JERUSALEM, Israel – French lawmakers passed a draft resolution on Tuesday declaring hatred of the State of Israel a form of anti-Semitism.
The resolution passed 154-72 in the lower house of France’s National Assembly.
“For some years now, France, the whole of Europe, but also almost all Western democracies are facing a rise in antisemitism,” the resolution states. “Anti-Zionist acts can at times hide antisemitic realities. Hate toward Israel due to its perception as a Jewish collective is akin to hatred toward the entire Jewish community.”
— Assemblée nationale (@AssembleeNat) December 3, 2019
The resolution was introduced by lawmaker Sylvain Maillard of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling LREM centrist party. Maillard told France’s La Croix newspaper that “dirty Zionist” means “dirty Jew” today in France.
The resolution also calls on other European Union countries to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
IHRA states that manifestations of anti-Semitism “might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.” IHRA also defines anti-Semitism as holding all Jews responsible for Israel’s actions and comparing Israeli policy to Nazi Germany.
“The National Assembly… believes that the operational definition used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance allows for the most precise designation of what contemporary anti-Semitism is,” the resolution reads. “It considers it an effective instrument for combating anti-Semitism in its modern and renewed form, in that it encompasses manifestations of hatred toward the State of Israel justified solely by the perception of the latter as a Jewish collective.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz applauded the decision.
“The adoption of the resolution confirms President Macron's remarks that anti-Zionism is the new face of anti-Semitism. I call on other countries to follow in France’s footsteps,” Katz said in a statement on Twitter.
I welcome the decision of the French parliament to adopt the definition of anti-Semitism of @TheIHRA.
The adoption of the resolution confirms President Macron's remarks that anti-Zionism is the new face of anti-Semitism.
I call on other countries to follow in France’s footsteps
— Israel Katz (@Israel_katz) December 3, 2019
Crif , France’s main Jewish group, welcomed the decision.
“This vote is above all a step forward for France, which joins the group of 20 countries that have adopted the challenge of the IHRA. It is a necessary step to strengthen the fight against this evil which represents more than 50% of the racist acts in our country,” Crif head Francis Kalifat said.
The resolution was very controversial and was debated for weeks in France’s parliament.
The Jerusalem Post reports that 39 organizations wrote a letter in October arguing that anti-Semitism should not be defined separately from other forms of racism and bigotry. The letter also said the measure silences critics of Israel.
The resolution comes at a time of increased anti-Semitism in France.
Earlier this year, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that anti-Semitic attacks increased by 74 percent in 2018.
He said the total number of recorded anti-Semitic acts rose to 541 in 2018 from 311 in 2017.
"Anti-Semitism is spreading like poison," the minister said.
Frederik Rogge, Chargé d'Affaires of the French Embassy in Israel, said at a recent Jerusalem Post conference in Jerusalem that France is taking steps to combat anti-Semitism on the internet and in the educational system.
"At the highest level of the French state our position is absolutely clear that we need to fight against anti-Semitism and that the French Jewish population is a part of the French nation," Rogge said.
Meyer Habib, a lawmaker from the Union of Democrats Party in France’s parliament warned his fellow countrymen about the affect anti-Semitism has on the entire country.'
“The new antisemitism is flourishing on the background of hatred of Israel, Islamism and conspiracy theories,” said Habib. “I am concerned for Jews but I am mainly worried about France… Do I need to remind you of the slogans of the yellow vest [protesters]? ‘Macron equals Rothschild equals Zion,’ ‘Macron is a whore of the Jews.’ Wake up!”