(JTA) — The head of France’s umbrella of Jewish organizations criticized a left-leaning affiliate body for allegedly refusing to meet a visiting Israeli Cabinet minister.
Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF umbrella body, criticized the Union of Jewish Students of France, or UEJF, for allegedly refusing a request by Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett to meet with UEJF representatives during his visit to France in October, the news site JSSnews.com reported Wednesday.
UEJF, one of France’s most active and prominent Jewish groups, denied claims that it had declined for political reasons to meet Bennett, who heads the rightist Jewish Home party.
“I think they were wrong,” Cukierman said of UEJF. “If they refused to meet him, they were absolutely wrong.”
UEJF President Sacha Reingewirtz told JTA that his group had not refused to meet Bennett. According to JSSnews, Bennett said he was indeed declined an opportunity to meet UEJF students. The website reported the reason cited was that UEJF found Bennett to be an extremist.
On Oct. 31, Reingewirtz wrote on Twitter, “There’s nothing humiliating about refusing to organize meetings for Naftali Bennett.”