Event featuring Jewish philosopher nixed amid fears of protests

Paris university cancels conference featuring Jewish philosopher targeted by anti-Semitic harassment recently over threats of protests.

Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA ,

Alain Finkielkraut
Alain Finkielkraut

Organizers canceled a conference at a Paris university featuring an address by Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut following the threat of protests.

“Security is our top priority and it’s preferable to take no risks,” organizers of the event at Sciences Po university wrote Tuesday.

The conference on Europe’s future was to include other speakers, but they were not named in the letter threatening protests. Finkielkraut was accosted recently on a Paris street for being a “Zionist.”

In their statement, the authors of the call to demonstrate outside the conference at Sciences Po wrote: “We cannot accept Finkielkraut’s ‘modern Europe’ and his islamophobic, racist, sexist and homophobic rhetoric.”

The university recently canceled an event on “Israeli apartheid,” which the protesters alleged as showing a pro-Israeli bias by faculty.

Finkielkraut is a centrist thinker who has criticized the far right, as well as Muslim communities and far-left activists, for failing to integrate. A best-selling author, Finkielkraut entered the pantheon of French academia in 2016 when he was admitted into the Academie Francaise, a council of 40 greats elected for life.

A Zionist supporter of Israel, he is a member of the dovish J Call group styled after the J Street lobby in the United States.

In February, police extracted Finkielkraut from a hostile crowd after he was recognized on the street by participants of so-called yellow vests demonstrations over the cost of living. His assailants called him a “dirty Zionist” and told him to “go back to Tel Aviv.”