In October 2017, Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP) released a series of ten video clips “Paroles juives contre le racisme” (“Jewish words against racism”). The videos feature highly incendiary remarks against the State of Israel, Zionism, and France. UJFP is active in discriminatory and illegal (according to the Court of Cassation) anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns in France and is a member of the Platform of the French NGOs for Palestine.
According to UJFP, the project was supported by the office of the Commissioner General for Territorial Equality (CGET), a branch of the French Prime Minister’s Office 1. UJFP further states that the project aims to be used “in schools, in public meetings in working-class neighborhoods, wherever the fight against racism, against discrimination, against police violence and State racism are taking place.”
In 2016, UJFP published the book “Une parole juive contre le racisme” (“A Jewish word against racism,” which was supported by CGET. Following this publication, the President of Crif (The representative Council of French Jewish Institutions), Roger Cukierman, sent a letter to the French Prime Minister to inform him that he was “unpleasantly surprised that the CGET is sponsoring the anti-Zionist and propagandist excesses of a small activist group.” According to Cukierman, “this slanderous ‘work’ is in fact a stigmatization of the State of Israel and of the organized Jewish community. Calling Israel apartheid uses the usual arguments of the BDS campaign.” In the same year, France provided UJFP with €18,000.
In 2016, at a book launch event (see video 7:30-9:50), a UJFP activist acknowledged the contradiction between the fact that the book received the support of a governmental body while the book denounces “state racism” in France. According to the activist, “this [this contradiction] didn’t bother us [UJFP]. We filed a file to receive a grant [governmental funding]. We built the file for it to be accepted, so we used certain terms, we used the word antisemitism…to get the grant.” This activist also affirmed that “they [CGET] didn’t put any pressure, they never looked at the book before we published…they [CGET] didn’t ask to be reimbursed.”
In January 2018, a new edition of the book “Une parole juive contre le racisme” (“A Jewish word against racism”) was released for sale. According to UJFP, this new edition also received support from CGET.
The following are select examples of problematic statements made by UJFP activists in the videos. (Translations by NGO Monitor, emphases added throughout.)
Accusations against Zionism and the State of Israel:
From “Antisemitism and Zionism?” video:
- “Zionism for me is the question of the separation of the world into races. So my Judaism says that on the contrary the Jew is the wandering Jew, the Jew of the diaspora. ” (1:35-1:47).
- “Anti-zionism is anti-racist. Zionism is racist. I would even say that Zionism is antisemitic. In the history of Zionism, at no time Zionism fought against antisemitism in Europe, it [Zionism] always fed itself with it [antisemitism]. Zionism is a crime against Palestinians and suicide for Israelis and Jews in general.” (3:15-3:35).
- “To be anti-Zionist is to oppose the logic of the Israeli policy of creating a Jewish state in Palestine at the expense of the other inhabitants, at the expense of the Palestinians. As a result, Zionism as a political phenomenon is intrinsically a racist policy because it denies the rights of the people it wants to replace on this land. ” (3:45- 4:08)
From “Israel and the Jews?” video:
- “It makes me angry, firstly, because once again it perpetuates the amalgamation between being Jewish and being partisan of Israeli politics, so that is also fueling antisemitism and it’s something that makes me obviously angry and then I feel sorry for myself because I think of my grandmother. In her time, Europe had been emptied of its Jews by Nazism and today Zionism finally leads to the same effect and I find it unbearable. ” (1:33-1:58).
- “Netanyahu comes to France saying to the French Jews, your country is Israel your country is not France. No antisemite had allowed himself since Vichy to tell us that we were not at home here, and Netanyahu had to do it. ” (4:36-4:50).
Multiple accusations of “state racism” against France:
From “State Racism” video:
- “State racism, it is the refugees, the undocumented migrants, racial profiling, policemen crimes etc.” (00:38-00: 44).
- “Racism as it is developing against Roma, Arabs, and Muslims is clearly political racism.” (1:49-1:55).
- “When I hear those discourses that discriminate and fuel the hatred of some against others, it comes from the state; it reminds me of the pogroms…” (2:16-2:30)
From “Racism and Feminism” video:
- “I am an atheist since the age of thirteen, I was rather in favor of the headscarf law at school [law prohibiting the wearing of the full veil in the public space in France], but here too I evolved. Today, I believe that it is a particularly Islamophobic instrument [the law] with a will of extension on all the public spaces, an islamophobic fight clearly organized by the state … ” (3:55 -4:19)
From “Racism and Colonialism” video:
- “There is a direct link between the issue of racism here [in France] and the question of the Middle-East, first because in the Middle-East we do not have a clash between two religious communities, but we have a colonial war against a people, the Palestinian people, and colonialism is inseparable from racism. So for me there is a kind of obvious continuity between, for example, the Palestinians of the Negev being expelled from their lands and the repeated evacuations of the Roma camps here in France … ” (3:02-3:27).
- “The heart of the problem here [France] and there [Israel] is the same, it is precisely racism that organizes and structures an overtly colonial society there and a society where here there are very strong dynamics of racism of state …” (3:31-3:48).
From “Hierarchy of Racisms?” video:
- “So there is antisemitism but at the moment it is not what is the most discriminating by the French state … it is the blacks, the Roma especially with an incredible violence and the Muslims with the development of the state Islamophobia with the laws that have been put in place by the French state.” (1:17-1:36).
In November 2017, the French minister of the national education announced that he will file a defamation complaint against the union South-Education 93 for using the expression “State racism”.
The videos were shown to the public for the first time during the 2017 Festival of Humanity 2017. During this event, a senior member of the UJFP declared that “The end of the Jewish state…whatever the outcome, it is fundamental … “(4:45-4:52).