Tunisian Scouting movement bars French Jews from interfaith meeting


(JTA) — Organizers of an interfaith meeting in Tunisia among members of the Scouting movement disinvited French Jewish delegates following pressure by promoters of boycotts against Israel.

The two delegates of the International Forum of Jewish Scouts were excluded from the meeting held last week in the resort town of Hammamet for members of the youth movement from around the world. Titled “Interfaith Dialogue Ambassadors,” the event brought together 150 participants from 24 countries.

But the French Jews who traveled there to participate in the event were asked to leave, Francis Kalifat, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, wrote in an open letter of complaint to Abdelaziz Rassaa, Tunisia’s ambassador to France.

The treatment of the two Jewish delegates at an event that “purports to bring closer people of various religions,” he wrote, “seriously tarnishes the image of tolerance and openness that Tunisia wishes to transmit.”

The organizers’ decision to bar the Jewish delegates, who are not Israeli citizens, follows protests online by anti-Israel groups.

TACBI, the local branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel published a statement Nov. 6 about it.

“The Tunisian Campaign for Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel has learned that the Tunisian Scouts have invited an international Zionist organization, ‘The International Forum of Jewish Scouts,’” to the event, they wrote. TACBI “strongly condemns the disguised normalization operation carried out by the Tunisian Scouts.”

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