Protest planned at Paris Holocaust memorial event during Netanyahu visit


PARIS (JTA) — Pro-Palestinian activists called on protesters to crash a Holocaust commemoration ceremony in Paris to protest Benjamin Netanyahu’s attendance there.

The call Friday for protests against the Israeli prime minister appeared on the website Le Muslim Post, urging readers to show up in large numbers at the state Holocaust commemoration ceremony on July 16 at the Vel d’Hiv former stadium, where French police in 1942 rounded up 13,000 Jews for deportation to death camps.

Protesters should come there to demonstrate against Netanyahu for his government’s “treatment of Palestinians in camps, deprived of freedom and liberty of movement,” as the article read. It said unnamed associations were organizing the protests. The article did not say whether the planned protest was approved by police.

The article on the Muslim website described Netanyahu’s planned visit to attend the 75th anniversary of the deportations “a rare opportunity” by the unnamed organizations “to make their voice heard.”

The call for protest followed an assertion by the head of France’s pro-Palestinian lobby that Netanyahu should not attend the Holocaust commemoration ceremony in Paris next week because Jews in pre-state Israel did not save their brethren during the genocide.

Bertrand Heilbronn, president of the France Palestine Solidarity Association, or AFPS, who is Jewish, wrote this in an op-ed that he coauthored with the French-Jewish historian Dominique Vidal and published Monday on the website Mediapart.

Netanyahu, who was invited to attend the 75th anniversary commemoration by French President Emmanuel Macron, should not be present because “Israel didn’t exist at the time and the Jewish community of Palestine, the Yishuv, hat preceded Israel, did nothing to save the persecuted Jews in France or elsewhere,” Heilbronn and Vidal wrote.

The op-ed also speaks of Israel’s “attempt to paint Holocaust victims posthumously as pioneers of the state’s establishment” and describes Netanyahu as “the leader of the Israeli far-right” whose governments have “abandoned Holocaust victims to poverty.”

Inviting Netanyahu would “fuel a strange confusion between the Jewish community of France and Israel” and an “insult to the memory of the victims of the deportation,” the op-ed’s authors wrote.

All of the leaders of the mainstream groups of French Jewry support Zionism and Israel, with CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, describing itself as a Zionist organization. French Jews regularly pray for the safety of Israel’s soldiers in hundreds of synagogues throughout France.

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