French Prime Minister Warns of Connection Between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionist Movement

Thousands gather in Paris to protest against Israel / AP

Thousands gather in Paris to protest against Israel / AP

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In the wake of violent riots and attacks against Jews in France by critics of Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the assaults and warned of the connection between anti-Semitism and the anti-Zionist movement in Europe:

“Anti-semitism, this old European disease,” [Valls] said in a speech, has taken “a new form. It spreads on the Internet, in our popular neighborhoods, with a youth that has lost its points of reference, has no conscience of history, and who hides itself behind a fake anti-Zionism.”

The occasion was the 72nd anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup—the arrest of 13.000 Jews in Paris, by the French police under German authorities during World War II on the 16th and 17th of July, 1942. […]

The Prime Minister justified his decision to forbid last Saturday’s “anti-israeli” demonstration by stating that the recent acts of violence against Jews “justify the choice to forbid,” and not the other way around, as so many critics had claimed. And without naming Dieudonné, the minister attacked the rancid French performer when he pleaded that “the historical reality of the Shoah should not be denied, or diminished.(…) To laugh at the Shoah is to insult the dead.”

In recent weeks, anti-Zionists protesters have burned down Jewish-owned stores, chanting “Death to the Jews” and “Gas the Jews.” The latest surge of European anti-Semitism has been compared to the wave of anti-Jewish attacks that preceded the Holocaust.

The French government issued a ban on anti-Israel protests in response to the violence last week, although many demonstrators have continued to take to the streets.

French nationalists pushed back against Valls’ comments, arguing that France was not an “accomplice of the Germans” under Nazi reign, Tablet magazine reports:

It didn’t take long for the National Front to take advantage of those contradictions and perversely denounce Valls’s speech for “hatred of France.” “What does it mean to say that France was an accomplice of the Germans?” said Marine Le Pen’s chief advisor, Florian Fillipot. “France was in London,” he added referring to De Gaulle, “and there was an occupied country, not an accomplice. Of course there was a collaboration of sorts, but there were also heroic acts of resistance, and this is something nobody says anymore.”

However, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius echoed Valls’s remarks in a radio interview, condemning the disturbing spike in violence against French Jews.

“Jews in France should not be afraid but many of them are afraid,” said Fabius.

The foreign minister added that the French government would be “extremely firm” against the anti-Semitic outbursts in the country.