(JTA) — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls excoriated a former minister from his party for suggesting that Valls was under Jewish “influence” because his wife is Jewish.
The statements made Monday about Valls and his wife by Roland Dumas, a Socialist former foreign minister, “do nothing to honor the republic,” Valls said the same day during a meeting with regional lawmakers of the Paris region.
In an interview aired on BFMTV, Dumas said about Valls, “He has personal alliances, everyone knows he is married to someone – a distinguished person – who has influence over him.”
Valls is married to Jewish violinist Anne Gravoin, and in 2011 he said during a public appearance that his marriage connected him “in an eternal way” to Israel and the Jewish people. Many French Jews admire Valls for his outspoken opposition to anti-Semitism and executive actions to prevent it.
During the interview about Valls aired Monday, Dumas was asked whether Valls “was under Jewish influence,” to which Dumas replied, “Probably, I would think so.”
The interviewer, Jacques Bourdin, then asked, “Under his wife’s influence?” Dumas replied, “Of course. Why not? Why not say so?”
Dumas’ statement drew condemnations from across the political spectrum in France, many of them accusing him of anti-Semitism.
“Considering Dumas’ openly pro-Palestinian views and hostility to Israel, it is easy to understand how anti-Semitism developed so considerably in our country under the guise of anti-Zionism,” the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism wrote in a statement.
Last year, the disgraced soccer player Nicolas Anelka also said Valls was controlled by his Jewish wife.
Dumas, a close confidant of the late President Francois Mitterrand, in 2013 suggested that Israel was behind the British government’s readiness to strike in Syria and has accused Israelis of controlling French intelligence services.
In 2001, he was found guilty of illegally receiving funds from the oil giant Elf Aquitaine between 1989 and 1992 while serving as foreign minister.