Wiesenthal Centre Agenda with French Government Officials at CRIF Dinner

March 1, 2022

PARIS - The Annual CRIF (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) dinner is usually attended by the President of France. On 24 February, President Macron was unable to attend, due to an emergency European meeting on the Ukraine/Russia crisis.


The Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, discussed the Amnesty International issue and the ongoing BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) campaign targeting Israel and the Jews, with French Prime Minister, Jean Castex.

Castex then took the podium to apologize for President Macron’s absence, then followed with powerful praise of Israel.

Samuels with French Prime Minister Jean Castex

(photo: Alain Azria)


Four days later, in a Parliamentary session on Ukraine, again outstanding he stated:

“Putin lied to President Macron...

He lied to the international community...

He lied to his own people...

President Zelensky is not a neo-Nazi...

But Putin is a liar.”


Samuels then discussed with French Interior Minister, Gerard Darmanin, the issue of physical insecurity of Jewish institutions in France: synagogues, schools, cemeteries, and other community institutions. Samuels raised the importance of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism as an instrument for wider adoption.

Samuels with Fench Interior Minister, Gerard Darmanin


The following day, on Friday 25 February, came a case in point. In the lead-up to elections across France on 10 and 24 April, there is often insulting graffiti. Those attacking candidate Eric Zemmour were beyond the pale:

- “Dirty Jew” splashed over the poster “Eric Zemmour 2022” and his party slogan “Not Impossible to Be French”;

- Another of his posters was painted “Public Urinal for Profit”.


Presidential candidate Eric Zemmour posters with insulting graffiti
(Source: GenerationZ on Twitter)

Zemmour, a journalist from an Algerian Jewish family, is a questionable candidate for President of France. He is unacceptable to the mainstream Jewish voter, in view of his comments exonerating the Vichy Nazi collaborator, General Petain.


He also insists that of the over 70,000 Jews deported to their deaths, most were foreigners, downplaying the relevance of the Shoah for France.

“Despite Zemmour’s other hateful positions, an antisemitic attack on him cannot be acceptable... It is an irony that such inscriptions were found in the outskirts of Vichy,” concluded Samuels.

For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at csweurope@gmail.com, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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