French parliament to vote on whether hate of Israel is anti-Semitic


(JTA) — The lower house of France’s parliament is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution that calls hate of Israel a form of anti-Semitism.

The 577 members of the National Assembly are set to vote Tuesday on the draft, which also calls on the government to join other European nations in adopting the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

The IHRA definition states that some forms of vitriol against Israel, including comparing it to Nazi Germany, are examples of anti-Semitism, though criticizing Israel’s policies is not.

Lawmaker Sylvain Maillard of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling LREM centrist party with his draft resolution has touched off weeks of debates in the French media.

In October, 39 organizations wrote an open letter to National Assembly President Richard Ferrand warning against passing the resolution. The letter argued against a separate definition of anti-Semitism, as it would “weaken the universalist approach” to combating all forms of racism” and compromise “defense of freedom of expression and assembly for groups and activists that must be allowed to defend the rights of Palestinians and criticize Israel’s policy without being falsely accused of anti-Semitism.”

Among its co-signatories was Malik Salemkour, president of France’s Human Rights League, an organization founded in 1898 to fight the anti-Semitic persecution and show trial of the French-Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus.

Maillard defended the draft, telling La Croix that in France today, saying “dirty Zionist” … “means ‘dirty Jew.’”

The draft denounces “hate toward Israel justified only by its perception as a Jewish collective.”

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