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Recognizing Palestine risks worsening anti-Semitism, French Jews warn

France’s federation of Jewish organizations urges lawmakers to refrain from backing proposed motion later this month

Protesters clash with riot police in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on July 20, 2014, during a demonstration to denounce Israel's military campaign in Gaza and show their support for the Palestinian people. (AFP/Omar Bouyacoub)
Protesters clash with riot police in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on July 20, 2014, during a demonstration to denounce Israel's military campaign in Gaza and show their support for the Palestinian people. (AFP/Omar Bouyacoub)

CRIF, France’s federation of Jewish organizations and communities, said the submission to parliament of a draft motion favoring immediate recognition of a Palestinian state risks exacerbating anti-Semitic hatred.

CRIF urged French lawmakers to refrain from voting in favor of the motion, which a predominantly Socialist bloc this week submitted to a vote in the French lower house later this month. Last week, the French Green party advanced a similar initiative in the French Senate.

“In France, after the anti-Semitic riots this summer, this declaration will certainly not be interpreted as a peace initiative and risks exacerbating the anti-Semitic tensions which we saw last summer,” reads the CRIF statement on the planned vote, which is slated for Nov. 28.

CRIF rarely links France’s anti-Semitism problem to mainstream political parties’ policies on Israel.

From Jan. 1 to July 31, the SPCJ security service of the French Jewish community documented 527 anti-Semitic incidents compared to 276 in the same period of 2013. The increase was largely attributed to the targeting of Jews by Muslims and Arabs in response to Israel’s killing of hundreds of Palestinians in its summer war with Hamas in Gaza.

The French draft motion follows the adoption last month of a similar motion in Britain’s House of Commons and in Ireland’s upper house. Also last month, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said his country would recognize “Palestine.” Another draft motion was submitted to Spain’s congress for a vote later this month.

Israel maintains that Palestinian statehood should be recognized only after the two parties agree on the terms for establishing the future state, but negotiations between the parties are stuck.

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