CRIF, the representative body of French Jews, has denounced a comparison made by a presidential candidate, Vincent Peillon, between the Nazi persecution of Jews and the present situation of Muslims in France.
Peillon, who is running in the Socialist Party primaries ahead of the May presidential election, made the comparison in an interview with France 2 television channel.
A former (education) minister and a member of the European Parliament who has Jewish origins, he was commenting on a question about France’s strict separation between state and religion, known in France as “laicite” (secularity). “If some want to use laicite, as has been done in the past, against certain populations … Forty years ago it was the Jews who put on yellow stars. Today, some of our Muslim countrymen are often portrayed as radical Islamists. It is intolerable.”
In a statement Wednesday, CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, accused Peillon of making “statements that only serve those trying to rewrite history,’’ as the group demanded “clarification and immediate correction’’ on his part. “The history concerning the deportation of more than 75,000 Jews from France to concentration camps and death and the looting of their property as well as discriminatory laws such as the one about wearing yellow stars, should not be instrumentalized to create a false equivalence of suffering,” it said.
Peillon neither retracted his remark nor apologized in a statement published Wednesday on his website, but said he would wanted to elaborate on what he meant in light of the controversy it provoked and to “refine my view, which may have been misrepresented because of brevity.”read more
Vincent Peillon's remarks were much criticized, among others, by Régis de Castelnau @ Causeur and Benoît Rayski @ Atlantico.