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August 24, 2022 1:50 pm

Algerian Islamists Slam Macron Over Presence of French Chief Rabbi in Official Delegation

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France’s Chief rabbi Haim Korsia is seen with President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters/Ludovic Marin

Islamists in Algeria have bitterly protested the presence of France’s chief rabbi in the delegation accompanying French President Emmanuel Macron as he embarks on a three-day visit to the North African nation on Thursday.

Several posts on the internet voiced anger at the arrival of Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia alongside Macron. Korsia’s parents were Algerian Jews; his father was born in Oran while his mother hails from Tlemcen.

The chorus against Korsia was led by Abderrazak Makri, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Social Movement for Peace (MSP), who also took aim at the Algerian soccer players of French side OGC Nice, who competed recently in a UEFA Europa League contest against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.

“After the scandal of the soccer players visiting the entity [a euphemism for the State of Israel], official France is bringing back the chief rabbi of France who supports the entity and who denies the rights of the Palestinians,” Makri tweeted.

Other posts voiced similar sentiments. “Haïm Korsia is not welcome in Algeria. The Zionists of Israel sent this rabbi (lackey of Israel) with Macron to smear our image and make people believe that Algeria supports Israeli apartheid,” said one user.

“Haim Korsia does not come as a Rabbi or a Frenchman from Algeria but as a supporter of the expansionist policy of the Zionist apartheid regime!” read another post.

Algeria is one of the leading rejectionist states in the Arab world regarding relations with Israel, having severed diplomatic ties with Morocco last year after Rabat announced a peace deal with Israel.

“In the army, in the political class and in the Algerian media, Israel is referred to by the name ‘Zionist entity,’ an expression endowed with a meaning that is both pejorative and hateful,” the news outlet Le Point commented.

One French parliamentarian accused Korsia’s Algerian detractors of antisemitism in response.

“Why so much antisemitic hatred following the invitation to the chief rabbi of France? Not a single Jew still lives in Algeria today!! Because the new antisemitism is anti-Zionism!” Meyer Habib declared.

Macron is paying his second visit to Algeria since he was elected president in 2017. Thursday’s visit is enveloped in symbolism, as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the peace agreement that ended the French war against Algerian independence in 1962.

Macron’s delegation to Algeria comprises a total of 90 people, including Korsia, seven cabinet members and representatives from the business and culture sectors.


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