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August 1, 2022 11:44 am

‘I Solemnly Demand That Anti-Zionism Be Banned in France,’ Parliamentary Deputy Declares

avatar by Ben Cohen

Police officers stand on a street during a protest in support of Palestinians in Paris, during the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in May 2021. Photo: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

A French parliamentary deputy has issued a call for expressions of anti-Zionism to be legally prohibited on similar grounds to antisemitic incitement.

Writing in the news outlet Valeurs Actuelles last week, Éric Ciotti — a parliamentarian from the city of Nice for the center-right Les Républicains (LR) Party — lambasted anti-Zionism as “the antisemitism that dare not speak its name.”

Ciotti pointed to a parliamentary resolution proposed at the end of July that denounced Israel as an “apartheid” regime, claiming 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.”

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.

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In his op-ed, Ciotti described the text of the resolution as “scandalous and shameful,” arguing that in France, “a large part of the left and the extreme right [have taken up] the cause of the Palestinian terrorists of Hamas.” He added that anti-Zionist discourse had become more “commonplace” in recent years, citing the year-on-year rise in antisemitic attacks recorded in France as well as the appearance of antisemitic tropes at demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians and within the radical “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) protest movement that emerged in 2018.

“I solemnly demand that anti-Zionism be banned in France, the homeland of human rights, just as much as antisemitism, because this ideology contravenes our deepest principles and values,” he declared.

Ciotti’s demand for anti-Zionism to be banned by the courts comes less than a month after the head of the city government in Madrid called for the same measure to be introduced in Spain.

Meeting with a delegation of American Jews, Isabel Díaz Ayuso — the president of Community of Madrid — said that she had formally called on the EU to amend its strategy for combating antisemitism by prosecuting support for the BDS movement, which seeks to isolate Israel as a prelude to its replacement with a single Palestinian state, as a hate crime under European law.

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