A former French foreign minister accused France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls of being under Jewish influence Monday, pointing to Valls’ marriage to a Jewish woman.
Valls is not his “cup of tea,” Roland Dumas said in an interview to France’s BFMTV, explaining that the prime minister once attacked him for his opposition to Israel’s policies and his support of the Palestinian cause.
“He has personal alliances, everyone knows that he’s married to someone who has an influence on him,” Dumas said, referring to Valls’s wife Anne Gravoin, who is Jewish.
Asked by the interviewer, Jacques Bourdin, whether he thinks whether Valls — who is very popular in France’s Jewish community for his frank condemnations of anti-Semitism and Islamic extremism — is “under Jewish influence,” Dumas replied: “Probably. Everyone is under some influence… I can think so, so why not say it?”
Several French politician criticized Dumas’ comments.
Claude Bartolone, the president of the National Assembly, tweeted that he was “repulsed” by Dumas’ comment, adding that they “reveal an ordinary anti-Semitism” and delusional conspiracy theories.
Also Dominique Bussereau, a member of parliament and former minister from the center-right UMP party, indicated that he considers Dumas’ statement anti-Semitic. It is “inadmissible” and a scandal, he wrote on Twitter. “What a shipwreck!”
Both Valls and Dumas, who served as France’s foreign minister from 1988 to 1993, are members of the country’s ruling Socialist Party.
In 2011, Valls explicitly linked his pro-Jewish views to his Gravoin, a prominent violinist, saying his marriage connected him “in an eternal way” to Israel and the Jewish people.
Valls and Gravoin wed in 2010, the second marriage for Valls. The couple’s Paris wedding reception was, according to a report in Elle magazine, a “happy mix of men wearing kippas from Manhattan and Paris, and [local] imams.”
In the aftermath of last month’s deadly attack on the HyperCacher supermarket in Paris, Valls tried to reassure the country’s Jewish community of the government’s commitment to safeguard Jewish institution and to fight Islamic terrorism.
He repeated the call Monday, two days after a member of the Jewish community of Copenhagen was killed and one day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on European Jews to move to Israel.
“My message to French Jews is the following: France is wounded with you and France does not want you to leave,” he said.
French President Francois Hollande made a similar call.
Valls also spoke out against the desecration of some 100 tombstones in a Jewish cemetery in the town of Sarre-Union, calling it “an anti-Semitic and ignoble act.”
JTA contributed to this report.