French National Assembly
French National Assembly
Photo: Miriam Legard
French National Assembly

French resolution: First victory in long fight against BDS

Opinion: The decision by France's National Assembly to recognize anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism puts a considerable spoke in the wheels of the BDS propaganda machine and will hopefully lead to further actions against the racist anti-Israel movement

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 12.05.19 , 23:25
After months of public discussions and exhausting battles behind the scenes, the French National Assembly made a dramatic decision and adopted the working definition of anti-Semitism that asserts that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.
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  • This definition does not prohibit criticism of Israel, as those opposing it claim, but denying the right of Jews to self-determination - and only Jews of all nations - is anti-Semitic.
    French National AssemblyFrench National Assembly
    French National Assembly
    (Photo: Miriam Legard)
    The resolution passed Wednesday in France was preceded by similar resolutions in the European Parliament and the German Bundestag.
    Contrary to previous decisions, the Assembly's decision was preceded by widespread public debate and campaigns by entities who receive funding from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS).
    Organizations opposing anti-Semitism have also been involved, including the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the Foreign Ministry, local bodies in France and more.
    Full disclosure - I was also invited to the lectures and debates leading up to the National Assembly decision on the resolution.
    The day before the resolution was passed, 127 Jews, including a number of Israelis, published an open letter in the French daily Le Monde opposing the decision. It wasn't much help.
    Of 577 members of the assembly, 154 voted in favor of adopting the definition and 74 voted against.
    154 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill and 72 against154 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill and 72 against
    154 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill and 72 against
    (Photo: Miriam Legard)
    The decision is purely declarative. The resistance to Jews' right to self-determination will continue and there will most likely also be some Jews leading it.
    The truth doesn't always win, but this time at the French National Assembly, it did.
    Even if it's essentially only a symbolic move, it has great significance because the main problem is the funding that the European Union and countries such as Germany and France give to organizations that support BDS.
    This decision in France will empower those who oppose such funding.
    This racist and anti-Zionist campaign is a problem for Europe and France because it is led by the red-green coalition of the Islamists and the radical left.
    This coalition, which has a stranglehold grip on academic and media circles, is one of the main causes of the radicalization of Islam, which ultimately harms the Europeans themselves.
    When Israel is presented as a monster, as an apartheid state, as a perpetrator of genocide, there are Muslims who believe these lies. They vent their rage in France and blame the French authorities for cooperating with what they believe is a monster.
    This new definition of anti-Semitism makes it clear that just as the demonization of Jews is anti-Semitism, so is the demonization of Israel or likening it to the Nazis. This is exactly what the opponents of the resolution do.
    This is not about freedom of speech, as they claim, but primarily about spreading lies and mouthing off anyone who tries to refute these lies. This is exactly what all these boycott promoters do.
    The first phase has succeeded in France, but the more important battle is the one for European public opinion and the cessation of funding for entities involved in this campaign of demonization.

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