French resist effort to censor criticism of Zionism

french-resist-effort-to-censor-criticism-of-zionism

05-03-19 11:37:00,

Two men face each other with their hands on a glowing orb, as a woman looks on

French President Emmanuel Macron has received praise from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his vow to crack down on opposition to Zionism. (via Facebook)

There is a pushback in France against President Emmanuel Macron’s speech to a major Israel lobby group last month vowing to criminalize anti-Zionism.

More than 400 intellectuals, artists and activists have signed an open letter to Macron that was published on 28 February in the national newspaper Libération.

“Mr. President, we are French citizens who respect the laws of the republic, but if you adopt a law against anti-Zionism, or if you officially adopt an erroneous definition of anti-Semitism that permits outlawing it, please know that we will break this law with our words, our writing, our art and our acts of solidarity,” the letter states.

“And if you decide to pursue us, to silence us, even to imprison us for that, well, you can come and get us.”

Among the signatories are academics and educators Ariella Azoulay, Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun and Michèle Sibony; filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard, Simone Bitton and Eyal Sivan; writers Nancy Huston and Abdellatif Laabi; and veteran journalist Alain Gresh.

“Anti-Zionism is an opinion, a current of thought born among European Jews at the moment when Jewish nationalism was taking off. It opposes the Zionist ideology that advocated (and still advocates) the installation of the world’s Jews in Palestine, today Israel,” the letter adds.

It notes that the essential argument of anti-Zionism is “that Palestine was never an empty territory that a ‘people without land’ are free to colonize based on a divine promise, but a country populated with real inhabitants for whom Zionism would soon become a synonym for exodus, despoilation and the negation of all their rights.”

During his speech to CRIF, a major Jewish communal organization and pro-Israel group, Macron claimed “anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism” and pledged that France would formally adopt the so-called IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

Supported by the Israel lobby, the definition deliberately conflates criticism of Israel and Zionism on the one hand, with hatred of Jews, on the other.

Macron did not promise a change in the penal code to outlaw anti-Zionist speech,

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