French PM Manuel Valls: anti-Israel sentiment can be anti-Semitism

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the anti-Israel sentiment spreading across France can be considered anti-Semitism.

In the 1970s, the French elite developed a new kind of anti-Semitism, focused primarily on Israel and Zionism, Valls told the Wall Street Journal. This new bigotry, he said, has “all the components of anti-Semitism, the old ones,” such as imagined global Jewish conspiracies.

This sentiment of the elite then combined with views by immigrants and young people living “in the poor neighborhoods,” explained Valls.

The French prime minister has been a vocal critic of the rising anti-Semitism in his country. In the wake of the Islamist terror attack at a kosher grocery store in Paris in January, which killed four Jewish shoppers, Valls gave a passionate speech at the French parliament in which he said the country has not “shown enough outrage” about anti-Semitism.

Valls also faced criticism from a former French foreign minister, 92-year-old Roland Dumas, who said the prime minister is "probably influenced" by his Jewish wife, businesswoman and violinist Anne Gravoin. 

“I immediately understood that when a former minister, a president of the Constitutional Council, says something, his words have a lot of influence for young people. It gives justification for how they think,” Valls said.

In the Wall Street Journal interview, Valls also addressed the problem of radical Islam in Europe. “There are 4-6 million French citizens who are Muslims,” he said. “How can Islam prove that it is compatible with our values? With equality of women? With the separation of church and state?”

Without calling out radical Islam for what it is, society cannot stand up for its targeted minorities or for peaceful Muslims, groups that are its “first victims," Valls said.

“We need to name this Islamofascism,” he added.

Posted on March 2, 2015 .