Toulouse anti-racism rally features anti-Zionism chants

(JTA) — Participants in a march against anti-Semitism and other racism in the French city of Toulouse hurled anti-Zionist insults at Jewish fellow demonstrators.

Some of the insults were directed at Nicole Yardeni, who heads the local chapter of the CRIF umbrella group of Jewish communities, during the march on Saturday by 2,000 people. The march was organized by a gay group, Arc-en-Ciel, following the spraying of anti-Semitic and anti-gay slogans in several locales last week in Toulouse.

At one point, a group of demonstrators started chanting “Yardeni, get lost” and “CRIF, fascists, Zionists, get lost.”

The Jewish participants were “absolutely unprepared for such a reception,” Yardeni told the French news agency AFP. ”Jews are now being chased away from a demonstration against anti-Semitism.”

Demonstration organizers said they regretted the chants.

“We are deeply disturbed by what happened,” said Noemie Henry, a president of Arc-en-Ciel.

Also in Toulouse on Saturday, some 400 protesters demonstrated a few miles from where the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala was performing at the Zennith Theater. City officials did not permit the demonstration opposite the building, the France 3 television channel reported, and police were on hand to check that everyone entering the theater had a ticket to prevent disturbances by anti-Dieudonne infiltrators.

Dieudonne has used his shows to air anti-Semitic views.

The protest was organized by CRIF and the LICRA anti-racism watchdog.

The France 3 report showed young men leaving the theater performing the quenelle, a quasi-Nazi gesture that Dieudonne invented and labeled anti-establishment, but which many French Jews and politicians believe is anti-Semitic.

 

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