French Senate proposes law making anti-Zionism a criminal offence with up to 5 years jail

The UK’s exceptionalising of apartheid state mirrored in France

Members of the French Senate have proposed a law to punish critics of Israel by prison sentences and massive fines.

The planned new law proposes three tiers of punishment, with those considered to have transgressed to face prison sentences of up to five years and a fine of up to €100,000:

  • « Art. 25. – Those who contest the existence of the State of Israel by one of the means set out in Article 23 shall be punished by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros.
  • “Insult committed against the State of Israel, by any of the means set out in Article 23, shall be punishable by two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros.
  • “Those who, by the same means, have directly provoked hatred or violence against the State of Israel shall be punished by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 euros.”

Article 23 referred to in the bill covers a comprehensive list of means of transmitting the supposedly offensive words:

by speeches, shouts or threats made in public places or meetings, or by writings, prints, drawings, engravings, paintings, emblems, images or any other written medium, speech or image, sold or distributed, offered for sale or exhibited in public places or meetings

Zionism is the political proposition that a state of Israel should exist as an ethno-nationalist entity, so the French Senate is proposing to criminalise opposition to a political viewpoint and the racism that springs from it. Israel’s treatment of non-Jewish and particularly Muslim residents in Israel, and especially of the Palestinian people, has been criticised as apartheid by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and human rights groups in Israel, so presumably UN representatives and human rights activists in France face prison and a fine if they repeat the official positions of internationally-recognised bodies.

Israel is currently engaged in the slaughter of many thousands of Palestinian civilians, half of them children, and Israeli ministers have referred to Palestinians as sub-human ‘animals’.

As critics of the bill have pointed out, there is no law against insulting France or other countries, to the Senate is proposing to offer Israel a protection against criticism that is unique among nations. The situation mirrors that in the UK, where the Westminster government is pushing through a ‘pro-apartheid’ law banning public bodies from choosing not to buy goods or services from Palestinian land that has been illegally-occupied by Israeli settlers. The UK bill similarly singles out Israel for exceptional treatment, banning even government ministers from making any future decisions sanctioning Israel – no matter what that country does. The so-called Labour ‘opposition’ is declining to oppose it.

Despite these clamp-downs on solidarity with oppressed and ethnically-cleansed Palestinians, protests for the freedom of the Palestinian people and against Israel’s genocide are huge and growing every week.

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