Paris lawmaker calls to cancel festival day celebrating Tel Aviv


(JTA) — A Paris City Council member called for the cancellation of a city festival day dedicated to Tel Aviv.

Danielle Simonnet, a left-wing lawmaker, has objected to the celebration of an Israeli city during the weeklong Paris Plages festival, which turns the banks of the Seine River into a beach and this year is devoting a day to a beach in another country. On Thursday, the food, music and activities will be devoted to Tel Aviv culture.

On Monday in an interview on French Inter radio, Simonnet called instead for turning the day into “a peace protest, in support of fraternity, in support of the fight against all forms of racism and anti-Semitism, and to back recognition of the Palestinian state.”

Simonnet, who for the last seven years has represented the French capital’s 20th district – which has a large Arab population – said the daylong festival “sends a very bad message.”

She also said, “For the Israeli government, this is a nice bit of PR that Paris is serving up on a plate.”

The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, on Sunday condemned Simonnet for her calls to cancel the event and said the city’s mayor should not yield to her pressure.

The pro-Palestinian group CAPJPO-Europalestine has called for protests of the event if it is not canceled.

BNVCA, an anti-Semitism watchdog, said it has asked the Paris police commissioner to bolster security during the festival day devoted to Tel Aviv out of fear of anti-Semitic attacks.

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