29 Jan 2018

France struggles to define antisemitism and anti-Zionism

French intellectuals are being accused of antisemitism when they criticize Israel, but they are pushing back, accusing their detractors of "intellectual terrorism." 

Roxanne D'Arco
Roxanne D'Arco NewsMavens, France
France struggles to define antisemitism and anti-Zionism - NewsMavens
The Sorbonne, Paris, France

Why this story matters:

France has had a complicated history with its Jewish community, as it has with Israel.

Some French politicians, including French President Emmanuel Macron, say there is no difference between anti-zionism and anti-semitism. Since the Paris attacks, more politicians have stepped forward and praised Israel for how it defends itself against terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, historians and specialists have been called anti-Semitic as soon as they publicly stand against Israeli policy.

The country of human rights' must balance the interests of its Jewish and Muslim communities.

France,religion,politics, community

Details from the story:

  • Pascal Boniface, founder and director of the progressive think tank Institute for International and Strategic Research, published a book in January as a response to those accusing him of antisemitism.
  • According to Boniface, "a kind of intellectual terrorism is emerging. Some want to scare people.... A debate is needed about the reasons of this blackmail, a dangerous one since it provokes a 'casual' antisemitism."
  • In February, another French intellectual, Dominique Vidal, will release a book explaining the difference between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. The book will be addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron.
  • Since the terrorist attacks in Toulouse of a Jewish school (2012) and in Paris, against the Hyper Casher supermarket (2015), criticism against Israel has become more and more difficult to express.
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