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French Jewish groups are criticizing the warm reception in Paris for Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

The Jewish community umbrella group CRIF joined other French political and civil organizations in criticizing French President Nicolas Sarkozy for hosting the Libyan president, who is in Paris this week for the first time in 34 years.

CRIF President Richard Prasquier said France’s sale of Rafale fighter planes to Libya was unacceptable because the planes could be used against Israel.

He also questioned a Mediterranean Union project to unify the region that was proposed by Sarkozy and supported by Libya.

“Gadhafi wants a Mediterranean Union without Israel,” Prasquier said. “We cannot imagine that President Sarkozy would agree to such a thing. Gadhafi does not recognize Israel while Sarkozy has been outspoken in his support, more so than any other French president.”

Sarkozy has argued that because Gadhafi has officially abandoned sponsoring terrorism and developing illegal weapons, France should encourage him down the road of international respectability. But French opposition groups on the left are calling the five-day visit a farce because of Gadhafi’s poor human rights record.

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