Former Le Figaro editor: Anti-Zionism is antisemitism

Antisemitism in France up 76%, according to French Jewish leaders.

Speakers at the WZO iVision conference in France Education Ministry Supervisor Miriam Peretz, head of the WZO’s department for Diaspora Activities Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman and former Le Figaro editor-in-chief Franz-Olivier Giesbert. (photo credit: ADI FARKASH/WZO)
Speakers at the WZO iVision conference in France Education Ministry Supervisor Miriam Peretz, head of the WZO’s department for Diaspora Activities Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman and former Le Figaro editor-in-chief Franz-Olivier Giesbert.
(photo credit: ADI FARKASH/WZO)
Journalist and former Le Figaro editor-in-chief Franz-Olivier Giesbert told a conference on antisemitism in France that anti-Zionism is antisemitism.
The well-known French writer made the comments over the weekend during a keynote speech at the iVision conference hosted by the Diaspora Activities department of the World Zionist Organization held in Marseilles.
Part of the conference looked at the dramatic rise of antisemitism in France in the last few years.
Giesbert said in his speech that antisemitism “is a dirty word, and therefore we must use the term anti-Zionism,” making it clear that the two have become interchangeable. “We must preserve history and tell it as it is because there are those who are now telling a different history,” referring to antisemites and Holocaust deniers.
The former editor also said that “French media is skewed every time the Israeli or Jewish issue comes up in the media,” and “we should take this into account.”
Giesbert’s comments come just a day after the president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) Francis Kalifat told a Le Figaro talk show that antisemitism in France continues to be on the rise.
Kalifat told Le Figaro that antisemitic incidents in France were 76% higher in the first half of 2019 than the same period of 2018.
He said that although there have been “fewer departures to Israel, Jewish families are being forced to leave some of the ‘difficult’ neighborhoods in the country, as life is rendered impossible because of ‘covert antisemitism.’”
Apart from antisemitism, the iVision conference aimed to create hope for unity among the Jewish people.
Organizer and head of the WZO’s department for Diaspora Activities Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman told The Jerusalem Post via phone from France that the conference aimed to “embrace everyone.”
She said 300 people attended from 22 different countries, including Jews from Reform, Conservative and Orthodox streams.
“Today, Israel is divided,” she said, “At this event, we bring hope for Jewish unity. We make people think and rethink basic assumptions” about Israel. “That is why there is an ‘I’ in front of ‘Vision’ and it is called iVision.”
Speakers included Education Ministry supervisor Miriam Peretz, who lost two sons in two wars fighting for the IDF, and journalist Itai Vered, who spoke about rescuing refugees.
For Yehoshua-Braverman, the highlight of the conference was the post-Shabbat havdalah service, which was led by both Reform and Orthodox figures.
“To see everyone in the room together was beautiful,” she said. “It really created hope. There was no reason why we shouldn’t do it together. At the end of the day, it is our responsibility [as the Jewish people] to embrace everyone.”



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