Friday, 20 Sep 2019 - 20 of Elul, 5779

France: ‘Yellow vest’ protester who hurled antisemitic abuse at Jewish intellectual gets suspended sentence

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The court found that the insults “appeared to target Alain Finkielkraut as a person of Jewish confession” and that the term “Zionist” was intended “purely and simply to mask the anti-Semitic nature of the remarks.”

PARIS—A French ‘’yellow vest’’ protester who hurled anti-Semitic abuse at a Jewish intellectual was handed a two-month suspended sentence by a Paris court.

The attacker, a 36-year-old man from Mulhouse, in the Alsace region, was convicted of having violated France’s anti-racism laws, which prohibit verbal attacks that are based on religion, ethnicity or race.

The man could be seen on video footage of the incident calling philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, 69, a “Zionist”, a “piece of shit”, and telling him “France belongs to us”.The incident took place during a yellow vest protest in Paris in February.  The insults also included phrases like “Dirty race!” “Dirty Zionist!” “Go back to Tel Aviv!”.

The court found that the insults “appeared to target Alain Finkielkraut as a person of Jewish confession” and that the term “Zionist” was intended “purely and simply to mask the anti-Semitic nature of the remarks.”

At the trial, the convicted attacker rejected accusations of anti-Semitism and said his comments had been motivated by “the Palestinian cause.”

Finkielkraut, who the is son of  Holocaust survivors and a staunch defender of Israel, was initially supportive of the yellow vest movement’s anti-establishment and pro-reform message, but later criticized it because of its violent acts.

The ‘’yellow vest’’ protests began last November over fuel taxes but quickly ballooned into a broader anti-government rebellion, with some using anti-Semitic tropes to refer to Macron’s former job as an investment banker.

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