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Published on 11 December 2017

#France - French PM: Antisemitism in France has deep roots and "new masks"

Philippe’s remarks, which were unusual for his acknowledgment of the phenomenon’s depth in his country, came Sunday during a speech before approximately 700 participants in the eight annual conference of the Crif umbrella group of French Jewish communities.

Publié le 11 décembre 2017 dans The Jerusalem Post

Amid attacks in Europe on Jews following the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe condemned antisemitism “that always tries to justify itself with new pretext,” and which he said has deep roots in France.

“In our country, antisemitism is alive. It is not new, it is ancient. It is not superficial, it is well-rooted and it is alive. And it hides always behind new masks, attempts to justify itself through diverse reasons. This ideology of hate is here, it’s present and it’s making some French Jews to make aliyah,” Philippe said, using the Hebrew word for immigration by Jews to Israel. “It should be a spiritual choice but it pains all citizens of the republic when it’s a form of self exile, made out of insecurity and fear.”

Following President Donald Trump’s declaration Wednesday on Jerusalem, a kosher restaurant was attacked in the Netherlands by a Palestinian waving his national flag, and 20 men hurled firebombs at a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden. In Paris and Lyon, protesters against the declaration promoted a boycott of Israel, which is illegal in France, and cheered and called for freedom for Palestinians convicted of murder charges who are in Israeli prisons.

Philippe also reported that antisemitic attacks in France had dropped by 20 percent this year over 2016, with a total of 216 incidents between January and October of 2017. On Trump’s recognition, which France opposes, Philippe said: “No one can deny the attachment of the Jewish people to Jerusalem.” But, he added, peace between Israel and the Palestinians must be “negotiated on the basis of international laws,” and this makes France “worried about unilateral decisions of any country.”

[...]

Crif President Francis Kalifat echoed Netanyahu’s words on Jerusalem in defending his organization’s calls on Macron to follow Trump’s example, which Kalifat said “disturbed some true friends” of CRIF.

“Jerusalem has been for the past 3,000 years the spiritual capital of the Jewish people. Jews all over the world form four corners of world have kept Jerusalem at the heart of their prayers,” he said. “France did not wait till the conflict is resolved before it opened its consulate in east Jerusalem, to represent France vis-a-vis the Palestinian Authority.”

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French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Crif President Francis Kalifat

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