(JTA) — A former French government minister said Germany “took our Jews and gave us Arabs,” then walked back the comment.
Patrick Devedjian, a right-wing politician who served in the governments of presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, made the comments Friday at a news conference as France began taking in Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country, the French news agency AFP reported.
Devedjian, who is from an Armenian family, later wrote on his Twitter account, “My humorous jest was misplaced.”
France has said it will take in 24,000 refugees over the next two years. Germany is expected to take in 800,000 asylum seekers this year, far more than any European country.