All campaigns to boycott Israeli products have been condemned by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has accused activists of creating a “campaign of hatred” inside France.
“I tell you here clearly: we condemn all campaigns of boycott against Israeli products,” he told the French parliament Thursday in response to a question from MP Meyer Habib on the anti-Israeli campaigns driven under the banner of the BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) which are backed by the majority including Socialist MPs.
The French Supreme Court upheld a judgment in October condemning BDS activists who had called for a boycott of Israeli products, as Breitbart London reported. In his question Mr. Habib lamented that calls for a boycott persist in France.
“The boycott creates a climate of hatred in France. Have we forgotten that in January it was a kosher supermarket that was targeted? It stigmatises before killing,” said Mr. Habib, who represents French citizens living abroad including in Israel.
“There is no sense in these campaigns and therefore the French government from this point of view is very clear,” the prime minister said in his response, adding that his government would take “all necessary measures to condemn these campaigns.”
Breitbart Jerusalem has reported on the BDS campaign and the outrage sparked by the European Union’s decision to label Israeli goods made in eastern Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank.
Following the Paris terrorist attacks, some condemned Europe for being obsessed with boycotting Israel instead of fighting terrorists.
In an op-ed on the Paris massacre, David Suissa, president of the Jewish Journal, wrote: “Europe will need a lesson in the priorities of labeling. Label the terrorists, yes. Label their ideology, yes. Label the allies who can help you fight them, yes. Just stop labeling Israeli tomatoes.”
For Mr. Valls, the BDS campaign itself is driving a wedge through French society. He said: “There are too often in a number of initiatives behind legitimate criticism of the policy of the State of Israel anti-Zionism that switches to anti-Semitism.
“Israel is a democracy and fight against terrorism,’’ the prime minister continued, recalling France’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: condemnation of colonization, imperative need for dialogue, two states living side by side with recognized borders.
In retaliation for the wider European boycott measures, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the suspension of diplomatic contacts with the institutions and representatives of the European Union (EU) on the peace process with the Palestinians.
The simmering tensions in Europe over the boycott of Israel in general and its products in particular have crossed to the performing arts. As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, leading celebrity boycotter, Roger Waters, attended a conference hosted by Israel’s left-wing Haaretz newspaper in New York earlier this week, triggering dismayed reactions from an angry Israeli public.
Mr. Waters, the former bassist for the legendary band Pink Floyd, appeared in selfies alongside various Israeli journalists including Channel 2 anchor Amit Segal and Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev. The latter tweeted the selfie with the caption, “Boycott/shmoycott, no Pink Floyd addict can resist the thrill of meeting Roger Waters.”
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the Czech parliament’s lower house called on the government Thursday to ignore EU rules on labelling goods from Israeli settlements, joining Hungary in breaking ranks over the divisive regulations.
The Czech Assembly said new EU guidelines which require the labelling of exports from Israeli settlements in the West Bank were “motivated by a political positioning versus the State of Israel”.
The vote reflected a long and strong trade and diplomatic relationship between Israel and the Czech Republic, particularly since its emergence from communist rule in 1989.
Brussels has said the guidelines, published last month, are purely technical. But Israel branded them “discriminatory” and suspended contacts with EU bodies involved in peace efforts with the Palestinians.
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