Tunisia, Egypt top agenda at French Jewish event

CRIF guest of honor Sarkozy notes that popular uprisings didn't have anti-Israel, anti-West or radical Islamic overtones.

Tunisia Freedom 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Tunisia Freedom 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt topped the agenda at the annual dinner of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), which was held in Paris on Wednesday night.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was the guest of honor at the event, said protests in those countries that had shaken the political foundations of the entire region had not been oriented against Israel or supported a creed of radical Islam.

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“The beginning of the ‘spring of nations’ is encouraging because it is positive and authentic,” Sarkozy said. “Protesters in Tunisia or Egypt did not cry, ‘Down with the West,’ ‘Down with America,’ or ‘Down with Israel.’ They did not advocate a return to a past of a mythic Islamic golden age. They have not attacked any minority.”
At the same time, Sarkozy said the French government was proceeding with caution and would continue to monitor the political developments in the region.
CRIF president Richard Prasquier praised protesters in Tunisia and Egypt, calling their motives “admirable”; yet he warned against the possibility of Islamic groups hijacking the political agenda of the demonstrations.
Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in EgyptClick here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt
“Under the banner of democracy and freedom are camouflaged people who seek to destroy freedom and democracy,” added the president of CRIF. “This is the case of the Muslim Brotherhood [which] may cause the return of a rhetoric of war against Israel. We are appreciative, but we are vigilant.”

Prasquier denounced Hamas as “Islamist, totalitarian and terrorist.”
Founded in 1944, CRIF is France’s biggest Jewish advocacy umbrella group.