French Jews accuse ’embassy employee’ in Tunisia of hate speech

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A man who is said to be employed by France’s embassy in Tunisia claimed his Facebook account had been hacked following the publication of anti-Semitic comments made under his name, including one about Adolf Hitler’s failure to “finish the job.”

Selim Dakhlaoui, whose Facebook account identifies him as a ”consulting agent” for the embassy, on Thursday wrote “watch out, my account has been hijacked” a day after the French-language blog The Inglourious Basterds presented copies of anti-Israel messages made under his name, as well as the sentence about Hitler, which has been decried as as anti-Semitic.

In October, a comment that read, “Soon it will be the end of Israel” appeared under Dakhlaoui’s name, followed by an icon of a missile. A week later, the same account displayed the message: “Go to hell, Israel.” Earlier this year, it featured comment reading “Hitler didn’t finish the job” in a discussion about Israel’s alleged involvement in Islamist terrorism.

The comments have since been removed and Dakhlaoui’s account had been renamed: “Selim Dakhlaoui — new profile.” It was then taken offline altogether.

The embassy has not reacted publicly to the publication on Wednesday of the remarks that appeared on Dakhlaoui’s Facebook account.

That day, CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, posted about Dakhlaoui on its Facebook page and urged the embassy to react.

“This is a hateful comment, just like the ones we see too often on social media. Except this one was authored by an employee of the embassy of France in Tunisia. We anxiously await their reaction!” The post also noted that speaking favorably about a crime against humanity is forbidden under French law, punishable by up to five years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Embassy spokesperson Gurvan le Bras told JTA Thursday the embassy is aware of the reports and would react in the near future. He  replied neither to JTA’s request for a reaction on the comments attributed to Dakhlaoui nor on whether he is indeed on the embassy’s payroll.

The authors of the Inglourious Basterds blog mocked Dakhlaoui’s claim that his account had been hijacked. “Selim is entering stage 2 of 4 stages: Feigned indifference; Denial; Feigned regret; Relapse. We’ll catch up with him when he reaches stage 4.”

Last year, a report about anti-Semitic statements on Facebook on the same blog led to the dismissal of a Kuwaiti citizen from her internship at the French consulate in New York. She was also suspended from the Sciences Po University in Paris for the same statements.

She wrote about Jews: “You don’t belong anywhere in this world — that’s why you guys are scums and rats and discriminated against wherever you are. Do not blame it on the poor Palestinians.”

In response to being accused of racism, Jumaa wrote: “First of all you dispersed rat, I am not an immigrant from France. I am from Kuwait so my country can buy you and your parents and put you in ovens.”

Earlier this month, the Sciences Po University agreed to readmit Jumaa, who is under disciplinary review for the hateful remarks. Sciences Po allowed Jumaa to continue to study at the institution while its disciplinary board, which had suspended Jumaa last year, decides on her appeal of the sanctions.

The Sciences Po chapter of the Union of Jewish Students of France, or UEJF, protested the move in a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page titled “No to readmitting an anti-Semitic student.”