The French National Assembly has passed a bill on Tuesday which rules that anti-Zionism is a modern form of anti-Semitism, with 154 lawmakers voting in favor of the bill while 72 voted against.
The bill has undergone several changes in recent months in the light of a heated public debate on the matter, and has been softened and approved as a declarative decision only, and not as part of the country's penal code.
The bill was promoted following a host of anti-Semitic acts committed in France over the past year, including 107 tombstones that were vandalized on Tuesday in a Jewish cemetery near the eastern city of Strasbourg.
French President Emmanuel Macron has pushed a similar notion back in February this year
"Anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism," the French leader said in Paris at a dinner of Jewish umbrella organization CRIF. "Behind the negation of Israel's existence, what is hiding is the hatred of Jews."
The bill was due in May, but despite Macron's public statement, the voting on the bill was postponed several times.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz lauded the French parliament's decision to recognize anti-Zionism is a modern form of anti-Semitism.
"I intend on continuing to act for more countries to understand and support the definition of anti-Israelism and hatred of Israel as anti-Semitism," said Katz. "This is an important step in the battle against anti-Semitism and I call for other countries to go in France's footsteps."
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also praised the bill and asked to keep actively acting against the anti-Israeli BDS movement.
"Anti-Semitic content is published under the false cover of political criticism that poisons the discourse and rules out Israel's existence as a Jewish state," said Erdan. "We expect seeing more practical steps on behalf of the French government against the BDS movement and anti-Semitic activists spreading hate against Israel and the Jews in France."
First published: 23:03 , 12.03.19