Speaking to the Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) during his last address to that body as president, Hollande said, “We all know the solution for peace in the Middle East: two states living peacefully side by side...Without a Palestinian state, there will be no peace, and the solution will never be imposed by the international community," said Hollande.
“Criticism of Israel is legitimate, but anti-Zionism isn’t. It is anti-Semitism in disguise," stated Hollande.
Hollande’s comments join a list of global leaders who have reiterated their support for a Palestinian state in the wake of US President Donald Trump apparent backtracking from traditional American policy last week during a joint press conference with Prime Miniser Binyamin Netanyahu.
Despite France’s continued support for the two-state solution, Sammy Revel, Head of Bureau of the European Division in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised Hollande for sending a “clear message against boycott and against anti-Israel incitement."
These statements follow on the heels of diplomatic tension between Israel and France last month over theParis Peace Conference, convened by Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, while Israel promoted direct negotiations with the Palestinians.
At the same time, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s slammed Hollande’s statement during the conference that Palestinian terrorists and Israeli settlements equally threatened the two-state solution.
Hollande’s also spoke about far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who according to latest polls appears to be making a strong run at the premiership in May. “France will not permit obscurantism and will never give in to extremism," said Hollande.
Le Pen was criticized several weeks ago after she said that if elected president she would move to prohibit “extra-European dual citizenship."
Asked by journalist Léa Salamé about Israel, currently home to more than 200,000 French immigrants with dual citizenship, Le Pen said “Israel is not a European country and doesn’t consider itself as such."
Hollande also emphasized the importance of the relationship between French Jewry and Israel, and vowed that France “would know how to make choices worthy of her greatness."
Article reprinted with permission by TPS.