French President Macron: There’s No Apartheid in Israel!

And for good measure: “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people; I have never stopped saying that!”

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: France, Apartheid
President of France Emmanuel Macron visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
President of France Emmanuel Macron visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Shlomi Cohen/Flash90

“It is impossible to speak of apartheid in Israel when Arab citizens are represented in the government in the Knesset and hold administrative positions.”

So said French President Emmanuel Macron in a speech at the annual dinner of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) – a major event of importance for the Jewish community. Macron was originally scheduled to attend the event, but because of the events in Ukraine he sent the prime minister to deliver his speech.

“How can we dare to talk about apartheid in a country where Arab citizens are represented in the government, in the parliament, and hold managerial positions and positions of responsibility?” Macron added. “A country whose citizens, whatever their religion, understand that their only hope is peace together. NGO’s that purport to strive for peace cannot claim to fulfill their destiny by leaning on falsehoods,” he said, referring to the many international organizations spreading lies about the Israel, most recently Amnesty International.

Macron also addressed the UN’s unfair dealings with the Jewish state: “Like you, I am concerned about the United Nations resolution on Jerusalem which continues to deliberately and against all evidence remove Jewish terminology related to the Temple Mount. You know my attachment to Jerusalem, where I visited many times before I became president, and also as president. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people; I have never stopped saying that. This in no way precludes recognizing and respecting the attachment of other religions to this city, and it is in this spirit that I myself walked through the Old City in 2020 and visited each of the Holy Places.”

Macron added that “erasing Jerusalem’s Jewishness is unacceptable, just as it is unacceptable that in the name of a just fight for freedom, associations misuse historically shameful terms to describe the State of Israel.”

Macron said that France has adopted the official definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

“The fight against antisemitism is European,” stressed the French leader. “I said this last January 27 on the occasion of the International Day dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. France has chosen to make the fight against racism and antisemitism one of its major priorities for its Presidency of the European Union. France, which hosts the largest Jewish community in Europe, must show the way.”

Macron also addressed the murder of Sara Halimi, a retired French doctor and schoolteacher who was attacked and killed in her apartment by her neighbor on April 4, 2017. The circumstances surrounding the killing—including the fact that Halimi was the only Jewish resident in her building, and that the assailant (Kobili Traoré) shouted Allahu akbar during the attack and afterward proclaimed “I killed the Shaitan” (evil spirits in Islam)–cemented the public perception of the incident as a stark example of antisemitism in modern France.

For several months the government and some of the media hesitated to label the killing as antisemitic, drawing criticism from public figures such as Bernard-Henri Lévy. The government eventually acknowledged an antisemitic motivation for the killing. The assailant was declared to be not criminally responsible when the judges ruled that he had suffered a psychotic episode due to cannabis consumption, as established by an independent psychiatric analysis. That decision was appealed to the Supreme Court of Cassation, which in 2021 upheld the lower court’s ruling.

“It’s like they killed her again,” Macron said concerning the court ruling. “How many times have I heard the words spoken in my ear about Sarah Halimi, whose killer has been recognized as unfit to stand trial? As president of the republic, I guarantee the independence of the judicial system and it is not for me to comment on the work of the highest courts of justice, but I have heard this outcry, the cry of the heart. That’s why I asked the Justice Minister to set up a committee to look at how the trial is conducted, and whether or not there was incompetence. This is an important step forward for our society and for the victims, even if I know it will never, ever erase the pain of the victims.”

Israel Today Newsletter

Daily news

FREE to your inbox

Israel Heute Newsletter

Tägliche Nachrichten

KOSTENLOS in Ihrer Inbox