Saturday, 29 Feb 2020 - 4 of Adar, 5780

French President Macron in Jerusalem: ‘Denying the right of the State of Israel to exist is a modern version of antisemitism’

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The French president said: ”As I promised you, Mr President, I came to Israel to represent France at the World Holocaust Forum and to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau together. I came for Israel, for what the Shoah represents and for the memory of the Holocaust, to join you in the important statement against antisemitism. We see the dark shadow of antisemitism spreading across Europe and France and this is a sign that this is a very serious disease.”

French President Emmanuel Macron stated that denying the right of the State of Israel to exist is a modern version of antisemitism.

He made the statement on Wednesday as he spoke with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the presidential residence in Jerusalem.

Macron, who is visiting Jerusalem on the occasion of the 5th World Holocaust Forum marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp,  wished to recall ‘’France’s commitment in the fight against antisemitism.’’

The president said: As I promised you, Mr President, I came to Israel to represent France at the World Holocaust Forum and to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau together. I came for Israel, for what the Shoah represents and for the memory of the Holocaust, to join you in the important statement against antisemitism. We see the dark shadow of antisemitism spreading across Europe and France and this is a sign that this is a very serious disease.”

Macron spoke about France’s efforts to combat antisemitism, saying “I will continue, committed and active, to fight against all forms of antisemitism, against racism and hatred and against those who divide our society.”

He continued: ”We decided to talk about the issue of anti-Zionism as antisemitism in a direct and clear way. Anti-Zionism is not different from antisemitism.” He added that ”this  does not mean we cannot disagree. Clearly, between friends there are disagreements. But there is no doubt that today, denying the right of the State of Israel to exist is a modern version of antisemitism. Therefore, we took a decision and we will continue to take legal decisions in order to fight hatred, racism and antisemitism in every way possible.”

“We will continue with the same determination and we will fight against anti-Semitism, against any hate speech that divides our society and denies the very foundations,” he added.

President Rivlin for his part thanked Paris for its action against the scourge of antisemitism but noted that “anti-Semitism and racism are still present in France and throughout the world”.

“Antisemites have recently sought refuge in anti-Zionism. Like other democracies, the state of Israel is open to criticism, but we will not allow our right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state in our homeland to be undermined,” Rivlin said.

Addressing the Iranian issue, President Macron insisted on reassuring his Israeli counterpart and said that “France will remain committed to the fact that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons.’’

“We spoke this morning with the Prime Minister on the question of Iran and France will be inflexible on the nuclear field,” he added.

Rivlin insisted that Iran continued to expand in Lebanon, and that “the Hezbollah terrorist organization acquires weapons and missiles of high precision”, risking dragging Beirut “in a war that will bring destruction and catastrophe with it. ”

“In the current context, France is determined that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, but also that we avoid all military escalation in the region,” Macron responded.

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