In a major address on Wednesday night, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country will adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism to combat rising levels of anti-Jewish hate, Ben Cohen reported in The Algemeiner.
Speaking at the annual dinner of the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF, Macron said: “For the first time in many years, antisemitism is killing people again in France.” He vowed that, in response, the country would “draw new red lines.”
The French president also equated anti-Zionism — the belief that Jews have no right to an independent state in any part of their ancestral homeland — with anti-Semitism. “We must name the evil: antisemitism is hiding behind the mask of anti-Zionism,” he explained.
Macron observed that concern over rising levels of anti-Semitism across the continent had, in the recent past, generated “too much indignation, too many words, not enough results.”
“The time has come for acts,” he said.
French authorities revealed last week that the number of anti-Semitic acts in the country soared in 2018, jumping a whopping 74% compared to the previous year. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner decried the “poison” of hate that is seeping into French society as he revealed that the total number of recorded anti-Semitic acts, which rose from 311 in 2017 to 541 in 2018.
In his remarks to the audience, CRIF president Francis Kalifat noted that “in 2018 as in previous years, French Jews were insulted, harassed, threatened, robbed, assaulted or beaten because they were Jews.”
Kalifat previously voiced his frustration over a lack of action to combat anti-Semitism in France. “When I asked political leaders and party officials what they thought about the [IHRA] definition and if they would adopt it, they said it would be a good idea, but I haven’t heard anything since,” he said.
“Our hope is to see this definition integrated into French law. Today, the main vector for antisemitism is anti-Zionism and this definition states clearly that anti-Zionism isn’t just criticism against Israel.”
Praising Macron’s move to adopt the IHRA definition, a spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister said the definition “determines that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism.”
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