‘An Insult to Those Fighting Antisemitism:’ French MP’s ‘Free Palestine’ Tweet Condemned
by Algemeiner Staff
Jewish and anti-racist groups in France have roundly condemned a far left member of parliament who posted a photograph of herself meeting with Palestinian solidarity activists above a tweet concerned with antisemitism.
The MP — Ersilia Soudais, who sits with the far left NUPES coalition in the French National Assembly — was appointed by her party on Feb. 14 as a vice-president of the parliament’s study group on antisemitism. The announcement sparked concern among Jewish groups given NUPES anti-Zionist stance, which has included tabling a parliamentary resolution in July last year denouncing Israel for its alleged “apartheid regime.”
On Friday, Soudais sparked widespread ire with a tweet announcing her meeting with three Palestinian solidarity activists that claimed the group had discussed “the fight against antisemitism and solidarity with the Palestinian people.”
The tweet ended with the hash tag “Free Palestine.”
In response, the French Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) called on Soudais to “STOP!”
“Antisemitism is too serious a subject to be permanently exploited in this way,” the UEJF stated. “A [vice-president of the] study group on the subject at the National Assembly is a means of action against the aggressions suffered by the Jews, not a label that justifies passing on one’s anti-Zionist obsession!”
The International League Against Racism and Antisemitism (LICRA) charged Soudais with having “imported the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the heart of French institutions.” The group accused her of “legitimizing anti-Zionist radicalism.”
Other tweets similarly condemned Soudais, with one describing her invocation of the “Free Palestine” slogan as an “insult to all those who fight against antisemitism.”
Soudais has clashed with the Jewish community on previous occasions. Last December, she was among a group of MPs who greeted Salah Hamouri, a Palestinian terrorist with French citizenship, when he arrived in France after being expelled by Israel. Hamouri had served a six-year prison sentence in Israel for his part in a 2005 attempt to assassinate the country’s then Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Ovadia Yosef.
Soudais was also excoriated by a prominent lawyer with a record of representing victims of antisemitism after she tweeted a tribute to Ilan Halimi, a young French Jew who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by an antisemitic gang in Jan. 2006.
“On this day of commemoration of the death of Ilan Halimi, tortured and kidnapped because he was Jewish, let us remember that antisemitism kills,” she wrote. “Hate speech and racist prejudices are to be fought day after day. Humanism must be our only compass.”
In response, Frances Szpiner tweeted that “as the Halimi family’s lawyer, I deny you the right to use his martyrdom.”
Said Szpiner: “Your hatred of Israel leads to hatred of Jews — you who dared to speak of deportation regarding the expulsion of the terrorist Salah Hamouri, whom you welcomed with great fanfare.”