This essay argues that in conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has been mistaken on two counts: one, historical, since a majority of Jews have historically rejected the Zionist project, with the majority of them living outside Israel, and hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens choosing to do the same; and the second, political, as it has opened the way for the Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France (CRIF) to demand legislation banning anti-Zionism, in the same vein as earlier efforts to criminalize the French Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. France’s juridical foundation is strong, however, and it does not allow for the criminalization of speech. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789), the Constitution of the Fifth Republic (1958), and the European Convention on Human Rights (1953) all stand as safeguards of the fundamental right to freedom of expression—at least for the time being.
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