In the context of the football match between RC Strasbourg and Maccabi Haifa FC, the French Prefect of the East Region issued a deeply disturbing decree. President of Crif Francis Kalifat spoke with the Deputy Minister of the Interior, and with the Prefect's Cabinet Director. A new decree should be published, removing in particular the ban on national flags and signs of support for both teams.
Crif President Francis Kalifat Op-Ed - July 25th 2019
Football match Strasbourg RC - Maccabi Haifa FC: a disturbing and worrying Prefectural decision...
The French Republic security forces have for mission to guarantee individual and collective freedoms, maintain public order and protect people and property. These missions are sometimes difficult and are often carried out in tense conditions.
In the context of the football match between RC Strasbourg and Maccabi Haifa FC, the Prefect of the East Region, recognizing that "some supporters are politicized or identified as the cause of anti-Semitism", and specifying that Maccabi Haifa supporters FC are limited to 600 among the 27000 expected spectators, has, at first, published this morning a decree to ensure public order:
- "Prohibits any person claiming to be a supporter of, or behaving as, a supporter of Maccabi Haifa, to drive or park on public roads on the tracks and perimeters (defined below)
- Supporters of Maccabi Haifa FC going to the stadium of Meinau must present themselves at the counter "visitors"... without ostentatious sign.
- The possession and transportation of any national flag and banner that are unrelated to the sporting competition is prohibited."
No word in this decree about the call for boycotting the match published on every websites supporting the BDS movement and the de-legitimization of Israel; no word regarding the stadium ban of those "politicized or identified supporters as the origin of manifestations of anti-Semitism" (we can only assume that they are not supporters of Maccabi Haifa FC).
This Prefectural decree gives the feeling that instead of protecting all spectators and supporters, the Prefect of the East Region gave up toward the intimidation of small groups calling for violence and made the choice to make invisible any victims of antisemitic aggression or anti-Israeli. Activists and pro-BDS sites are pleased.
I expressed to the Deputy Minister of the Interior and to the Prefect's Cabinet Director of East Region my total incomprehension about this decision. I told them about the anger and growing concern of the French Jews about the effective struggle against the movements that stubbornly and obsessively hate and de-legitimize Israel, call for a boycott and are, as we know, responsible in the rise of antisemitism in our country.
The Prefect's Cabinet Director informed me that a new decree would be issued in the afternoon, including the removal of the ban on national flags and signs of support for both teams.