Macron: France will adopt int'l definition of anti-Semitism

French President denounces anti-Semitism, says "anti-Zionism is one of the forms of modern anti-Semitism."

Elad Benari ,

Emmanuel Macron at CRIF dinner
Emmanuel Macron at CRIF dinner

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday he would have his country adopt a definition of anti-Semitism that mentions hatred of Israel to combat the rising tide of anti-Semitism in his country, JTA reports.

“For the first time in many years, anti-Semitism is killing people again in France,” Macron said at the annual dinner of the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish groups.

He added that French authorities “did not know how to react effectively,” calling this a “failure.”

“Anti-Semitism is hiding itself behind anti-Zionism. I said so in the past: anti-Zionism is one of the forms of modern anti-Semitism,” stressed the French president, as quoted by i24NEWS.

“We are seeing now a new anti-Semitism based on Islamic radicalism. This ideology is taking place in some of our neighborhoods. We have to reconquer these territories,” he continued.

Earlier this month, French authorities reported a 74 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 over the previous year.

Macron told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of the decision on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition in a conversation Wednesday.

The IHRA is an intergovernmental organization promoting education about the Holocaust.

Its definition of anti-Semitism includes classic forms of anti-Semitism, but also offers examples of modern manifestations, such as targeting all Jews as a proxy for Israel, denying Jews the right to a homeland and using historical anti-Semitic images to tarnish all Israelis.

Several countries in Europe have already adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, including Germany, Britain, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

In 2017, the European Parliament voted to adopt a resolution calling on member states and their institutions to apply the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

Lawmakers in France have resisted the definition, however, according to JTA.

Macron’s announcement follows a spate of recent anti-Semitic attacks, including the daubing of swastikas on nearly 100 graves in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France on Tuesday.

Just last week, a memorial in Paris to Ilan Halimi, a French-born Moroccan Jewish man who was murdered in 2006, was desecrated.

Twice last week, swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti were found at multiple locations in Paris, including the window of a bagel shop and mailboxes which featured the portrait of French politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil.

On Tuesday, thousands of demonstrators, including two former French presidents, gathered in cities across France to condemn anti-Semitism.