Paris march marks Nakba


A march through Paris marked what Arabs call the Nakba, “the catastrophe” – Israel’s founding.

At least 400 protesters, according to Paris police, marched Saturday to commemorate the day Israel declared its independence in 1948. The protesters chanted slogans such as “Zionists, fascists, you are the terrorists” and called for the right of Palestinians to return to their pre-1948 homes.

The march was sponsored by the French Palestinian Association.

Protesters carried a portrait of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. His Lebanese organization calls for Israel’s destruction.

Few bystanders made the distinction between Israeli government policy and the Jews. Many with origins from former French colonies said they agreed with protest cries such as “Israel – criminal state, America – barbaric state.”

“This is to liberate Palestine against the Jews,” said spectator Daniel Pogno, who was born in Martinique and is a French citizen. “I’m against the Americans, and the Jews are the ones controlling the Palestinians.”

Several native French observers dismissed the protest, saying the issue should not involve France.

Many believe that publicly incriminating Israel at the start of the second intifada in September 2000 helped lead to a rise in anti-Semitic acts against Jews in France over the following four years.

A Jewish observer was worried by the anti-Israel message of protesters.

“If I went out there now and said I was Jewish, I wouldn’t last long,” said Michael Edery, 24, managing a smile.

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