France is to recognise anti-Zionism, the denial of the state of Israel, as a form of anti-Semitism in response to a surge in acts against Jews not seen “since the Second World War”, reports The Telegraph.
French president, Emmanuel Macron, also promised new legislation in May to fight hate speech on the Internet, which could see platforms such as Facebook and Twitter fined for every minute they fail to take down racist or violent content.
Speaking at the annual meeting of France’s largest Jewish organization, CRIF, Macron said that France and other countries in Europe had recently witnessed “a resurgence of anti-Semitism that is probably unprecedented since World War II.”
We have denounced it a lot, adopted plans, passed laws sometimes. But we haven’t been able to act efficiently.
While stopping short of calling for new legislation, the President said the working definition of anti-Semitism drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance would help guide police forces, magistrates and teachers in their daily work.
That definition stipulates that anti-Semitism can take the form of “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”.
Anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism. Behind the negation of Israel’s existence, what is hiding is the hatred of Jews. Such guidelines in no way infringed on people’s right to criticise to the Israeli government and its policies.
Macron also said that his party would introduce a bill in parliament in May to force social media to withdraw hate speech posted online and use all available means to identify the authors “as quickly as possible.”
Digital minister Mounir Mahjoubi said: “There will be an obligation for results: if the content is not taken down then there will be a fine, and a large fine,” Mr Mahjoubi told France Info radio. “Each minute that content remains online, it increases the harm to society. Twenty-four hours is far too long.”
Macron’s speech came a day after thousands attended rallies across France to denounce a rise in anti-Semitic acts.