IHRA bullshit takes over french assembly

Most French lawmakers skip vote smearing Palestine activism
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, Dec 4 2019

France’s National Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution conflating support for Palestinian equality with hatred of Jews, an initiative supported by the country’s Israel lobby. But most lawmakers did not take part in the vote. Meanwhile, Wallonia, one of Belgium’s three federal regions, confirmed that it is pulling back on official cooperation with Israel, citing Israeli violations of international law. Fewer than half of the 577 members of France’s lower house were present for Tuesday’s vote. Of those, 154 backed the resolution and 72 opposed it. The so-called Maillard resolution endorses the controversial IHRA definition of anti-Semitism promoted by Israel and its lobby. The National Assembly resolution calls the IHRA definition “an effective tool to combat anti-Semitism” which, it alleges, includes “manifestations of hatred towards Israel justified solely by the perception that it is a Jewish collectivity.” The non-binding resolution urges law enforcement to use the IHRA definition to “uncover and prosecute” supposed instances of anti-Semitism. On Monday, 127 Jewish and Israeli intellectuals published a call in Le Monde urging French lawmakers not to back the resolution, saying:

Our opinions on Zionism may be different, but all of us, even those of us who consider ourselves Zionists, think that associating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is fundamentally wrong. This conflation is profoundly harmful to the numerous Jews who consider themselves anti-Zionist. For Palestinians, it has meant dispossession, displacement, occupation and structural inequality.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of La France Insoumise, announced Monday that his bloc would vote against the resolution, and shared the intellectuals’ statement.

Other lawmakers posted on Twitter that they too would oppose the measure:

The resolution’s sponsor, Sylvain Maillard, is a member of Macron’s République en Marche party. Earlier this year, Macron told CRIF that his government would support efforts to criminalize opposition to Zionism. While the French resolution passed, it clearly failed as an effort to impose a consensus that criticizing Israel’s racist ideology and practices is itself racist or anti-Semitic. Despite official efforts to silence them, activists in France continue to press for accountability, especially their campaign urging insurance giant AXA to divest from firms that aid Israeli human rights violations.

A similar resolution passed by the German parliament in May has been used to justify growing censorship of support for Palestinian equality and human rights. The EU is also working closely with Israel lobby groups to institutionalize the IHRA definition in an effort to stamp out activism for Palestinian human rights. But campaigners on the continent appear undeterred. Activists in Belgium last week celebrated victory after a trade delegation to Israel was canceled.

Officials from the Wallonia and Brussels regions had been scheduled to travel to Israel this month to promote Belgian exports. The campaign group Association Belgo-Palestinienne said that mobilizing its members to oppose the mission produced results: Official participation in the junket has been called off. Elio di Rupo, a former Belgian prime minister who is now premier of the Wallonia region, confirmed to state broadcaster RTBF that no officials would take part in the trip. Di Rupo said:

The absence of progress in the peace process, the lack of progress on the ground and the violation by Israel of the Geneva Conventions push us to hold back on official cooperation.

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