CRIF’s Prasquier sues French Jewish Defense League over photo caption

(JTA) — A French Jewish leader is suing France’s Jewish Defense League, the LDJ, for claiming he forgave the Palestinian Authority president for killing Israeli children.

Richard Prasquier, president of the CRIF Jewish umbrella group, said he would sue the LDJ over a caption appearing on its website last week. The caption accompanied a photo of Prasquier from 2011 in which he is smiling and shaking hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The caption reads, “Richard Prasquier forgiving Mahmoud Abbas, killer of 21 children and three adults at Ma’alot."

A number of Israeli figures have accused Abbas of helping to plan the 1974 massacre of schoolchildren in Ma’alot, in northern Israel; the basis for the accusation is unclear.

In 2005, protests organized by Safed Mayor Yishai Mimoun prevented Abbas from visiting the city of his birth. Mimoun, who was held hostage at the school, said Abbas was responsible for the attack.

“Such an ignoble attack on my honor … is unacceptable,” Prasquier wrote this week in a statement about the photo and caption. “Dialogue does not mean forgiveness.”

Prasquier also said he used his meeting with Abbas to raise “criticisms.”

Amnon Cohen, an LDJ spokesman, told JTA that a lawsuit by Prasquier would be “baseless because what we said is within the limits of legitimate criticism. No one asked Mr. Prasquier to meet Abbas, and we may criticize that if we like.”

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