A municipality near Paris named a street for the “nakba” — an Arab-language word that means “catastrophe” and which many Palestinian Arabs use to denote Israel’s creation.

The mayor of the municipality of Bezons in the northwestern Paris region, Dominique Lesparre, unveiled the sign for Nakba Alley on Monday. Under Lesparre, who is a communist politician, the municipality also declared David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, a “war criminal” for allegedly “deporting” hundreds of thousands of Arabs.

Some 700,000 Arabs left what is today Israel in 1947 and 1948 amid a war fought by Arab militias and later seven Arab armies against Israel following its declaration of independence. Many Arabs left their homes on orders from their leaders, who promised they would return swiftly following victory of Israel’s army, while most others left to avoid being caught in the crossfire of battle.

Francis Kalifat, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, called the declaration and the street sign “false declarations, shockingly irresponsible and dangerous. They encourage anti-Semitic violence, which is now given false historical justification,” he wrote in a statement.