Montpellier mayor urged not to hang Palestinian flag


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The president of France’s Jewish communities urged the mayor of Montpellier to abandon plans to place a Palestinian flag across city hall.

Flying the Palestinian flag “would be a mistake” that would “go against the decision of the international community," said Richard Prasquier, the president of CRIF, the umbrella organization of France’s Jewish communities.

Montpellier flies the country flag of each of its twin cities. In March, Mayor Helene Mandroux of the French Socialist Party signed a twin city agreement with Bethlehem. Montpellier has been twinned with Tiberias since 1983.

Prasquier, who visited Montpellier on June 5, said during a news conference that CRIF supported the creation of a Palestinian state, but only after resolving the status of Jerusalem, refugees and other core issues. Any other course of action, he said, would destabilize the principles agreed upon in the Oslo Accords.

Until the creation of the Palestinian state, Prasquier proposed that Montpellier fly the flag of Bethlehem, not the Palestinian flag. 

Prasquier praised the Montpellier municipality for not allowing performances by Dieudonne, a French comedian and founder of the Anti-Zionist Party. Dieudonne has been convicted a number of times of hate speech because of anti-Semitic statements.

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