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My Speech at the Holocaust Remembrance Day

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I wanted to thank the European Jewish Association for organizing this online commemoration for the Holocaust Remembrance Day and for inviting me to take part in this event. Such commemorations are essentials for the victims and their descendants, but also in order to never forget the horrors that antisemitism can create in our societies. 

Such a reminder is essential to our times as we’re facing a significant resurgence of antisemitic crimes. In France alone, antisemitic acts increased by 74% in 2018 and 27% in 2019.  

This threat is particularly worrisome as the hate against Jews is a form of intolerance that can grow insidiously, without the majority of citizens noticing it, except during dramatic events, such as the attack on a synagogue that bereaved Germany in 2019.  And it is also worrisome because of the new form of intolerance towards Jews that has appeared in recent years, and which doesn’t say its name, as antisemitism can take sometimes the form of antizionism.

Of course, criticizing Israel and its policies is not an antisemitic act; but to deny its right to exist is undoubtedly one. The reality that such hatred is not insignificant lies precisely in the fact that there is no other country for which the denial of its right to exist would not appear to us as illogical, incomprehensible, insufferable. It is therefore not tolerable that this is the case for Israel, for the sole reason that it is a Jewish state.

To fight this new form of hate against Jews, I drafted in 2019, as president of the study group on anti-Semitism of the French National Assembly a resolution proposal in order to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, which had already been adopted by the European Parliament in 2017 and endorsed by the Council of the European Union in 2018.

This definition is worded as follows: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

 By adopting such a resolution, by pointing to antizionism as one of the modern forms of antisemitism, I believe that we will be able to fight more effectively against the new antisemitism of the twenty-first century, which no longer dares to say its name, but which still have as its sole source the hatred of Jews.

I was thus particularly proud, as a legislator but also as a citizen, when this resolution was voted and adopted by my colleagues in December 2019. 

But France is not the only European country confronted by the resurgence of discriminations against the Jews, as antisemitism is a global threat, the fight against it must therefore mobilize all countries of our Continent and abroad. This is why such international commemorations are important in order to unite us against this common threat. That is why I was so eager to be part of this commemoration today. Thank you. 

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