of importing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into France and “instrumentalizing it for reasons far removed from the cause being defended.”

Further condemnation of the resolution — which is unlikely to win approval, given the current make-up of the French parliament — was voiced by Jewish leaders.

Yonathan Arfi, the newly-elected president of the French Jewish umbrella organization Crif, lambasted the resolution’s “irresponsible and dangerous” approach — adding that the French far left was following in the footsteps of Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the British Labour Party, in its “obsession with Israel.” Separately, Muriel Ouaknine-Melki, the president of European Jewish Organization (OJE), tweeted that the resolution was the “first step towards state-sponsored antisemitism.”

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