France to vote on whether hate of Israel is anti-Semitic

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 IHRA, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

The 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 touched off with his draft resolution weeks of debates about it in the French media.

In October, 39 organizations wrote an open letter to National Assembly President Richard Ferrand warning against passing the resolution, arguing 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,” read the letter.

Among its cosignatories 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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