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French senators propose CRIMINALIZING anyone who criticizes Israel
By Belle Carter // Nov 14, 2023

Sixteen French senators submitted a bill last week, aiming to penalize anti-Zionism in France. For analysts, this is a seemingly suppressive move in cracking down on pro-Palestinian protests.

Article 25 of the bill specified that those who contest the existence of the State of Israel by one of the means set out in Article 23 shall be punished by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros. "Insult committed against the State of Israel, by any of the means set out in Article 23, shall be punishable by two years' imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros. Those who, by the same means, have directly provoked hatred or violence against the State of Israel shall be punished by five years imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 euros," the bill stated.

Moreover, Article 23 of the bill covered the transmission of offensive words as follows: by speeches, shouts, or threats made in public places or meetings, or by writings, prints, drawings, engravings, paintings, emblems, images, or any other written medium, speech or image, sold or distributed, offered for sale or exhibited in public places or meetings.

Senator Stephane Le Rudulier of the LR party (the Republicans) announced via a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had submitted the text with 15 other politicians. The bill represents "anti-Zionism as prohibited and condemned as anti-Semitism," the politician said. He also likened anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, arguing that "the rise of anti-Semitism is fueled by the hatred of Israel, a disguised form of hatred towards Jews."

In a letter addressed to France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne last month, he deplored the "existence of a fifth column of Palestinian terrorism in France" and called for the dissolution of pro-Palestine parties such as La France Insoumise (LFI), the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) and the Jeune Garde, which he alleged are promoting terrorism.

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Earlier in October France's interior minister ordered local authorities to ban all pro-Palestinian demonstrations. French President Emmanuel Macron urged French people not to allow the war in the Mideast to erupt into tensions at home. Right after Macron spoke on TV about the Mideast conflict, Paris police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse pro-Palestinian protesters who had defied a ban and demonstrated Thursday against the Israeli government. "Let us not bring ideological adventures here (to France) by imitation or by projection. Let us not add national fractures ... to international fractures," Macron said. "Let us stay united."

France's Jewish population, estimated at more than half a million, is the largest in Europe and the third-biggest in the world, after Israel and the United States.

Paris protesters chant: "Israel, assassin," "Macron, accomplice"

Thousands of protesters marched through the rain-dampened streets of Paris on November 4, with some shouting "Israel, assassin."

They were loudly denouncing Macron, chanting "Macron, accomplice" and showing support for Palestine while shouting "Palestine will live, Palestine will win," as they carried Palestinian flags. Some had placards that read "Immediate ceasefire," a cry also recited repeatedly by the crowd. Banners on a sound system truck at the center of the march read "Stop the massacre in Gaza."

Paris’s police chief authorized the march, which ran between two large public squares in eastern Paris, Republique and Nation, but vowed that any behavior deemed "antisemitic or sympathetic toward terrorism will not be tolerated by police officers mobilized to keep order." It was one of the first, big gatherings in support of Palestinians to be legally allowed in Paris since the Hamas attack on October 7.

Ultimately, the rallyists are calling for peace between the two conflicting nations. "We came here today to show the people of France's solidarity with the Palestinian people and our support for peace, for a peace solution with two states, an Israeli state and a Palestinian state," said Antoine Guerreiro, a 30-year-old civil servant. Meanwhile, Wahid Barek, a 66-year-old retiree, lamented the deaths of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. "I deplore civilian deaths on both sides. Civilians have nothing to do with these actions. It really is shameful," he said. (Related: Days after saying 'every Jewish person is a Zionist,' ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt says anti-Zionist Jews are a 'hate group.')

Catch the latest news about the Israel-Gaza conflict on WWIII.news.

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