Israeli ambassador to France accuses leading newspaper of ‘uninhibited antisemitism’

Yael German charged Le Monde with “systemic bias against Israel.”

By Ben Cohen, Algemeiner

Leading French news outlet Le Monde has been accused of displaying “uninhibited antisemitism” by the Israeli Embassy in Paris after it published an opinion piece that referred to the “lack of manners” among Sephardic Jews in Israel.

The offending piece — published on Tuesday by Christophe Ayad and Louis Imbert, the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent — focused on Meyer Habib, a Jewish parliamentarian and vocal supporter of Israel whose election to the French National Assembly was annulled by the country’s constitutional court earlier this month, after it cited ballot “irregularities” and other violations of electoral conduct. Habib, a member of the center-right Les Republicains Party, had been the representative for French citizens living abroad in Greece, Turkey, Italy and Israel.

The piece mocked Habib, a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for having been removed from his parliamentary position as the Israeli leader arrived in Paris for talks with President Emmanuel Macron. Describing a meeting with business leaders, Ayad and Imbert noted that Habib was standing alongside Netanyahu wearing “a crumpled white shirt and blue tie — the colors of the Israeli flag.”

The piece then observed that what “was to be the day of glory of Mr. Habib was the end of his mandate. That’s too bad.”

However, the authors warned that Habib could make a bid for re-election in the coming months.

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“He has a chance to win, as his lack of manners and his excesses seduce a French electorate in Israel which leans more and more to the right, and where the Sephardim have more and more weight,” they claimed.

In a statement responding to the article, Israeli Ambassador Yael German asserted that Le Monde was “no longer satisfied with its systemic bias against Israel.”

She charged that the paper was displaying “uninhibited antisemitism” by arguing that a “lack of manners” and “excesses” were specific characteristics of Sephardic Jews.

“Such declarations convey the most objectionable antisemitic stereotypes,” German added.