“The day will come and France will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at the right time” during peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Macron said at the annual dinner hosted by the CRIF, an umbrella group of French Jewish organizations, whose leaders questioned the president about fighting anti-Semitism online and recent attacks on French Jews or Jewish sites.
The statements came after the head of the CRIF asked Macron to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“It would not be honest on my part to make you happy for one evening with such a declaration,” he retorted.
“I told my friend Donald Trump that he made a mistake when he made this unilateral declaration about recognition of Jerusalem. It doesn’t help for a solution to the conflict,” he insisted, much to the disappointment of some of his listeners.
Following the example of the Trump administration on the matter, he argued, would only result in France relinquishing “our status as a fair mediator, the only status that benefits the region in the current situation.”
This status, Macron said, was not one that the United States could any longer profess to possess, adding that his country still supported the concept of “two states for two peoples” to end the intractable conflict.
“Only dialogue will bring about a solution, not decisions in Washington or Paris,” he concluded on the matter before shifting his focus to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“There are some people who try to use the Israel-Palestinian conflict to justify anti-Semitism,” Macron told the diners.
“The boycotting of Israel and Jewish goods is not legal in France and we will prosecute and punish anyone who violates the law,” he promised.
Regarding Iran and its continued development of ballistic missiles, Macron assured his audience that he was taking action to put a stop to it.
“France is taking action against ballistic (missile) activities by Iran in the region together with its partners, the UK and the US. I hold long conversations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” he said.
He also emphasized that “the security of Israel is not a subject of negotiation” and stressed that he favors dialogue “with everyone, including with Iran.”
The spike in anti-Semitic incidents in the country was also a key subject of discussion. “We realized that traditional anti-Semitism is still alive and exists in France and need to admit that this constitutes a failure for us,” he went on.
“On this matter our response has to be unforgiving. France will not be itself if Jewish citizens are required to leave because they are scared.”
He also promised to continue to protect Jewish schools, kindergartens and community institutions and to formulate a new government-backed program to expunge anti-Semitism from the internet.
In a bid to counter the incidents, he said that legislation would be promoted in the European parliament that would force online companies to remove anti-Semitic and racist expressions from the web.